How to make Colorful Salt Writing Tray for Letter Writing Preschool Activity
The following recipe is an easy way to make colorful salt to use in a tray for practicing letter writing. Salt tray writing is a fun and sensory-rich way for children to practice making marks and forming letters. It is perfect for children who find making mistakes difficult. It’s not permanent, so they are more likely to try it out even if they are afraid of making errors. They can also repeatedly practice making shapes or letters. I will discuss below ways to make this activity even more exciting and engaging for children.
What you need to make colorful salt writing tray
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- Salt (UK)
- Food coloring (UK)
- Ziploc plastic bag(s) (UK)
- Essential oils (optional) (ex. Chamomile, lavender, mandarin)
- Glitter (optional) (UK)
- Writing Tray – smaller (UK) or larger version (UK) or complete kit
- Writing Stick (optional)
- Letter Flashcards (UK)
Pour the salt into a large plastic ziploc bag. Then pour in food coloring and begin mixing it in the bag by squeezing or shaking it. You can continue to add more food coloring little by little until you get the color you desire. If you would like to enhance the sensory experience, you can also add essential oils. Please make sure that you choose an essential oil known to be child-friendly, and only in small amounts. You can also add in small quantities of glitter if you would like to make it sparkly.
Once you have finished coloring the salt, open up the ziplock bag and let it dry overnight. Alternatively, you can spread the salt out over a tray and leave it out to dry. You may want to stir it occasionally to help speed up the drying process.
You can store this salt for months in bags or containers. I have kept some colorful salt in our cabinet for over a year!
Questions to ask
- What can you make?
- How does it feel?
- Can you make an A, B, C, etc.? (Or copy this shape, pattern, etc.)
- Can you make it larger or smaller?
What they get from it
Salt trays for practicing mark making and letter writing are fun for children to begin learning to write. As mentioned previously, it is beneficial for children who worry about making mistakes. They can try again and again to form letters or make different shapes. Children can use their fingers to draw, which provides a sensory experience, especially if the salt is scented with essential oils. Sensory experiences support and enhance children’s learning by reinforcing and creating connections in the brain. (Papatheodorou & Moyles, 2012and Gascoyne, 2016)
Take it further
You may want to see some of my other posts on helping children develop early writing skills such as Pre-writing Activities, EYFS Mark Making Ideas or Edible Mark Making Activities. You may also be interested in some sensory play ideas such as my posts on dyed rice, cornflour play or shaving foam play.
Papatheodorou, T. & Moyles, J. (2012) Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Early Childhood. Sage.
Gascoyne, S. (2016). Sensory Play: Play in the EYFS. Andrews UK Limited.