I am SUPER excited to report that I have finished writing the first draft of the Fun at Home with Kids book (due out this November!), so I am back to regularly posting! Thanks for bearing with us through the past few quiet weeks. :)
I've been waiting to share this new activity we invented with you all - we love it so much!!!!! And when I say we, I literally mean all of us - even Grandma and Grandpa! Our salt sculptures are just TOO much fun to paint. Though one or two were painted by S, most were collaborative pieces by 4 or even 5 of us at once. They're kind of addictive, so it's good that they only cost around a dollar to make!!!
You can use anything as a mold for the salt sculptures - this was shaped by the bottom 2/3rds of one of our drinking glasses - but by far the easiest thing to use are those hard plastic sandcastle molds. We found that the glass gripped the molded salt for a few hours even after we tipped it upside down, whereas the hard plastic sandcastle molds released the salt sculptures right away.
Any shape of sandcastle mold works - though the longer shapes are slightly less stable than the square shapes.
The square shaped sand castles are the hardiest.
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To paint the salt sculpture, we really recommend using liquid watercolors. If you don't have some, you can mix up some diluted food coloring. Though you can use a paintbrush to paint them, the bristles can disturb the salt a bit, so we recommend using eyedroppers if you can.
It's so beautiful to watch the color fan out through the salt! We never tired of it!!!
To make your own salt sculptures, you'll need:
Some sort of mold (sandcastle, drinking glass, anything you can think of!)
Add 3 cups of salt and 3 teaspoons of water to a bowl. Stir extremely well - every bit of salt should appear wet/crumbly. If there is still dry salt, continue to stir. It shouldn't be necessary to add more water, but if for some reason after a lot of stirring you still have dry patches of salt, add 1/4 teaspoon of water. Once your salt is uniformly crumbly and damp, spoon or pour it into your mold and press hard to compact it. Leave it in the mold for at least 12 hours (24 hours or more is best). After that, you can flip it over and it should slide out of the mold. Allow it to dry for an additional 12 or more hours (24 hours or more is ideal) after it's been removed from the mold. Because it takes so much time to dry, I made these after the kids were asleep one night, and didn't mention it to them until they were ready (so they didn't get frustrated with the dry times).
Check that it is dry and solid to the touch before painting it with liquid watercolors (or dilute food coloring). Before painting it, transfer it to a container or paint it in a spot where you can leave it to dry undisturbed for 12 or more hours. Once painted, it will be very delicate until it dries once again and moving it by hand will result in a crumbled sculpture.
Once it has completely dried, it is pretty solid. I'm sure if you dropped it, it would shatter, but you can easily handle/move it. You can keep the sculptures on display, or you can break them with a hammer or mallet and use the salt for sensory play or art!
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All activities here are activities I feel are safe for my own children. As your child's parents/guardians, you will need to decide what you feel is safe for your family. I always encourage contacting your child's pediatrician for guidance if you are not sure about the safety/age appropriateness of an activity. All activities on this blog are intended to be performed with adult supervision. Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when activities call for the use of materials that could potentially be harmful, such as scissors, or items that could present a choking risk (small items), or a drowning risk (water activities), and with introducing a new food/ingredient to a child (allergies). Observe caution and safety at all times. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any of these activities on this blog.