The other day my twins came home from school with some colored sand art. I remember making colored sand crafts when I was in camp, and I wanted to try a version at home. Instead of sand, I used Epsom salt. Yes, you read correctly, Epsom salt. If you've never dyed Epsom salt before, the process could not be easier. You can make a variety of vibrant colors and layer them in a jar for a pretty effect. Add a votive candle and you've got yourself a candle holder that makes a great gift. (Note: This activity involves glass, so supervise children carefully.)
You will need:
Bag of Epsom salt
Food coloring or liquid watercolors
Plastic cups for mixing
I love this craft because it is not only eye catching, but also frugal. You can buy a whole bag of Epsom salt for just a few dollars, and you can use food coloring to dye the salt. I tried dying the Epsom salt with both liquid watercolors and food coloring and they worked equally well.
As for the jar, I peeled the label off a glass jar that we were going to recycle and cleaned it out. If you want to make a smaller version of this, a baby food jar would work perfectly.
Scoop some Epsom salt into a small cup and squeeze a few drops of food coloring or liquid watercolors on top. Mix thoroughly with a spoon until all of the salt is colored. For deeper colors, add a few more drops of coloring.
I recommend making 5-6 colors of salt since you will want a variation as you layer them into the jar.
Present the cups of colored salt to your child on a tray (helps contain the mess) and provide a glass jar and a spoon for scooping. Kids can scoop alternating colors of salt into the jar to create colorful layers.
When the cups were near empty, my daughter realized it was easier to just pour the salt rather than scoop it with a spoon. Both scooping and pouring provide important fine motor practice for kids.
If you want to fill a larger jar to the top, it might require more colored Epsom salt. If you want to fill a larger jar halfway, you can add a votive candle to the top to create a colorful candle holder.