Salty Watercolors Art Activity for Kids

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We did the salty watercolors art project with a small art group on Wednesday. It's a fun process-oriented activity that I found in MaryAnn Kohl's Scribble Art. Here's how we did it:


Salty Watercolors Art

1. First, squeeze glue onto mat board or poster board (regular paper will buckle) in any design desired. These kids used abstract designs but older children might enjoy drawing pictures with the glue.

2. Then, cover the glue design with salt. I dump a container of cheap Morton's salt into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish for this part. The kids set their artwork in the dish and sprinkle salt generously on top then tip the mat board to dump off the excess salt.

Salty Watercolors Art Activity

3. Finally, gently touch a paintbrush loaded with watercolor paint to the salt covered glue and watch the color travel through the design. This part is lots of fun!

Some children, especially younger ones, will want to scrub the design with their paintbrush which is okay too —it'll just have a different finished look.

Salty Watercolors Art Activity

We used liquid watercolors this time but in the past have used tube watercolors that were watered down ahead of time. Both work great. Here are some of the finished salty watercolor paintings ….

Salty Watercolors Art Activity

Salty Watercolors Art Activity

Salty Watercolors Art Activity

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  1. says

    Thanks so much for sharing! I love her books, but we haven’t dug into them yet. This one sounds like a great one to start with.

  2. says

    I’ll definitely be trying this with my 3yr old! I absolutely love Mary Ann Kohl and we’ve got a growing collection of her books, but not Scribble Art, so I hadn’t heard of this activity before. Love it!

  3. says

    Thanks for sharing this craft and the lovely artwork by the little ones!
    One question, do u need to wait for the glue to dry before applying the watercolor?

  4. says

    liquid watercolors and salt….a woman after my own heart!
    Another twist on this project that was a hit with my groups…scoop salt into ziploc baggies, drip drops of liquid watercolor in, watch it spread/shake ’em up, THEN sprinkle the colored salt onto glue designs.

  5. says

    I think all of your ideas are great! I came across your blog when I was starting my own and love what you are doing over there. It’s great how you have put everything together and how you have taken the time to document it all. Thanks for being an inspiration.

  6. says

    What a neat project. I’m starting a playgroup in the fall, and we’ll definitely be trying this. Thank you! (As always!)

  7. ljmonchik says

    I love this project– and truly love your blog, the toddler art group sounds amazing and I”m hoping to start one up this fall. I’m due with baby two this week so it probably won’t be until late fall, we’ll see!
    I’m wondering if you’ve ever found a parent, teacher or books that have similar approach as you do to art to dance and movement? I’d love to start a fun, creative movement based toddler group but am not sure how to start. My daughter is almost 3 and all the neighborhood dance programs are very pinky tutu-ed. Any advice welcomed!

  8. says

    Yes, two books come to mind Amanda:
    First Art: Art Experiences for Toddlers and Twos by MaryAnn Kohl is packed with activity ideas
    Young at Art: Teaching Toddlers Self-Expression, Problem-Solving Skills, and an Appreciation for Art by Susan Striker is great for the hows and whys and developmental stages

  9. says

    Hmm. There must be a more play-based or experimental-based dance class for the 3 year old set… Have you looked into ones offered by The Little Gym (or similar)? I came across an article a while back about a neat preschool program in NYC that incorporated experimental dance and movement as well as art. I know it won’t solve your problem of a class for your daughter, but it was interesting to read. I’d be happy to send it to you if you e-mail me ([email protected]) with your address.

  10. Environmentally Friendly - Healthy Lifestyle and Nutrition tips for Healthy Homes says

    […] out The Artful Parents creative take on watercolors, which sounds like a great rainy-day […]

  11. KiwiLog says

    Hi! We really loved your post and decided to feature it as a part of our Mom Blog Round-Up over at KiwiLog. Cheers!

  12. Ann says

    I think you have said before but I am not sure if I can search your blog…what type of liquid watercolors do you use? I definitely need to get some and this project would be so fun for my boys.

  13. says

  14. says

    I use colorations liquid watercolors from Discount School Supply:
    I didn’t think about the search the blog aspect — I’m sure that’s something I could add to the sidebar. I always just use google if I’m looking for something I’ve done in the past (i.e. liquid watercolors + artful parent) and that’s worked well for me, but I can look into adding a search function to my blog.

  15. says

    WOW! Those are beautiful. I am going to try this tomorrow! I think my 2.5 yo will enjoy it and we have not painted in awhile. Thanks (as always) for sharing!

  16. says

    I love this!! This is such a great idea. I’m going to try this tomorrow. I really think my son will enjoy doing this!! I’m so your newest follower!!

  17. says

    I just discovered your blog in Parents Magazine and am soo excited! Love all these cool projects! I wonder if watercolor paper works for this? Anyone tried that yet?

  18. says

    Have you looked into Music Together? ( My son and I start our first class next week. This is their philosophy:
    Music Together classes are based on the recognition that all children are musical. All children can learn to sing in tune, keep a beat, and participate with confidence in the music of our culture, provided that their early environment supports such learning.

  19. says

    We used watercolor paper when we tried this and it worked great. You definitely need something heavy. My son (and husband!) loved this project. Now when we get the watercolors out, J also asks for the “halt”. :)
    I think I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now! You’ve been a great source of inspiration for creative play. My friends and I are hoping to start our own toddler art group this fall. Wish us luck!

  20. Elene says

    Hi I read about your blog from the website on educational art and craft! I will try this out for sure! I am writing to you from Kuala Lumpur and have sent on to my mother’s group your very interesting blog! Well done and I look forward to peeking into it whenever I find d time! Love your “play tent!