Last night we were having Science Time in the kitchen and needed some pepper. When the salt was revealed in the same cabinet it became the highlight of Science Time: dumping it onto a plate, running her hands through it, sprinkling it on the table. I initially imagined just reclaiming her "cereal box" (see last step) and filling it with salt. Then I remembered seeing colored rice previously. I thought it would be fun to try to make colored "sand" out of salt.
Step 1: Supplies
Step 2: Making Colored Salt
Pour some salt into a bowl. I only used about one to two tablespoons since I was running low, but exact measurements are not necessary for this project.
Then add a few drops of food coloring. I used 4, but how vivid your colors are depends on the type of food coloring you have and the ratio of salt to coloring.
Stir with a fork or spoon until coloring is evenly distributed.
Next add a few drops of alcohol hand sanitizer.
Stir again until evenly distributed.
Consider spreading it out into a thin layer and letting it dry for at least an hour to minimize the color that transfers to kids' hands.
Step 3: Play Time
Time to play! This is what our salt "sand" looked like when all the colors were mixed together.
Step 4: Tips and Alternatives
- You can probably use rubbing alcohol or vinegar instead of hand sanitizer since I have seen that for colored rice projects.
- I tried making purple, but when I added red and blue I got a greenish color. Then, I tried mixing red and blue food coloring to make purple prior to adding it to the salt and still got a greenish hue for the final mixture.
- Her hands initially did not look stained at all, but after 30 minutes of playing with it her hands had turned a little green. If you let it dry for longer it may avoid this issue.
- For colored rice I have seen that you can make it in a plastic bag
or a plastic box that you are later going to store it in and shake it instead of stirring.
Natural dyes seem like a good option as well.
- Consider making a very large volume of this. Salt is very cheap. We have a large shallow storage box we have been using as a "sand" box that is leftover cereal and pasta. My original idea was to put at least five canisters of salt into it.
- Alternatively, you could use white salt as "snow" since it is Christmastime. This would be even easier and no issues with potential food coloring on the kids' hands.