Ah, I loved the art area of my classroom! I loved seeing the ways the kids would use the various materials that we provided. It was always fun to come up with new ways to present the same materials, such as this colored salt activity.
Yep, it's salt. Although you could use colored sand just as easily. To make colored salt you simply mix powdered tempera (I always bought my art materials at Discount School Supply) with salt until you have a consistency you want. You don't want the powder to be 'poofy'--that dustiness isn't good for little eyes.
Now you have a couple of ways to use it!
Pour that mixture into a little salt shaker (you can find them at the dollar store). Now, you need to cover 90% of the holes with masking tape, otherwise it all just flows right out in a big pile--which means you're done in two seconds. No fun for anyone! Pour a little glue into another container, and add your spreading tool of choice :) Many kids will just pick up the glue spreader and get drizzling, and then pick up the salt shaker and get shaking--but if they don't you can suggest ways to use the tools. I use a deepish tray for this one, because the salt does scatter a bit. It's tricky for them to aim correctly (yay! eye-hand coordination!), but you can be sure they will take as much time as they need to (obsessively) cover every drop of glue...
The second way is to pour some colored sand into a wee bowl, and some glue into another. Now you need tiny spoons! I use a 1/4 tsp or smaller--this extends the length of the project, encouraging the kids to keep at it (and not have immediate gratification). Taping the bowl of sand down with a loop of tape underneath is a great idea here, otherwise they might just dump in out!
Do you have a different way to do this art project? Have you tried one of the methods above? Share below in the comments!