Make writing practice fun with a DIY simple-to-make scented writing salt tray.
If you love all the good smells then you are going to love this wonderfully scented tool to help your child learn.
Using sensory trays is such a fun way to practice writing. They are a wonderful way for preschoolers and kindergartens to practice writing their letters (and numbers). It allows kids to engage their senses while they are practice important foundational reading skills.
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Salt trays are a great resource for a little bit older kids too. It can be a different and fun way for them to practice their sight words and spelling words. Sensory activities can truly be very appealing to older kids – just ask my 9-year-old twins girls who love the scented trays!
This particular recipe is for a peppermint scented salt tray called Peppermint Cupcake. There’s even a matching printable pack available which includes all uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet and number cards from 0-10.
You are welcome to use any alphabet and number flashcards that you have on hand. These give your child a reference to look back on as they use their finger to form the letter in the salt.
If you are short on time or just have too much going on then feel free to just skip the scents and colors for now. There is nothing wrong with keeping it basic and just using white salt for a writing tray. I oftentimes had to remind myself when my three children were very young that it’s okay to keep things simple.
However, if you have the time and energy to mix up a scent then hooray!
Go ahead and give it a whirl and have fun with it. It’s pretty quick and easy to whip up.
And you can invite your child to join in the fun of mixing up a batch.
CAUTION: Please be sure to watch your child during use of the salt tray and put it out of reach when not in use. Salt can be poisonous when ingested in large amounts.
Peppermint Cupcake Salt Tray Recipe
Ingredients and other items you’ll need:
- 1 1/2 cups of salt
- 1 tsp of peppermint extract
- 10+ drops of red food coloring
- Colored tray (we’ve gotten so much use out of our art trays – I highly recommend them)
- Alphabet cards – you can purchase the matching cards or use your own
- Jar for storage
- Funnel for pouring salt into jar (optional)
1.) Measure the salt and pour it into a bowl.
2.) Add red food coloring & peppermint extract.
3.) Mix it all together. There will be clumpy spots where the extract and food coloring are. You can cream it into the salt like you would when creaming sugar with butter. Keep mixing until there are no clumps. **Note: I found the gel food coloring clumped a lot so I had a difficult time mixing it. I personally prefer the liquid food coloring for the salt trays.
4.) Pour the mix onto a tray and let it sit for an hour or two so the food coloring can dry. (It smells really good!)
5.) It’s time for writing practice! Your child can use their finger to write letters and numbers in the salt. Set out one flashcard at a time so they can see each letter as they write it. Have them practice as many or as few as they are interested in.
6.) When your child is finished, you can carefully pour it into a glass jar for safe and easy storage. You may want to use a funnel for this. Note: be sure not to tip the tray too quickly or the salt will bunch together, fall and make a mess. Ask me how I know this 🙂
If at any point your sensory salt loses it’s scent, you can always mix in a little more peppermint extract to bring it back. Easy peasy.
Questions about teaching your child to read?
If you aren’t using a reading program with your child yet and are looking for one, I would recommend looking into All About Reading.
The Pre-Reading program is great for learning the five essential skills and includes fun practice activities such as a salt tray, like the one here.
Our twins used their program from the beginning and all the way through the levels. They are now proficient readers who love to read.
You can read more about my thoughts on this in the posts You Can Teach Your Child to Read and The Best Reading Program for Teaching Your Child to Read.
Additional questions? Drop them in the comments section below.