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  • Gina

Sparkly Salt Crystals

In this BLOG post I will teach you how to make sparkly salt crystals, the benefits of sensory play and ways to enhance your learning and play.

Head to our Instagram page to see more ways to learn & play at home or in the classroom! We love to see you play & share the joy of hands-on crafts & activities at home. Be sure to tag @aplayfilledlife on Instagram or Facebook if you try any of our ideas!!

XO Gina

Ice cream salt, also called rock salt, is SO MUCH FUN. The size, shape, color and texture are an absolute delight!!! You can make them rainbow colors or leave them as is. You can dye them one or two colors to match a theme. The possibilities are ENDLESS!

Activities like this are also SO calming. They can help a child (or adult) strengthen their self-regulation skills, focus and attention, all through play! They can also provide a safe outlet for those experiencing big emotions.

If you do want to dye them, keep reading for directions and tips! Once colored, they will last for years and years (if stored properly). They also provide opportunities to introduce academic skills such as:

  • Color identification

  • Sorting

  • Patterning

  • Counting and MORE!!

Sensory Play Supports:

  • Language development & vocabulary

  • Cognitive growth

  • Fine motor skills (small muscle movements)

  • Gross motor skills (big movements)

  • Problem-solving skills

  • Communication

  • Exploration of textures

  • One's ability to make connections

  • The concept of cause & effect


  • Ice cream salt (also called rock salt)

  • Food coloring

  • White vinegar

  • Ziploc bags

  • Sensory tray or bowl

  • Baking sheet 

  • Parchment paper

  • Measuring cup/spoon

Step 1: For every one cup of rock salt, add one teaspoon of white vinegar and 5-7 squirts of food coloring.  

Step 2: Place ingredients in a Ziploc bag.  Seal and mix well so the rock salt is evenly coated.

Step 3: Pour on to a baking sheet or sensory tray lined with parchment paper and let dry.

Step 4: Stir occasionally, to assure that the rock salt is drying on all sides.

Step 5: Once completely dry, add your favorite scoops, bowls and trinkets and PLAY!

You can differentiate sensory bins so easily.  Add in whatever you have, whatever your child is interested in and/or whatever academic concept you are exploring. I always suggest that you "shop your kitchen!" Grab whatever you have in there (that is safe for your child) and let them explore with it during sensory play!

What to add in to your sensory bin:

  • Measuring cups or bowls.

  • Funnels, Spoons or Strainers

  • Trucks, gems, plastic animals etc

  • Plastic letters or numbers


Once you make a dry sensory base, store them in an air-tight container and they will last you YEARS!!! You can use a ziploc bag or container with a lid. Keep them dry & you can reuse them over & over again for learning & play!

Do the colors get on kid's hands or surfaces?

NO! Once the sensory base is completely dry, there should be no transfer while you play. If you are seeing colors transfer to your hands or surfaces that your sensory base is not completely dry. If you get a sensory base wet during play, I would discard immediately.

Small items are choking hazards. Always monitor young children during sensory play. You get to decide what is safe & manageable in your home.


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