Mother Goose Time’s Science Lab has creative corner ideas that are focused on expanding the understanding of basic scientific principles. Firework salt painting is an example of a reaction. While creating some colorful art, the children were able to watch as the salt absorbed the water leaving behind pigmented salt.
A reaction is a change that makes something new. When scientists combine reactants (salt and watercolors) there is a reaction or change in at least one of those reactants. We can often tell a reaction occurred because of a temperature change, color change, or even bubbles! In this case you can see that the water gets absorbed leaving behind colored salt (for your older learners you can mention that this is called a precipitate).
For our prechoolers the focus is on developing visual arts and fine motor skills.
Firework Salt Painting
Fireworks are a wonderful example of another type of reaction and led to lots of good discussion. This past July we were able to attend a fabulous small town holiday parade and fireworks show. The children were able to see the fireworks being lighted. I explained that lighting the fuse on the firework (fire) caused a reaction. That reaction was the explosion of material inside the fireworks (gunpowder).
The kids were fascinated; especially about the gun powder part, which made it a great time to also talk about firework safety. We also chatted a bit about what happens to all those firework parts up in the air after they explode and how animals respond to fireworks. I love how a simple art activity like this from Mother Goose Time triggers big juicy conversations with my kids. I love seeing the wheels start turning!
They loved that they were able to make a chemical reaction that mimicked another chemical reaction. We talked for a little while about other reactions they may have observed.
- title display*
- inspiration photo of fireworks*
- paper *
- salt *
- paintbrushes or pipettes*
*These materials are part of Mother Goose Time’s Science Lab!
Set out the inspiration photo and any additional materials.
Note: This is a great art project to do outside. It’s a lot easier to give the little ones more control over glue and salt when we don’t have to scrape it back off the kitchen cabinets. The humidity is really high in East TN right now. Since the salt can absorb water from both the water colors and water in the air we chose to stay inside. Plus it’s really hot!
- What colors or designs do you see on the photo?
- How might fireworks work? Explain that fireworks are chemical reactions that explode in the sky.
- Invite children to squeeze glue onto paper to create firework designs. Sprinkle salt onto the glue and shake off excess.
- What might happen if you drip watercolors on the salt?
- Encourage children to lightly paint over their designs with a very wet paintbrush.
Did the child use the materials to create the desired effect of the watercolor spreading?
We loved doing salt painting. The kids discussed fireworks, but decided to create their own images. We had everything from a teddy bear to an abstract representation of space with lots and lots of stars!
That’s one of the great things about the invitations to create from Mother Goose Time. There is so much more focus on process and next to none on product!
I loved watching the kid’s faces when the color began to spread.
Watching them notice an unplanned reaction was even more wonderful. Color changes! They added yellow and blue to make green, red and blue to make purple, and red and yellow to make orange. So fun!
Two Helpful Hints
- Try letting the glue dry before adding color.
- If you are having trouble with excess water from the water colors, sometimes letting the salt dry completely (preferably indoors away from lots of humidity) before adding the water colors will work a bit better.
- Use a very small and plastic pipette.
- The pipette was a game changer for this activity. In the past we have used paintbrushes and it is so hard for little hands to not paint the glue and the salt.
- Ours were actually a little big. I suggest smaller ones like these.
- I also recommend giving out only very small amounts of liquid water colors or water colored with food coloring.
If you are interested in reading more about our experience with Mother Goose Time, check out our curriculum page!
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As a blog ambassador for Mother Goose Time, I am happy to share preschool curriculum ideas, activities, and crafts with my readers. Mother Goose Time provides our family the opportunity to use their curriculum free of charge in exchange for honest and authentic stories based on our personal experience.