Salt Sketching


Drawing, mark-making and sculpting with salt

Materials Required

  1. Salt or sand
  2. Feathers
  3. Sticks
  4. Paint brushes
  5. Miscellaneous toys or objects (optional e.g. stones, pieces of wood or cups and bowels)
  6. Clean cooking tray/sand tray (optional, for easy clean-up)


Draw out some shapes and letters onto a piece of paper for the child to reference during the activity – Have salt/feathers/paint brushes/objects ready.


  1. Place the salt on a large, smooth surface and position the feathers, sticks and other objects in interesting positions.
  2. Allow time for your child to explore the feeling of the salt using your fingers, feathers, sticks or paint brushes.
  3. Encourage your child to mark the salt with lines and shapes by doing this yourself (modelling).
  4. Show your child how to hold a stick/feather, modelling correct pencil grip.
  5. Move back and forth between yourself and your child, copy each other, draw a picture or tell a story.
  6. Encourage your child to draw shapes and letters – working towards a goal will help focus their efforts.

Facilitation Tips – What To Say

  • Grip: “I see we are holding our sticks in different ways” (model and comparing grips).
  • Setting intention: “What letter/shape would you like to draw?” “I wonder what else we can draw with?”
  • Comparing size: “Which shape is bigger/smaller?”
  • Comparing mark-making tools: “Does the feather draw differently than the stick?”

Extend the Experience

  • Repeat the experience on clear dirt patch in the back yard/park/walking trail with found objects.
  • Mark-making with pencils and paper.
  • Explore various shapes, numbers and letters and practise drawing them together.
  • Drawing on a larger scale using chalk on pavement.

WHO Guidelines for Physical Activity & Sedentary Behaviour

You can promote movement by completing this experience standing at a table rather than sitting in chairs.

Early Years Learning Framework


  1. Children begin to understand how symbols and pattern systems work
  2. Children express ideas and make meaning using a range of media
  3. Children transfer and adapt what they have learned from one context to another


Practice: Learning through play. Play can expand children’s thinking and enhance their desire to know and to learn. In these ways play can promote positive dispositions towards learning. Children’s immersion in their play illustrates how play enables them to simply enjoy being.

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