‘Tis the season for winter themes in preschool, and these winter salt paintings are perfect for young toddlers as well as preschoolers. This is winter process art at its very best.
With no specific outcome intended, these winter beauties still make wonderfully sparkly keepsakes. (We’ve also made some similar Christmas process art, too). See all my process art activities for preschoolers here.
Epsom Salt Paintings for Preschool Winter Theme
Winter can be a magical time for children.
It can be filled with snowball fights, building snowmen, and making snow angels in the white fluff.
But why not help preschoolers make the most of the cold season by incorporating winter-themed learning activities? From counting snowflakes or observing how ice melts to writing about frosty experiences in the winter, the possibilities are endless!
So get out there and let your preschoolers have some winter fun while also developing important skills!
But don’t forget winter art for preschoolers. All you need for this winter process art is a little glue and salt and paint.
FAQ about Doing Process Art with Preschoolers
By definition, process art emphasizes the act and process of making art over the product produced. It is open-ended, self-motivated and based on experience and experimenting. Characteristics of process art include:
> no specified outcome
> no step-by-step directions
> no sample for children to follow
> work is entirely of the children’s own choice, both in product and whether or not to participate
True process art is simply allowing children a range of materials to use and allowing them to create at their own cares and whims. Ideas for inspiration can be posted, however process art is not about the outcome, but rather the intent of the creator.
Here are some fun process art ideas to get you started:
> paint and an atypical “paintbrush” like a comb or using string
> oil and water paintings
> magazine collages
> glue resist paintings
> cellophane collages on sticky tagboard
Check out all my process art ideas for toddlers and preschoolers here.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) touts Process Art as highly developmentally appropriate for the preschool classroom. Some benefit of process art includes:
> nurturing social and emotional health
> reinforcing skills like focus, relaxation, and emotional sharing
> inspiring creativity and problem solving
> builds cognitive skills like comparison, planning, and problem solving
> encourages vocabulary development and verbal expression of language
Related Preschool Art Winter Activities
This winter tree landscape scene is one of our other favorite winter art projects for preschoolers.
Simple Winter Craft for Kids – Epsom Salt Paintings
Ok, aren’t these paintings beautiful? They sparkle! (Because of my “secret” ingredient). And for being wintery process art done by preschoolers, they have a wonderful amount of depth that draws the viewer in. We kinda’ made our own little art gallery when we displayed these winter paintings in preschool.
I am always impressed by how unique each art piece is when the focus is process over product. This is not to say there is no place for crafts in preschool (I have posted about several), but admittedly there is something extra special about process art.
With winter being the theme here, my preschoolers told the most intriguing stories as I asked them to share their paintings with me.
It’s important to understand that even in these seemingly simple paintings, important decisions were made. Important processes were explored. And important experiments were conducted.
Materials for Sparkly Winter Process Art Paintings
- washable tempera paint, paint brushes, and paint palettes
- thick art paper
- Epsom salt
- washable white liquid school glue
The Set Up
Begin by dolling out a few dollops of paint to each child. Because we had been studying all things winter in preschool, my students chose blue and white paint. I invited the students to begin painting, allowing them to mix the white and blue paint as they wanted on their paper.
How to Make these Sparkly Winter Paintings for Preschoolers
This student made “swirls of snowflakes” like we had read about in a few books, which I recommend below. I just love the selection of wintry children’s books available. We read so many and they extended our play and learning by miles!
My preschoolers swirled and spun and twisted their paintbrushes making a blue-gray background, just like the way the sky looks on a snowy day.
Winter Theme Picture Books We Love
In fact, here are the books we read to support our learning of snow. Let’s just say that in preschool we read a lot of books. I mean, a lot. And the best part is that those books always work their way into activities like this one.
Before the paint has a chance to dry completely, squirt on some white liquid school glue. Squeezing on the glue while the paint is still wet will cause it to react a bit with the paint as it dries, changing the blue paint under the glue to a purple hue.
The students love this step! Because how often do children have the opportunity to just squeeze out ooey, gooey glue?
Usually, we say rhymes like, “Just a dot, not a lot”, like in this back-to-school worksheet that teaches glue control, but that’s not needed here. We want trails of glue all over the paper!
You want your preschoolers to squeeze hard and use a lot of glue. This is also what we did for our Christmas process art canvases.
And it makes them better writers, too, since squeezing the glue bottles strengthens their hand muscles.
Finally, sprinkle some Epsom salt over the glue.
Why Epsom salts?
Epsom salts have a larger crystal than regular table salt or even kosher salt.
The larger crystals make the salt look just like course glitter, but without the clingy mess. (And it’s better for the environment, too!) You know how glitter clings to everything it touches. Well, Epsom salt won’t do that, so any mess that works its way outside the tray can easily be swept up.
That being said, Epsom salt is NOT edible (not the same as table salt), so like glitter, make sure no one gets a taste.
The best part of winter process art projects like this one is that, with the right supervision, it is suitable for all ages. Even my barely toddler, with me by his side supervising him, completed his very own sparkly winter art piece. On the flip side, this is just the kind of art my 8-year-old would be into as well.
I love it when everyone gets to participate, and look how beautiful they turned out!
Looking for More Snow Art Projects for Preschoolers?
Here are some other well-loved, tried and true winter themes activities your preschoolers are sure to love!
Looking for Some Snowman Crafts or Snowflake Crafts?
From paper plate snowmen to paint snowflakes, these winter crafts for preschoolers make just plain fun winter learning!
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.