I learned about salty watercolors from this post in the Artful Parent's archives (wow, there's a wealth of information over there) and I have to say this was one of my favorite kid projects EVER. First of all, the mess factor isn't too bad. Second of all, set up is relatively easy.
And, finally, the project occupied the girls for long periods of time with very little parental involvement (YAY!!). If I had a ratings system, I'd give it the highest rating.
Here's the scoop: Materials - Liquid watercolors (or food coloring), Elmers glue (or an equivalent), table salt, a pan or platter (to pour the salt over), and thick paper or cardboard (ordinary paper will buckle from the salt).
1. First the girls drew pictures with glue on watercolor paper. 2. Then we poured salt over the still-wet glue. We used the pan to shake off the salt that didn't stick. 3. Finally the girls touched watercolor-dipped paintbrushes onto the still-wet glue/salt designs. The color slowly traveled through their designs, which was really fun to watch.
If you've ever wondered what the toddler does during craft-time usually he sleeps. But sometimes he doesn't. I probably should let him paint with real paint but it's just so messy, so for now I've tricked him into painting with water. And that works for awhile (until he realizes that his pictures don't look like the girls' pictures).
Post by Darcy : bedtimemonsters.blogspot.com