Make this super easy rainbow salt tray for your child to spend hours tracing letters, drawing and practicing their fine motor skills, all the while learning to write with their senses – something we emphasize greatly at our CEFA Early Learning schools, to prepare children for writing. All you need is the cover of a shoebox, some coloured paper and salt!

Best Ages for This Activity

Zero to five (the little ones can draw while your two and three year olds can practice writing letters or words).

How to Make It


Optional Ingredients

Let’s Get Started!

  • Cut the construction paper in strips and place the pieces on the tray, like this:

  • With the clear tape, cover the coloured paper completely and press hard o there are no bumps or spots where the salt could accumulate (you want a smooth surface)
  • Pour the salt over the tray. It should be enough salt so it hides the colours, but not too much so your child can see the colours as soon as they begin tracing on the tray.
  • Not enough:

  • Too much:

  • Just right:

  • Invite your child to write on the tray.
  • You can provide words for them to trace
  • Or letters:

  • Lines (it is better if they use their fingers instead of a paintbrush, so they get the sensory component):

  • Or just see how much they enjoy free-styling:

Learning Opportunities

Children will learn writing, literacy and reading if they practice writing letters or words. They will benefit from sensory learning and if you “discover” the colours, they will also learn math. This tray is also a great opportunity for your child to focus and develop their attention span, as well as practice independent play. These are all important life skills.

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