Making circles in the salt tray

Last week I shared our shape hunt activity as an introduction to our unit on shapes.  First up on our list of shapes to explore was the circle.  We explored this new shape by drawing circles in our salt trays…

Drawing circles in the salt tray by Teach Preschool

We use salt trays in our classroom quite frequently as a fine motor tool and to encourage pre-writing skills.  We use a basic plastic tray that can be picked up at most any school supply store or through online vendors like Discount School Supply.  When we share our photos of salt trays on Facebook, we often get comments like, “Ouch!  Salt would hurt if it got into cuts or scrapes.”  Surprisingly, we haven’t had any children complain about the salt hurting their boo boos. But we always have a large supply of bandages around for children that do have hurt fingers and a water spout close by for rinsing.

Circles in the salt tray by Teach Preschool

We’ve also used colored sand and cornmeal in these trays. Both are great alternatives to salt!  No matter how we present this type of activity, our children always seem to love it…

Circles in the salt tray by Teach Preschool

For this particular exploration in circles, we set out various sized lids that we have been collecting, as well as paintbrushes.  The children could use the lids to stamp circles or to create designs in the salt…

Circles in the salt tray by Teach Preschool

The children could also use the paintbrushes or their fingers for drawing circles…

Circles in the salt tray by Teach Preschool

A salt tray is a wonderful medium for practicing writing and drawing!  And the creativity that the children show when playing in it never ceases to amaze me…

Circles in the salt tray by Teach Preschool

The children almost always have other accessories in mind when playing in the salt trays.  And that’s okay because, while we may be experimenting with circles, there are other unique shapes that can be found around the classroom.  Our children are natural investigators and the salt really allows the children to see imprints or tracks of the tools they are playing with…

Circles in the salt tray by Teach Preschool

When the children have finished their design, like an Etch-a-Sketch, they just give it a gentle shake to clean their canvas and then start anew…

Circles in the salt tray by Teach Preschool

You’ll notice that we only use a small amount of salt in each tray.  The bottoms aren’t completely filled.  And when we are finished, we will just pour the salt back into a container to reuse again…

Circles in the salt tray by Teach Preschool

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By |2014-01-21T06:00:03+00:00January 21st, 2014|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.

One Comment

  1. Scott January 21, 2014 at 7:27 am - Reply

    Deborah, thank you for your continual hard work. Your emphasis on children playing and discovering is inspiring. I know I can always come to your blog and see kids having fun and learning. Thank you.

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