Coloring salt with chalk

This is an activity that I absolutely loved when I was a kid. My mom confirmed there are still some of these jars with rainbows in what use to be my bedroom at my parents' house.


  • Preparation time (recommended for 3-4 year olds if you don’t have ziploc bags): 15-20 min

  • Age range: 3 and older

  • Degree of parent involvement during activity: high for the little ones, and none for 7-8-9 year olds

  • Entertainment time: 30 to 60 min

  • Level of success: high- they loved it! But since my kids are 2 and almost 5, the level of parent involvement was pretty hight


  • Salt – Alternatively, you could also use sugar

  • Chalk– Make sure you don’t get the dustless type, you want the dust

  • A piece of paper (or several ones)

  • Scissors or ziploc bags – You only need one of the two, ziplocs are more suitable for smaller children

  • A container of glass with lid. You can recicle bottles and jars from tomato sauce, jam, or any others that you may have at home


Preparation. If don’t have ziploc bags- or just want to avoid using them-and your children are small, I recommend doing some preparation. I didn’t do it and it was fine, but they get more anxious to participate so I will definitely will be doing it next time (because there will be a next time).

The preparation basically consists of grating the chalk using scissors or a grater. Make sure you crush the little pieces, the smoother the better.

Or you could also just buy chalk dust and skip the preparation.

Step 1. Fold a piece of paper in half and pour some salt. It doesn’t matter how much or how little, it will depend on the amount of that color you want in your jar.

Step 2. Pick a color and pour it on top of the salt. Use your fingers to mix it well until you get a uniform color.

An alternative method (which we didn’t use) would be to pour some salt in a ziploc bag, add the chalk, close well, and shake and rub until the salt has achieved the desired color.

Step 3. Fold the paper and distribute the salt all over the base or creating little lumps. This is how it looks like (you can see we didn’t do a very good job crushing the chalk, that’s what the little darker spots are):

Step 4. Repeat with as many colors as you want until the jar is full. Change the paper and use a new one if it gets too dirty to avoid mixing colors.

Get creative, you can make rainbows, hearts, or anything you want! You can experiment using jars with different shapes too.

This makes a nice little home made gift for your friends or family members. You can even personalize it writing their names on the glass.