I found this delightful project on The Artful Parent Blog, http://www.artfulparent.com/2012/08/watercolor-and-salt-painting-revisiting-an-old-favorite.html We did it with kindergarten and first grade children, and they loved it. Since each child did two in the hour, I only took a random sampling of photos. I didn't have time to sort through them and get one picture from each child before the children left for the day.
I showed them an example which I had done which looked like a wiggly
worm, an abstract line of curves which curled and crossed one another. I had painted my line with frequent color changes.
My son said it made him hungry because it looked like a gummi worm.
Each child could draw anything they wanted on their paper with their glue bottle. Then we
put their pictures in a deep cookie pan and dumped salt on top until the
glue was covered all over thickly. Then they were ready to paint right away.
I taught the children how to be gentle with the little brushes, and not
to splay them out and scrub them on the watercolor cakes, which breaks
the hairs. Some of them could remember that, and had the
coordination to do it. Some weren't able to do it, yet. I think next time we paint we will practice stroking a pretend cat with our brushes.
Unless you are using liquid watercolors, teach the
children to gently stroke the watercolor cakes with the brush with plenty of water until
the pigments are dark and wet.
The reason is because when you touch the salt-covered line with your pigment-loaded brush, the salt will slurp up the paint. The more paint, the more vivid your painting. Here is a picture of a young artist softly tapping her salty drawing with the brush. I asked the children to tap on the salt as softly as they would tap the back of a ladybug with their brush, so that the ladybug wouldn't get hurt or even have to bend its legs.
Although I couldn't think of a good reason to tap a ladybug with a
brush, everyone worked with great care and had the fun of watching the
salty glue soak up their paint. Younger children would not be able to
tap like that, and would mix the paint and the glue with their brushes, and that would be beautiful, too. We needed to keep
our watercolor cakes from developing a gluey covering which would keep us from using them next time.
The classroom was very peaceful, and the children seemed very content as they worked.
Aren't the colors luscious? I love the way the children used their colors! Incidentally, I removed all the black, brown, ochre, and beige watercolor cakes from the boxes to help prevent mud puddles from happening.
I wonder if the upper primary group would like this project, too?