Preschool STEAM (for children ages 2-6) is all about having fun with science, technology, math and art!  There is no right or wrong way for children to experiment – the fun and learning comes from the doing!  Early childhood research shows us that little hands and minds learn best when at play.

For our April 2019 STEAM adventure, we focused on a bit of SCIENCE and ART by making Rock Salt Rainbows!


Rock Salt or Ice Cream Salt
Measuring cups
Small plastic containers
Food coloring (red, green, blue, yellow, orange…)
Plastic sandwich baggies
Cardstock or watercolor paper
Glue (Elmer’s Glue or Clear Craft Glue)

The Project:

STEP 1:  Creating rock salt of many colors.

  • Add 1/3 cup rock salt to a plastic sandwich bag.
  • Add drops of food coloring inside the bags and mix bag with your hands until you get the desired color you want. You’re done!


  • The  huge rock salt crystals absorb the colors well, making them particularly vibrant.
  • It’s best to let them dry a bit before handling.  The children placed their crystals in the sun in order to speed up the drying time.  Some of the children realized they added too much food coloring to their rock salt and used paper towels to soak up the excess moisture.


Credit: hello Wonderful

STEP 2:  Rainbow Salt Crystal Painting



Step 1. If you try this at home it helps to line a baking pan with parchment paper and place the cardstock or watercolor paper on top to contain the mess.  Place the crystals into clear plastic trays/bowls for easy access.  (We worked outside so we didn’t worry about making a mess.)

Step 2. “Draw” a rainbow with glue to help guide placement of the crystals.

Step 3. Starting one color at a time, fill in the rainbow line entirely with glue. With a spoon fill the line in one at a time with the salt crystals. Pat down the crystals with your hands.

Step 4. Let the “painting” dry. Remove the excess crystals.  If you want a thick rainbow line use more glue.  You can start with thin lines of glue and then go back to add more glue until the different colors of the rainbow are thick enough.

Credit: hello Wonderful

Artists at Work ~ Rainbows, Hearts, Ninjas, Dinosaurs & More

Join us at Pasadena Central Library for our next STEAM adventure on Monday, June 24 from 10:30-11:30 a.m.  The program is held in the patio adjacent to the Children’s Room.  Hope to see you there!