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10 Salt Trays for Fun Writing Practice

If you’ve been hanging around our blog for any length of time, you have probably heard me talk about multisensory learning and how important it is. When kids learn with all their senses, they are far more likely to remember what they learn.

closeup of child writing a letter in a salt tray

Well, if you’ve never tried using salt trays as a sensory writing exercise for your children, this blog post is for you!

Children of all ages and abilities can benefit from this great kinesthetic activity. Watch the video below to see how easy it is to make your own salt tray!

Salt trays are perfect for practicing these skills:

child practicing sight words with a salt tray

How to Create Your Own Salt Tray

It’s really easy to create a salt tray for your child.

  1. Select a recipe from our download below.
  2. Mix salt, color, and fragrance to create a colorful, scented salt mixture.
  3. Spread the salt mixture in a shallow pan.
  4. Start writing!

Download this free printable to get complete instructions, fun variations, and a full set of uppercase and lowercase alphabet cards.

10 Scented Salt Trays

Our download includes ten fragrant recipes that will increase the sensory impact of your salt trays. Download Make Your Own Salt Tray now and pick your favorite!

  1. Lavender Salt Tray – purple salt and the calming aroma of lavender
  2. Creamsicle Salt Tray – orange salt with the citrusy scent of summer
  3. Candy Cane Salt Tray – red salt with the festive aroma of the holidays
  4. Lemonade Salt Tray – yellow salt with a fresh lemony scent
  5. Pumpkin Spice Salt Tray – orange salt and the scent of autumn
  6. Chocolate Salt Tray – brown salt with the sweet smell of chocolate
  7. Almond Joy Salt Tray – brown salt and a hint of almond and coconut
  8. Strawberry Banana Salt Tray – red salt and the aroma of a fruit smoothie
  9. Root Beer Float Salt Tray – brown salt and a whiff of root beer and ice cream (minus the glass!)
  10. Sugar Cookie Salt Tray – beige salt with the smell of a fresh-baked cookie
Young child writing in a salt tray

Tips for Using Your Salt Tray

  • You can use a baking dish, jelly roll pan, or cafeteria tray to create your salt tray.
  • Having a colored backdrop helps the letters show up better. If your tray isn’t colored, you can tape colored paper in the bottom of the tray for contrast.
letter M and a colored background in a salt tray
  • Put the tray on a towel or tablecloth for easy clean-up.
  • Add a thin layer of salt to the tray. If you use too much salt, it is hard to see the letters.
  • For young children who are just learning the alphabet, place the letter card next to the tray for the child’s reference.
the letter E written in a salt tray
  • Use the pointer finger of the dominant hand to “write” in the salt.
  • Shake the pan gently to “erase” the writing.
child shaking salt tray to erase

More Sensory Tray Ideas

Here are a few more materials you can add to a tray or pan. Food coloring or scents can be added to these materials as well, or they can just be left plain.

  • Sand
  • Flour
  • Shaving Cream
  • Cornmeal

Have you used a salt tray or another sensory writing activity with your child? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

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Photo credit: Elaine from Humble Dwelling

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Leave a Comment

adria

says:

Thank you for all the ideas. I do have salt trays I use with the children but it’s nice to have a variation.

Yessenia

says:

This is great! My daughter is going to love it. Can’t wait to try! Thanks!!!

Christina

says:

Super idea!

Christina

says:

Great ideas!

Tina

says:

I love these fun salt trays- lavender scented is my favorite! Great post

Missy

says:

We have always loved shaving cream for practice!

Tracy

says:

I used salt trays with my daughter in middle and high school. I like the salt better than the sand, as it can be wiped up with a wet rag and it disappears without leaving anything to scratch the table top or the floor. Wish I’d known about the colors and scents though!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Tracy,
Great point about clean up! I did sand writing with my kids when they were little since as desert dwellers we have an abundance of sand. However, clean up was a bit of a pain.

Emily W

says:

We’ll have to try this! I’m sure my children would love it.

Julisa

says:

I’ve got a couple of boys that I need to try this with. Plenty of lemons in our tree so I think we’ll do lemon salt.

gina

says:

I miss doing these with my kids! They loved it!

Debbie

says:

This is one program that I consistently use!!! We learn so much!

Nikki

says:

Great ideas!!

Leah

says:

We drew letters in chalk on a chalk board and let our daughter “paint” them off with water. Fun and easy clean up.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

What a great idea, Leah! It would be great practice, especially for children that are at the very beginning of learning letters. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Alicia Butler

says:

Looks like something my 3 school aged kidlets would enjoy!

Melonie

says:

Looks like fun! I may try with my daughter who has sensory issues.

Julie

says:

My daughter would love this

Chanelle

says:

This is such a neat idea!

Jen

says:

Love all the great ideas.

Samantha

says:

Adding smell to the salt try is a awesome idea!

Robyn Jamison

says:

Neat.

Traci McCain

says:

Love this idea!

Selena McCroskey

says:

My kids always loved the sand trays we used.

Naomi

says:

My son loves salt trays! They have really helped to move those fine motor skills along and he enjoys drawing in them too!

Sharon Manley

says:

Would LOVE to win AAS 2…as a grandmother with custody of her 2 grandsons and homeschooling them..money is VERY tight… this would be a wonderful blessing

Katie

says:

My daughter liked this when she was little

Louise Journagan

says:

What a great idea!!

Bethan

says:

I love the idea of scented salt trays! We love scented play doh so this is an idea we will be trying!

Rachel

says:

Looks like a great way to teach the basics of writing letters

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Rachel,
Yes, and it is an especially good way for young children that may not be up to writing much because of little hands that get tired quickly. The salt tray is much easier for practice.

Mary Beth

says:

I would love to having all about spelling!!!

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