10 Fun Things to Do with Salt

10 Fun Things to Do with Salt Left Brain Craft BrainAlmost everyone has salt in the cupboard.  But does everyone know what it is and where it comes from?  I had forgotten some of the key info from  high school chemistry until today, honestly.

Salt is a mineral substance, primarily sodium chloride (NaCl).  It’s produced by mining it from salt mines or by allowing water to evaporate in small pools, leaving the salt behind.  It’s needed by our bodies to keep the fluid in our cells and to help transmit messages throughout the nervous system.

A few random questions I had:

  • Where does most of the salt in the world come from?  China and the US are the the biggest producers of salt in the world, with about a third of the US production coming from salt mines.  The rest is from the saltwater evaporation method.  The largest salt mine in the world exists a whopping 1,750 feet underneath Lake Huron.
  • Why do we need iodine in our salt?  The body needs iodine in order to create thyroid hormones, essential for daily life (iodine deficiencies are considered to be the leading cause of preventable, intellectual and developmental disabilities).  Typically, people do not get enough iodine naturally in our diet, requiring us to supplement.
  • Why is typical table salt white?  In nature, salt actually occurs as a combination of many other minerals like magnesium, calcium and phosphorous.  The refining, washing and drying process typically removes all of these minerals from the sodium chloride, leaving it a pure white.  Unrefined sea salt may range in color from pale grey to beige to pink.

Now that you’ve become a salt brainiac, lets have some fun with salt.  You can:salt painting1.  Make a raised salt painting:  Drizzle paper with craft glue, then sprinkle with salt.  Then gently paint with water mixed with either liquid water colors or food coloring.  For greatest impact, the colors should be very concentrated.  The Babe loved this activity.  We even convinced The Hubby to participate and he ain’t a crafting kind of guy.  There’s something about how the salt sucks up and transports the color down the lines of glue that is irresistible…

salt sough magnets2.  Make salt dough:  Everyone, including us, are making salt dough magnets.  But check out a creative way to use that dough from Life Lesson Plans.  I love their  Salt Dough Mosaics.

3.  Salt Writing:  A great way to practice writing, reading or recognizing letters.  Pour salt onto a tray or onto the table and write away.  Make colored salt with the leftovers by throwing it in a bag with a piece of sidewalk chalk.  Shake shake shake…

3.  Separate Salt and Pepper with Static Electricity:  Frugal Fun for Boys has the trick.

egg float4.  Float Things:  Did you know that you can float an egg in water?  Take a half full glass of water, mix in about a 1/4 cup of salt, stir until dissolved and gently place the egg in the water.  This works because salt makes the water more dense and make things float easier.  Show this side-by-side with an egg in a glass of plain water so the kids actually believe that it’s because of the salt.

5.  Explore What Dissolves in Water:  Not everything dissolves in water…  Hands on As We Grow has a great experiment setup for you.

6.  Make Homemade Puffy Paint like the one from Happy Hooligans.

7.  Grow Salt Crystals:  This one is all about experimentation.  Try different types of salt and different salt solution concentrations.  Babble Dabble Do has a great tutorial on salt crystals.

8.  Make Ornaments:  It’s early for Christmas, but this Melted Snowman Ornament from It All Started with Paint is too cute.  Make sure your kiddos aren’t huge Olaf fans before doing this one :)

9.  Make Bath Bombs:  like these moisturizing ones from Idle Wife.  They’re super easy and are great gifts for the kids to make.

10.  Make Salted Caramel Brownies from Smitten Kitchen.  I highly recommend that you do this project last because the brownies are so good that you just might eat yourself into a sugar-induced haze and no longer be able distinguish the salt box from anything else in your pantry.

Need some more inspiration for that extra salt or batch of salt dough?  Check out the Left Brain Craft Brain Salt Pinterest board.  I know you can’t resist the 75 Salted Caramel Recipes pin hiding in that board…  And please  follow me while you’re there :)

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