Monday, March 16, 2015

Making Bath Salts for Mother's day

Art and craft must be meaningful to the children and meaningful in term of learning. Each craft is usually related to the current theme or topic. This week, as we prepared for Mother's Day, I thought of making salt baths with the children. I gathered all the ingredients necessary for it : Epsom salts, sea salts, baking soda, food colouring and essential oils (orange mandarin).

I invited 2 children at the times to help me mix the salts and the soda together. As there were a few lumps in the mixture, I asked them to use their hands to remove them. What fun it was! he children absolutely loved digging their hands in the salt mixture. I asked them how it felt and they would answer : "soft" or "tickly between my fingers", "it's like playing in the sand on the beach", " is it sand?", "no, it's actually salts, salts is very good for the skin", "well, my mam uses salt when she cooks", " I tasted salt once but it's not very nice at all"...
Once the mixing stage was done, I gave them both a wooden spoon and added a little bit of food colouring in the salts. I asked them to use the spoons this time to mix the colour into the salts. They were amazed to see the colouring slowly spreading into the mixture : what was white/grey one minute turned into a lovely pale orange hue and the children were so in awe! 

It was then time to add another dimension to this wonderful sensorial experience: the essential oils.. Just a few drops per batch. Children related to the whole experience and had a lot of things to say, sharing opinions and ideas. "Hmmmm.... That smells lovely", "this smells like my favourite fruit: oranges", " orange is my favourite colour in the whole world", "i like orange too but my favourite colour is red like apples",  "I feel hungry now", " well, I feel like eating cake now"...
Once we were sure the salts and the oils were well mixed, it was time to pour the bath salts into the glass jars the children had brought from home. And the experience turned into a Practical Life Exercise that would make Maria Montessori quite proud! The children used a small silve spoon to transfer the salts from the bowl into their jar, reinforcing their concentration skills, their fine motor skills and their hand-eye coordination skills.

I then decorated the jars and the lids and voila!!! We were delighted with the results but above all, we were delighted with the range of experiences the craft provided to the children. It was a very good sensorial activity which tackled the senses of touch and smell. It also helped the children to develop the little muscles in their hands as they poured the salts in. The children also shared a lot of how they felt and what they do in their own home, enriching the whole activity with personal anecdotes. And all the mammies loved their little gift!