Saturday, December 28, 2019

Fireworks Salt Painting Craft

I remember when we were young each year we'd travel all the way into the city and spend hours setting up a picnic to secure the perfect spot to watch the fireworks at Southbank. We looked forward to it all year. We loved all the different colours, shapes, sizes and the fact that they appear out of nowhere. They're just so magical, especially for little kids. 

Unfortunately fireworks are also quite loud, so unless you want to invest in a pair of headphones, sometimes it's best to watch them on the TV not up close, particularly for children with sensory issues. My girls don't like crowds and aren't fans of loud noises so we haven't ventured out for live fireworks yet, but we have found another way to join in with fireworks celebrations. We create fireworks salt painting process art at home.

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Fireworks salt painting is a great process art activity for preschoolers, and a great classroom activity too. It's also a great stem activity, combining art process and science concepts like absorption. It can get a little bit messy though, so if you're doing it inside you'll probably want to use a tray and a splash mat or plastic table cloth. Art smocks might be a good idea too if the kids get a little too excited by glue and painting. Alternatively set it up outside and just let the kids wear old clothes you don't mind getting dirty.


- Table salt
- Black paper or black cardstock
- Food colouring + water OR
- Watercolour paints {optional}

For the salt painting itself you will need some table salt {yep the same kind you eat for dinner}, some PVA craft glue with a squeeze lid, black paper or cardstock, pipettes, food colouring and water. You can also use liquid watercolours, or very wet colours from a watercolour tray. We created our own watercolour paint by adding a few drops of food colouring to some water {the more food colouring the better if you want vibrant fireworks}.

The easiest way to create the salt painting is to have everything set up on a tray ready to go so it can be accessed easily and quickly whilst the kids are creating their masterpiece. The tray helps to define the work space and contain the mess and makes it easy to collect excess salt. We put our salt into a shallow dish which made it easy to pour onto the picture and we collected the excess salt back into the dish to keep using so there was no wastage. The food colouring mixture I set up in tall clear plastic jars with individual pipettes so it was easy to choose a colour and we could work on multiple pictures at the same time.


1. Squeeze glue out into fireworks shapes on the paper/cardstock. The easiest way to create a firework burst is to start from a middle point and squeeze slightly curved lines outwards from the centre. However, as with real fireworks, each one is unique so there's no right or wrong way to create a firework and part of the fun of process art is to celebrate all the different designs that inevitably arise.

2. While the glue is still wet liberally pour salt over the top of it. Don't worry if the kids are a little heavy handed with the salt application, the more the better! If you're using a tray it's quite easy to collect the excess salt and keep using it for more paintings so there's no wastage.

3. Carefully tip the excess salt off. Slowly lift the picture upright over the tray and gently shake it so the excess salt falls off. There may be some areas where it's clumped so you may have to gently poke the paper/cardstock from behind those sections to make the excess fall away. You should be left with a salt crusted firework like below. Set aside the pictures at this point until the glue has dried.

4. Slowly drip food colouring mixture {or watercolour paint} onto the salt with a pipette. To make the fireworks come alive slowly add colour with a pipette. The salt will quickly absorb the liquid so it's easiest to do single drops at a time so it doesn't become too saturated {but I'm a realist and we all know this is the part where it can get quite messy, so I suggest having paper towel on hand to soak up any excess}. Once the colour has been applied you should have a vibrant fireworks art piece.

When we did our paintings we used primary colours and blended some together to add in some colour mixing learning. It was a great way to hypothesize what colours would be created then see if they were correct. It was also interesting to see how the salt absorbed the two different colours. 

Learning Opportunities with salt painting

- Pincer grip
- Hand strengthening
- Hand/eye co-ordination
- Colours & colour blending
- Water absorption

Fireworks salt paintings are a great way to celebrate New Year's Eve and can also be used to create craft for other holidays like 4th of July, Australia Day, River Fire or local show days {we have the Ekka here in Queensland}. Keep in mind that salt painting isn't 100% permanent as the salt will continue to absorb the colour over time, so the fireworks may dull in colour as time goes on, and eventually the salt will start to come away. If you're looking for other fun fireworks craft try toilet paper roll fireworks painting or check out more ideas on my fireworks craft pinterest board

Disclosure - This post contains some affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you, should you make a purchase.
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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Fine Motor Fun with Lalaboom Beads

For the last few years we have been a somewhat Montessori family, especially when it comes to toys and learning. In our house our toys are all presented on open kallax shelving so that the girls can choose which toys they want to play with. We also rotate the toys regularly based on their interests and provide toys that help them develop specific developmental skills.

We believe that so much learning happens during play so we've invested in some great toys and resources in the past few years. The majority of the time this means I purchase wooden toys, however my main desire in any toy we bring into the home is that it's open ended. For this reason I'm quite selective with the items we have for the girls. I love toys that can be used in multiple ways and to teach multiple skills and our latest addition has been Lalaboom beads. I've put together a detailed review of Lalaboom sensory balls and beads so you can learn everything you need to know about them and decide whether they'll be a good addition to your home too.

Lalaboom snap together beads in a basket


Lalaboom is a range of vibrant coloured, textured, interlocking beads. The range consists of eight styles, a combination of 16 different shapes, 12 exciting textures and 10 vivid colours to explore. However, Lalaboom is more than a collection of snap-together beads, it’s a beautifully innovative developmental experience. Senses are engaged as little ones explore the unique textures, vibrant colours and smooth twisting movements. As children grow, they’ll discover endless connective and stacking possibilities, strengthening creativity, pattern recognition, fine motor and problem-solving skills. 

Lalaboom products available in Australia
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Designed for children aged 10 to 36 months, Lalaboom beads provide children with a wonderful opportunity to learn through play. The simple shapes of the beads allow small children to practice and acquire the fine motor skills that are essential to their development. The beads are large enough that they can be easily grasped and manipulated by toddlers {as with all loose parts though please supervise children at all times}.

Hand holding lalaboom beads for size comparison.

Lalaboom is directly inspired by the Montessori method of education: taking the child’s needs into consideration, allowing them to learn at their own pace and encouraging them to discover their senses and skills through play. The many features of Lalaboom toys require children to make use of their cognitive functions such as attention, perception, memory or reasoning meaning they will develop their talents naturally whilst playing.

Lalaboom sensory balls and fine motor beads


The beauty of open ended toys is that the possibilities are pretty much endless as kids can use their imagination to come up with a number of different ways to play. The most obvious way to play with the Lalaboom beads is to twist or pop them together to create weird and wonderful stacking towers. The beads can be connected together an endless number of ways, with each different type and size able to interlock with the other beads. Different colours, textures and patterns can be combined to create colourful creatures and towers.
Lalaboom towers using the sensory balls and beads
Lalaboom creation using the big sensory balls and smaller connecting beads

Lalaboom connecting beads mix and matched together.

One of the other great benefits of Lalaboom beads is that they grow with your child and can be used in even more ways as your child's developmental skills improve. In the beginning children from as young as 10 months can pop whole beads together, then by approximately 15-18 months they can twist the individual bead pieces together. By 24 months they should be able to stack the beads on top of each other to form towers. Once their fine motor skills are even further progressed, they can move onto lacing the Lalaboom beads with lacing needles.

In addition to fine motor development, Lalaboom beads can also be sorted by colour, pattern, shape and size as children get older and start moving onto learning these concepts. The Lalaboom Educational Peg Board brings all of these concepts together using a board with interchangeable picture cards that slide into the base. Children have to pop or twist the beads onto the board to match the picture.

Child playing with Lalaboom peg board

Learning Opportunities with Lalaboom

- Colour recognition
- Pattern recognition
- Pincer grip
- Hand strengthening
- Hand/eye co-ordination
- Problem solving
- Spatial awareness
- Tactile sensory input

My 2yr old has loved playing with the Lalaboom beads and peg board for a few weeks now {her 6yr old sister has even played with them a few times}. I love how open ended they are and that each time she plays her structures end up looking different.  I also love that while she's playing she's also working hard to perfect the fine motor movements needed for writing later on {of course she's oblivious to this and is just having fun - exactly the way learning should be for toddlers}. 

At 2 and a half she's already mastered how to pop and twist all of the beads together, but occasionally needs some help to pull them apart again. Playing with the beads has helped increase her vocabulary too as we've been using lots of motion words like pop, twist, turn, push, pull while we're playing {yep I play with them too!}. We also use them to practice colours where we pick certain coloured beads to match together. I have no doubt the Lalaboom beads will be on high rotation on our toy shelves over the next few years.

Lalaboom products are available in Australia from Lime Tree Kids, Catch and other leading toy stores. For a full list of stockists please call Jasnor on 1300 881 940 or send an email to


Lalaboom beads review inforgraphic sensory and fine motor benefits.


Disclosure - I was kindly gifted some Lalaboom beads and a peg board from Jasnor for the purpose of review. I did not receive payment for this review, however this post contains some affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you, should you make a purchase. Stock images have been used with permission.

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