Welcome to week 16 of Kitchen Classroom 2021, where America’s Test Kitchen Kids is sharing a weekly kid-tested and kid-approved recipe, hands-on experiment, or activity paired with a “Learning Moment” that brings learning to life in the kitchen.
It’s Kitchen STEAM Lab week and, this time, kids will use one of the most common kitchen ingredients—salt!—to create beautiful, colorful works of art in our Salt Art activity. Using the instructions in this week’s Learning Moment, kids can explore different types of salt and discover which work best for absorbing colorful paint.
Don’t forget to share what your family makes by tagging @testkitchenkids or using #ATKkids on Instagram, or by sending photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the America’s Test Kitchen Kids website for more culinary content designed especially for kids, plus all of the Kitchen Classroom content in one easy-to-scan location.
Here’s what’s cooking for the week of April 19th through 25th, 2021.
Kitchen STEAM Lab: Salt Art
In this week’s hands-on activity, kids will discover that salt can be used for more than just seasoning. They’ll use kosher salt, white glue, and watercolor paints to create colorful works of art. Plus, kids can learn about different types of salt (table salt, kosher salt, and flake sea salt) by comparing how well each absorbs the watercolor paint. As kids are painting, they might enjoy listening to episodes of our podcast, Mystery Recipe, and picking their favorite character to draw and paint! (Hint: Check out Season 1, Week 2 and Season 2, Week 3 to learn more about salt.)
[GET THE ACTIVITY]
What You’ll Need
Watercolor paper or card stock
Rimmed baking sheet
1 cup kosher salt
2+ small bowls
Science (Structure and Properties of Matter; Planning and Carrying Out Investigations):
In this activity, kids will use salt to create a colorful work of art, but will different types of salt yield more (or less) colorful results? If you have different types of salt at home, you can try this simple experiment comparing kosher salt to table salt and/or flake sea salt.
- Divide and label one piece of watercolor paper or card stock for each type of salt you’ll be testing.
- Choose a simple design, such as a line or a squiggle, for your test—this way you can replicate the same design for each type of salt.
- Choose one color of watercolor paint to use for your comparison test.
- Ask kids to make a prediction: Do you think the finished pictures will look different or the same?
- Follow the activity instructions to create your salt art, sprinkling each design with a different type of salt.
- When their experiment designs have fully dried, ask kids to observe their results: Do the pictures look different? How well did each type of salt absorb the paint?
Salt is hygroscopic, which means it's very good at absorbing water from its surroundings, which is why it readily absorbed the watercolor paint. Different types of salt crystals are different shapes, depending on how the salt is harvested and processed. The different shapes of the crystals affects how much salt sticks to the glue and how well the salt can absorb the paint. Kids likely observed that the large, irregularly shaped flake salt was often larger and wider than their line of glue, so their finished designs didn’t have crisp, sharp colored lines. The table salt began to dissolve in the white glue, making it less able to absorb the colorful paint (hence why the activity calls for kosher salt). For more information on salt, check out our article How to Season With Salt.
Take It Further
Our podcast for kids, Mystery Recipe, is all about the fun, fantastical, and fascinating sides of food. Encourage kids to choose their favorite character(s) from the podcast and illustrate them with salt art! They might create Mitsy the Oven Mitt, Oliver the Cat, Intern Parker the Pot Holder, Detective Hollandaise or even the host, Molly! Share what kids make by tagging @testkitchenkids or using #ATKkids on Instagram, or by sending photos to email@example.com.