Candy Canes are among the most popular sweets enjoyed at Christmas. The peppermint flavored sugar sweet is traditionally white with red strips. Candy Canes are also the perfect shape and size to use as a writing tool. We were inspired by the smell, colors and shape of the Candy Cane to create our own Candy Cane Salt Writing Tray.
First we needed to dye some salt red. We did this by adding salt and red paint to a bowl and stirring the two ingredients together with a metal spoon. I also added a couple of drops of peppermint essence to the salt. Once there was no white salt left I poured the contents onto a baking tray covered in baking paper and spread the salt out evenly. I left the salt to dry overnight.
The next day I poured the red colored salt back into its original container. This would make pouring the salt into the writing tray much easier. I wrapped the container in red card so I wouldn’t get confused.
It was time to create a Candy Cane shape in our tray. I lined the tray with white paper and made a faint pencil outline of a Candy Cane to assist me. I set about filling the Candy Cane shape with alternating white and red salt. A paint brush came in handy to move any stray pieces of salt back onto the image. The peppermint essence gave our salt writing tray and additional sensory element to it.
Once our salt Candy Cane was finished I realized I needed a substance to cover the rest of the writing tray. I couldn’t use salt as this would detract from the Candy Cane image. Instead I opted to use snow confetti. It could be moved around the writing tray just like salt but it also sparkled giving it an extra Christmas magic feel.
Finally, I decorated the Candy Cane Writing Tray with actual Candy Canes. Unfortunately I removed the plastic wrappers on the Candy Canes that I placed inside the writing tray. They were too sticky and instantly became covered in snow glitter. I would recommend leaving the plastic wrappers on the Candy Canes. Luckily I did so for the one that would be used as a writing tool.
We used our Candy Cane Salt Writing Tray to focus on number formation. I placed a number flashcard at the top of the writing tray and let my three year experiment with writing with a Candy Cane. At first he was reluctant to destroy the picture I had created in salt. After a couple of demonstrations he enjoyed the process. The red salt didn’t move as easily as the white salt. It meant that the number had to written several times before it could be seen visibly. This just meant that my son had to form the numbers over and over again giving him additional number formation practice.
After forming the fourth number, the Candy Cane made from salt could no longer be seen. However, this did not detract my son from forming more numbers He was fascinated creating his own numbers and loved smelling the peppermint salt writing tray. It was a wonderful activity that combined writing, Christmas and stimulated the sense of smell.