Preschool Activities and Printables

DIY Salt Sensory Tray

Lately, I’ve really been focusing on helping my daughter strengthen her fine motor skills. Every day I search the internet for ideas like what a mum did on TikTok, making Edible Sand out of crushed Cheerios. As I was looking for activities that would be fun enough to entertain my “can’t sit still” 3-year-old, while at the same time offer her an educational and/or developmental benefit, I stumbled upon something on Pinterest. So I thought I’d give it a try. Not only did it cost only $3 to make (which is always awesome in my book), but it allowed my daughter to work on her fine motor skills over and over again. Plus, I’m always a fan of using bright colors. By far, this project has turned out to be my daughter’s favorite to date. Since I made it, she has literally spent HOURS using it. I highly recommend this for anyone with young children! It’s affordable and reusable. Just give it a shake to resettle the salt, and it’s ready to use all over again. Here’s what you’ll need to make this




  • Different colored paper (I got a pack of 10 sheets of foam paper from a dollar store)
  • Scissors
  • Pen
  • Ruler (optional)
  • Tape (optional)
  • Box lid or small shallow box
  • Clear contact paper ($1 roll from a dollar store)
  • Salt (You’ll need an entire container for this activity.)
  • Paintbrushes, cars, shovels, shells, sand toys, etc.


Step 1: Once you have all your materials ready, you’ll need to cut the paper to fit inside the box or lid.


***Since I’m a little OCD, I actually measured the box and divided the total by the number of sheets of paper I was using, which happened to be 5. I then measured each sheet and cut it the length I needed. Obviously, you don’t need to be this precise! =) ***


Step 2: Now that you have the sheets measured to fit your container, you’ll need to seal them in the contact paper. To do this, cut a sheet large enough to cover all of the papers. Peel and stick them onto the sticky side. Instead of cutting the excess contact paper off, I simply folded the extra onto the back side of the papers.


***Because the contact paper didn’t stick that well to the foam paper, I had to use tape to secure the extra, folded contact paper on the back (as seen in the picture). If you are using regular paper, this probably won’t be an issue, so it’s up to you whether or not to use the tape.***



Step 3: After you have created a mat out of the contact paper covered paper, you simply put it back into the box or lid. Now just dump out the container of salt onto the mat, grab some paintbrushes, cars, or anything that works well in a sandbox, and give the tray to your little one. Not only will s/he be working on fine motor skills, but s/he’ll be having a blast doing it!


***I had an issue with salt leaking out of my box, so I simply covered any holes with a piece of tape. Also, make sure to warn your child about putting his/her fingers into or around the eyes, as the salt can irritate them. Unfortunately, my daughter had to learn this the hard way, but it seem to didn’t deter her at all since she kept on playing with watery eyes.***


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