Learn how to color salt with food coloring for quick and easy sensory play or craft activities! Colored salt makes an awesome sensory bin filler and one of our favorites! We will show you how to dye salt easy, so it is ready to use the same day. Our simple how to dye salt recipe makes beautiful colors for whatever theme you choose.

Easy how to dye salt recipe for colored salt sensory play with kidsPin

Easy and Quick Colored Salt Anytime

Looking for salt in a variety of colors? Our simple how to dye salt recipe makes for beautiful colored salt for whatever theme you choose. Make sure to check out our list of favorite sensory bins for great ways to use your colored salt!

Here’s how to color salt with food coloring for sensory activities. All it takes is food coloring and vinegar. Yes, you can dye salt without vinegar. We include an easy alternative for you below.

Kids will have a blast digging their hands into a colored salt sensory bin! This how-to dye salt for sensory play is such a simple recipe! Prep and make it in the morning and you can set up your sensory bin for an afternoon activity.

Also, make sure to check out more dyed sensory play materials:

Why Use Sensory Bins?

Are sensory bins worth it? Yes, they are worth it. The more basic you keep the sensory bin, the better off you are. Remember, you create a tactile experience for your kids, not a Pinterest image. While we have fantastic pictures of sensory bins, they only stay that way for a minute!

Sensory bins are awesome hands-on tools for children to learn about their world and senses! Sensory play may calm a child, focus a child, and engage a child. Read about the many benefits below.

Here’s what children can learn from sensory bins:

Practical Life Skills ~ Sensory bins let a child explore, discover and create play using practical life skills (dumping, filling, scooping) and learn valuable play skills.

Play Skills {emotional development} ~ For both social play and independent play, sensory bins allow children to play cooperatively or side by side. My son has had many positive experiences with other children over a bin of rice!

Language Development ~ Sensory bins increase language development by experiencing all there is to see and do with their hands, which leads to great conversations and opportunities to model language.

Understanding 5 Senses ~ Many sensory play bins include a few senses! The five senses are touch, sight, sound, taste, and smell. Children can experience several at a time with a sensory bin.

How To Make Colored Salt


  • Epsom salt or other salt
  • Vinegar
  • Food Coloring
  • Fun sensory bin items like sea creatures.
  • Scoops and small cups for dumping and filling


STEP 1: Measure 1 Cup of salt into a container.

You can make a bigger quantity of colored salt if desired just adjust the measurements. Or you can do several colors in different containers and mix them together for a rainbow theme! Blue and green colored salt would also make a great theme for ocean and land!

STEP 2: Next add 1 Teaspoon of Vinegar to the salt.

Don’t want to use vinegar? You could add lemon juice instead of vinegar for a fun lemon scented sensory bin.

STEP 3: Now add as much food coloring as desired (deeper color = more food coloring). You could also make several shades of the same color for a fun effect.

STEP 4: Cover the container and SHAKE vigorously for a minute or two. Check to see if the salt is evenly coated!

STEP 5: Spread the salt on paper towel or plate to dry in an even layer.

STEP 6: Transfer the salt to a bin for sensory play.

What will you add? Sea creatures, dinosaurs, unicorns, mini-figures all make great additions to any sensory play activity.

add bin fillers to your colored saltPin

Tips For Dyeing Salt

  1. The salt should be dry in an hour if you stick to the one cup per paper towel. I find the color is distributed the best this way too.
  2. For some sensory bins, I have made graded shades of colored salt for a fun twist. This has also allowed me to experiment with how much food coloring to use per cup of salt to achieve desired shades!
  3. Store your dyed salt in gallon zip lock bags when finished and re-use often!

How To Use Colored Salt

I hope I have inspired you to try our quick and easy method for how to dye salt. It really is simple and provides tons of awesome play for your child. The benefits of sensory play are numerous!

Quick Tip: Set up a salt writing tray for fine motor practice. Kids won’t even realize the important skills they are practicing while they are playing!

More Helpful Ideas For Sensory Bins

Sensory play is an amazing tool for young children. It’s the perfect hands-on play for early learning. Sensory bins are so versatile and easy to use and create. Make sure to check out the resources below for more on sensory bins, and sensory play!

Easy Sensory Play Recipes To Try

Click on the image below or on the link for more fun sensory play recipes for kids. Learn how to make cloud dough, kinetic sand, homemade playdough and more.



  1. I’ve been looking at various sites that show various methods for colouring salt. I’m just wondering about using vinegar? Does it not start to break down the salt?

  2. I am not entirely sure! Would be a great experiment. I know that you can also use lemon juice, so vinegar should work.

  3. Hello. Thank you for all of these awesome ideas!

    Does the Epsom salt tend to dry out kids hands?

    I ask because I would do this in my room at work and would not be able give lotion after the activity (due to allergies & sensitivities).

    Thank you so much!

  4. Hi! I have not tested the epsom salt in this way but it is a possibility. You might want to do a trial run for yourself. Can you use rice instead?

  5. I just made this for my son he is 3 he has a sensory delay and he ablosutely loves it I let him help make it as well so I hope your children like it as much as get does.

  6. I tried this recently and noticed that when handling the sand the food coloring came right off on my hand leaving me with colored hands and uncolored salt. Does the color always come off no matter how long you wait or did I just not give it enough time to dry?

  7. Are talking about sand or salt? We used salt and yes you need to allow for enough dry time.

  8. Hi! I made all three and love them! My son had so much fun 🙂 the only one he hasn’t played with yet is the salt. I’ve had it on paper towel (and changed the towel) for 72 hours and it still puts dye on my fingers. Is there a better way to dry the salt?

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