As I’m sharing this, George’s middle fingernail is black. I wonder if I had known this strategy when he smashed his finger, if it would have alleviated the pain and color of his finger. Reader Krystina has found a way for little kids, and even toddlers, to want to sit and soak their finger.
A while back, my son smashed his finger pretty badly. His finger was swollen and the nail was lifting off, collecting bits of dirt and fluff. He needed an Epsom salt soak before bed to bring down the swelling and draw out the trapped junk, but he naturally had no interest in sitting still with his hand in warm water for more than two seconds… It was time to get creative.
I mixed the Epsom salt with liquid watercolors and a couple drops of lavender essential oil, then dried them out. On a towel, I laid out a small, heavy container of warm water and the bowl of colorful Epsom salt with a spoon. I let my kiddo have at it.
He was thrilled to be given a real spoon and enjoyed feeling the different textures and temperatures of each bowl. It took him a few minutes to think of combining them, but once he did, he was delighted with the result! He observed the water changing color, felt the salt crystals dissolve in his hands, and of course did quite a bit of splashing.
He played with it for 20 minutes!
It was somewhat messy, but well worth it for all the soaking he got.
His finger was enormously improved and he felt better, having been distracted from the pain.
Materials for an Epsom Salt Soak:
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How to make an Epsom Salt Soak:
Mix 1 cup Epsom salt with 2 TBSP liquid water color (more or less depending on desired color) and one or two drops of essential oil.
Let it dry overnight or use a blow-dryer for speedier results.
Epsom salt is great for drawing out splinters, too.
Epsom salt is a laxative, and paint isn’t the most nutritious, so it’s probably not a good idea to let your child drink their experiment.
Here’s a list of sensory ideas that are alright if your child nibbles a bit. They’re taste-proof.
This could easily be adapted for older children to learn about mixing colors. Make several batches of Epsom salt in different colors and provide more bowls of water to try out different combinations.