The Kissing Hand DIY Salt Dough Charm

We’re back for another installment of the Preschool Book Club!  Last time around, we created crafts and activities for some of our favorite books.  This fall we’re joining the same fabulous bloggers to create crafts, activities, recipes, and learning experiences for top books for the preschool age-range. 
We are so excited to kick off this series with our first book, “The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn.  We’ve read this book each year before Big Sister heads off to school, so this book is a meaningful one to us.  This year, this Aunt has three little ones heading off to school.  The transition can be difficult even for the most confident child.  (And the mamas and papas too!)  We decided to make a DIY salt dough charm that can go off to school with your little student and remind them all day long of their mama’s love for them!

The Kissing Hand Craft for Kids

Make a salt dough keychain for back-to-school anxieties. This DIY charm craft goes along with the book "The Kissing Hand".

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Salt Dough Recipe

Who doesn’t love the book, The Kissing Hand
by Audrey Penn?  We read the book before we started our salt dough heart charms.
We started by making up a batch of our standard salt dough.  Have you ever made salt dough? It’s the perfect dough for crafts and imagination play.   We mixed 1 cup of salt, 1 cup of flour, and 1/2 cup water.  This was mixed in a bowl to begin with, but it was much easier to just plop the whole lump onto a baking mat and knead the dough until smooth.   
Mixing that salt dough is a GREAT fine motor activity for strengthening little hands!
I had lots of helpers willing to roll, knead, and pound our salt dough into a smooth consistency.
The next step in making your salt dough charms is to roll a thin sheet of dough with a rolling pin.  Big Sister (age 6) did this part for me with direction.  You’ll want the dough to be pretty thin, since the size of your heart charm will be so small.

DIY Mini-heart cookie cutter 

Now to cut your heart charm, you may have a mini heart cookie cutter, but I couldn’t fine mine
don’t…so we made our own! We needed the perfect sized cutter for our heart charms.  Start with a thin strip of cardstock and a bit of tape.  Fold the cardstock into a point and curve the tops in.  Tape the point together and then across the bumps of the top of the heart.  Mini-heart cookie cutter is done!

Cut out those mini hearts.
 These hearts are ready to be glitter-ified!

I poured a pile of red glitter that we received from onto a plate. 

Big Sister helped me to pat, sprinkle, and dab the glitter onto the dough.  Pat a bit of water onto the dough first to get the glitter to really stick well.

Put the glittery hearts onto a piece of aluminum foil.  Put into a preheated oven for 1-2 hours at 225 degree F.  Don’t forget to poke a hole in the hearts for the charms.  We used a bamboo skewer to poke a hole in one side of the heart.  You’ll want to keep an eye on the hearts as they bake.  Salt dough can puff up and brown if it cooks too long.  Because the hearts are so small, they won’t need to cook very long. 

Once the salt dough charms are hardened, I threaded them with some friendship thread that we received from  This was a tricky job that was a little too fine for the kids.  Older children could help with this job, though.
Once the hearts were threaded onto the string, I had a thought about my kids going off to school with their little heart kiss to remember mom by all day long at school.  I pictured a downpour of rain and a soggy, glittery, goop pile hanging from their shoe.  OOPS! Salt dough will deteriorate with exposure to water.  So, how to make these little cuties waterproof???
After a little thought, I came up with clear fingernail polish.  Big Sister helped me paint both sides of the heats with the nail polish. 

We hung the hearts to dry.

A keychain attachment was put through the hole in the heart, and it was ready for a backpack accessory! 

And for those super rainy days as the kids walk to the bus stop, that waterproof coating will help!

If you would rather make a shoe charm for your little student, the friendship thread worked well to tie it right onto the shoe. 
Good luck to all of the students heading off to school this fall.  And best of luck with big hugs to the mamas and papas who have to watch their babies grow up!

Stop by and see the other The Kissing Hand activities in the Preschool Book Club series:

Buggy and Buddy Pop-Up Kissing Hand Card
Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails The Kissing Hand Love Tokens

Homegrown Friends Felt Love Hearts
Meri Cherry Temporary Kissing Hand Tattoos


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