Did you know there is an easy and amazing way to use the magic of chemistry to grow crystals?
It takes some patience and adult participation, but you can enjoy this fun process together and create beautiful crystal snowflakes overnight. Little hands can build the growing surface for the crystals to attach to by preparing the pipe cleaners into a snowflake shape, tying a string for hanging, and hanging it in the container. This is a wonderful activity for hand-muscle dexterity! For safety, an adult must prepare the hot Borax solution and pour it into the glass container. Check for crystals to form after a few hours and be sure to strengthen your child’s literacy skills by using new vocabulary words. Crystals are a solid with flat sides and a symmetrical shape. They appear like magic, but there is science behind it; physical changes occur in the supersaturated solution, and as the water evaporates, mineral crystals are formed by the geometric shapes of the Borax molecules building on each other.
• Borax (found with laundry detergent)
• Jar or Vase
• Craft sticks
• String or Ribbon
• White pipe cleaners
1. Make the pipe cleaner snowflakes by cutting the pipe cleaner into four equal lengths. Cross two of the pipe cleaner sections at the middle to form a + sign. Next, cut the other two pipe cleaner pieces in half and twist one onto each arm of the snowflake to make it look more snowflake-like. Play around with different shapes — no two snowflakes look the same!
2. Tie a long piece of string to the middle of the craft stick and tie the loose end of the string to one “arm” of your pipe cleaner snowflake
3. Carefully pour boiling water to the jar, followed by 2/3 of a cup of Borax for every two cups of water. Stir until all Borax has dissolved.
4. Lay the craft stick across the mouth of the jar so that the snowflake completely submerges in the water.
5. Allow jar to sit at least 4 hours while crystals form.
6. Carefully lift the craft stick and remove crystal snowflake. Loop a ribbon for a Christmas tree ornament or hang in window as a sun catcher!