Homeschooling is so much a part of our every day life, but I realize it’s not something I address on my blog very often. With our oldest child weighing in at the ripe, old age of 16, and our youngest just 6, we definitely have the gammit of ages, grades, maturity levels, abilities and attitudes.
Some days feel like a lifetime, yet other days, the dialogue, discussions and life learning that occurs make those “terrible, horrible, no good” days completely worth it.
This easy to do experiment was on one of those “completely worth it” days, and I can guarantee that any of your children (big and small…yes, even mom) will enjoy seeing this come alive.
So whether you home school or not, this is one of  those cool hands on learning  experiments that doesn’t feel like science, especially not science with basic principles of chemistry mixed in.
how to make crystals from salt_opt
Supplies needed:

  • Wide mouthed jar
  • 3 white pipe cleaners ( I only had yellow)
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Boiling water (have an adult do this part)
  • Spoon
  • Borax (called 20 Mule Team Borax Laundry Booster – the product called Boraxo will NOT work)
  1. Create a snow flake shape from the pipe cleaner (or any shape you desire). (Cut pipe cleaner in half and twist to form shape)
  2. Ideally, use a wide mouth jar large enough to let the snowflake float freely. Honestly, I only had small mason jars and I just “forced” my snowflake in. Even a large cup or tall bowl would work just fine.
  3. Tie a string around the snowflake and tape or tie to pencil at the top of the jar. (Again, I just placed mine in the jar. 🙂 )
  4. Pour boiling water into the container.  Add about 1/4 cup of borax  for every 2 cups of boiling water.  It will be a super saturated solution. Stir until it dissolves.  If all the borax dissolves, continue adding more borax until a bit is left not dissolved.
  5. Let the snowflakes sit overnight. (I did this at home, but I also did multiple snowflakes for a class setting where we wanted to see results in two hours. By adding additional borax, the crystals were already forming very well on the side of the jar and the pipecleaner.)

making rock crystals_opt
It’s just beautiful. There is so much grandeur in those finite little crystals. Get a magnifying glass and just enjoy….there are lots of potential discussions that can come from this one little experiment from chemistry to creation.
borax crystalsThis also makes a wonderful craft .You may add a tints of food coloring and hang in the window for decoration. Look at the light glisten. WE just loved this!
Borax is available at grocery stores in the laundry soap section, such as 20 Mule Team Borax Laundry Booster. It is a chemical, so make sure you supervise if doing this with young children. Then use the rest for your laundry. 🙂 It’s a wonderfully frugal alternative for washing clothes.