Crystal Snowflake Ornament Craft
Give your tree or window a little bling with these crystal snowflake decorations.
- A master chemist:You.
- Chemist's assistants:Your kids.
- A beaker:A wide-mouthed mason jar will work fine.
- Glass measuring cup
- White pipe cleaners
- Boiling water
- White string
- Borax:Look for "20 Mule Team Borax Laundry Booster" at your grocery store. (If your grocery store doesn't have it, buy it at Drugstore.com.) Other Borax-like products (like "Boraxo") won't work.
- Food coloring
- Paper towels
- Put the kettle on. Boil enough water to fill the Mason jar (and your tea cup, if you're so inclined). This is a grown-up step, so no kids manning the kettle!
- Have the kids twist the pipe cleaners to make the design of their ornament. For example, three pipe cleaners twisted together in the center will make a six-point star. Two large ones bent and twisted into triangles can be tied together with string to make a Star of David. Let them use their imaginations and decide what shape crystal they want to create.
- Tie one end of a piece of string to the ornament and tie the other end of the string to the pencil. The shape should dangle about three inches off of the pencil. Trim the excess string.
- Carefully pour boiling water into your measuring cup and then into the jar to fill it up. Be sure to keep track of how many cups of water you're adding to the jar. (You should be the only one to handle the boiling water!)
- If your kids want colored crystals, have them add a few drops of food coloring to the water. A few drops of blue and a few drops of green will make a nice ice blue.
- Next, you'll have to create a saturated solution with the water and the Borax flakes. (C'mon, you remember high school chemistry, don't you?). Have your kids carefully pour four tablespoons of Borax for each cup of water in the jar. Stir well. The solution should be murky with undissolved Borax sitting at the bottom of the jar. If there isn't any white stuff at the bottom of the jar, add more Borax until there is.
- Now, get your kid to carefully lower his ornament into the solution. It should be completely submerged in the water. Place the pencil across the top of the jar to keep it from falling in and let the ornament dangle in the solution.
- Put the jar on the counter and leave it until morning. When the kids wake up, there will be real crystals growing on their design!
- Have your kid carefully remove the ornament from the jar and place it on a paper towel to dry.
- Don't be fooled by the rocks that they got—these ornaments look great on the tree or hung in a window.
- Kids got science on the brain? Check GoCityKids for science center exhibits or scientific museum activities near you!