Make a bouquet of crystal flowers this Spring or for Mother’s Day! This crystal flowers science experiment is easy and fun to do at home or in the classroom. We have enjoyed growing borax crystals for numerous holidays and themes. These pipe cleaner flowers are perfect to add to your spring science activities. Growing crystals is awesome science for kids!
HOW TO MAKE BORAX CRYSTAL FLOWERS
These fun crystal flowers are so pretty to make for spring science! Growing borax crystals is definitely a classic science experiment that you must try with your kids! Make something fun with a flower theme this spring. We have lots of fun Mother’s Day gifts kids can make for you to try! Let’s learn how to make borax crystals using pipe cleaners as the base. Just a few simple ingredients and you can grow your own crystals easily.
A FEW FAVORITE BORAX CRYSTALS ACTIVITIES…
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CRYSTAL FLOWERS SCIENCE EXPERIMENT
It is fun to observe chemical reactions for kids! Since you are dealing with hot water, my son watched the process while I measured the solution and stirred. Borax is also a chemical powder and is best used by an adult for safety. An older child might be able to help a little more!
- Borax Powder (laundry detergent aisle of the grocery store)
- Jars or vases (glass jars are preferred over plastic cups)
- Popsicle sticks
- String and tape
- Pipe cleaners
STEP 1. To get started with your crystal flowers, take your pipe cleaners and form flowers! Let’s flex those STEAM skills. STEM plus Art = STEAM!
Give the kids a handful of colorful pipe cleaners and let them come up with their own cool twisty pipe cleaner flowers. Make sure to have extra green pipe cleaners on hand for stems.
STEP 2. Double-check the opening of the jar with the size of your shape! It’s easy to push the pipe cleaner in to start but difficult to pull it out once all the crystals have formed! Make sure you can get your flower or bouquet in and out easily. Also, make sure it is not resting on the bottom of the jar.
Use the popsicle stick (or pencil) to tie the string around. I used a small piece of tape to keep it in place.
STEP 3: Make your borax solution. The ratio of borax powder to boiling water is 1:1. You want to dissolve one tablespoon of borax powder for each cup of boiling water. This will make a saturated solution which is a great chemistry concept.
Since you need to use boiling hot water, adult supervision and assistance is highly recommended.
STEP 4: Time to add the flowers. Make sure the bouquet is fully submerged.
STEP 5: Shhhh… The crystals are growing!
You want to set the jars in a quiet place where they won’t be disturbed. No tugging on the string, stirring the solution, or moving the jar around! They need to sit still to work their magic.
After a couple of hours, you will see some changes. Later on that night, you will see more crystals growing. You want to leave the solution alone for 24 hours.
Make sure to keep checking to see the stage of growth the crystals are in. This is a great opportunity for making observations.
STEP 6: The next day, gently lift out your crystal flowers and let them dry on paper towels for an hour or so…
GROWING CRYSTALS IN THE CLASSROOM
We made these crystal hearts in my son’s 2nd-grade classroom. This can be done! We used hot water but not boiling from a coffee urn with a spout and plastic, clear party cups. The hearts either needed to be smaller or fatter to fit in the cup.
Plastic cups are generally not recommended for growing the best crystals but the kids still were fascinated by crystal growth. When you use plastic cups, the saturated solution can cool too quickly leaving impurities to form in the crystals. The crystals will not be as sturdy or perfectly shaped. If you can use glass jars, you will have better results.
Also, you need to make sure the kids really don’t touch the cups once they have gotten everything together! The crystals need to remain very still to form properly. Once set up, I recommend making sure you have space set up away from everything to fit the number of cups you have!
THE SCIENCE OF GROWING CRYSTALS
Crystal growing is a neat chemistry project that is a quick set up involving liquids, solids, and soluble solutions. Because there are still solid particles within the liquid mixture, if left untouched, the particles will settle to form crystals.
Water is made up of molecules. When you boil the water, the molecules move away from one another. When you freeze water, they move closer to one another. Boiling hot water allows for more borax powder to dissolve to create the desired saturated solution.
You are making a saturated solution with more powder than the liquid can hold. The hotter the liquid, the more saturated the solution can become. This is because the molecules in the water move farther apart allowing more of the powder to be dissolved. If the water is colder, the molecules in it will be closer together.
As the solution cools down there is all of a sudden going to be more particles in the water as the molecules move back together. Some of these particles will start to fall out of the suspended state they were once in, and the particles will start to settle on the pipe cleaners as well as the container and form crystals. Once a tiny seed crystal is started, more of the falling material bonds with it to form bigger crystals.
Crystals are solid with flat sides and symmetrical shape and will always be that way (unless impurities get in the way). They are made up of molecules and have a perfectly arranged and repeating pattern. Some might be bigger or smaller though.
Let your crystal flowers work their magic overnight. We were all impressed by what we saw when we woke up in the morning! We had quite the pretty crystal flowers science experiment!
Go ahead and hang them in the window like a suncatcher!
MORE FUN FLOWER SCIENCE ACTIVITIES
MAKE CRYSTAL FLOWERS WITH PIPE CLEANERS!
Click on the image below or on the link for more awesome spring activities for preschoolers.