Borax Snowflake Crystals

 

Borax Snowflake Crystal making is a fun STEAM activity for children of all ages. Remember STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math! These snowflake crystals are also great if you live in a warmer climate that doesn't see much real snow or if you just want to make some fun decorations! 

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Everyone knows that no two snowflakes are alike. We got to explore snow with our first snow storm of the year a few weeks ago. After looking at real snowflakes under the microscope, we read up on snowflakes with books like Snowflake Bentley and The Story of Snow. But our snow melted quickly. So, we decided to make our own "Snow Crystals"....or at least these really wonderful Borax Snowflake Crystals!

Borax Snowflake Crystals

To make Borax Snowflake Crystals you'll need...

  1. Borax
  2. Pipe Cleaners
  3. Glass Jars
  4. Popsicle Sticks or Pencils
  5. Water
  6. Scissors
  7. String

Step 1: Make you Snowflakes shapes out of the pipe cleaners. Remember; do not make your snowflakes larger than the mouth of your jar. You can get as creative as you want creating your snowflakes! *To start, our daughter wanted a pink snowflake and our son wanted a blue one! We cut our pipe cleaner into two pieces and twisted those two pieces together. Then we cut another piece the same length as the first two and twisted it on to create our six legged snowflake. The children then cut even smaller pieces and proceeded to wrap those around each end.* 

Step 2:  We used string to tie our snowflakes to the Popsicle sticks.  It took a little practice and adjustment to make sure they would be fully submerged but not touch the bottom of our jars.

Step 3: The children mixed the borax with boiling water. I boiled the water for them and poured it into the jars for them, leaving a few inches of space from the top. They stirred and added borax until the water stopped clearing and remained slightly cloudy.

Step 4: The children submerged their snowflake pipe cleaners into the Mason jar solutions. *Double check to make sure the snowflake doesn't touch the bottom or the sides of the jar. If it does, the crystals will form where it touches and you will not be able to get them out!* Adjust your string as needed.

Step 5: Set your jars where they will not be disturbed and wait for the crystals to grow. This may take anywhere from a few hours to several days depending on the amount of borax in the water. Our crystals were fully formed within a few hours and the children were thrilled! They were actually growing a bit too fast and it's a good thing I took them out when I did! They were beginning to attach to the side of the jars! *If you have crystals attaching to the inside of your jar you can either soak your jars in boiling water to dissolve the crystals or you can reuse your solution and make more crystal snowflakes! Just reheat your solution and repeat the steps!

About Borax

  • Borax is typically used in detergents. 
  • Borax is a salt also known as sodium borate.
  • The snowflake crystals they made are salt crystals.
  • You wont find these types of crystals in museums because the salt sweats and will dissolve or crumble into a fine powder over time.
  • If taken care of and kept in a fairly dry environment our borax snowflake crystals should last for several years.

The children enjoyed their borax snowflake making activity plus they learned about borax and the science of snowflakes in the process! Whether you're buried under a snow drift or are enjoying a warmer climate, this is still a fun packed activity with loads of educational opportunities and rabbit holes of learning to follow. Give it a try and see just how fun Borax Snowflake Crystals can be!