Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Winter Activity Week: Making a Crystal Snowflake and More

My children are captivated by crystals of all kinds--diamonds, quartz, rock salt and ice.  I knew that creating our own sparkling crystals would be a hit with my 7-year-old and 5-year-old girls.  All we needed to do was find out how.  To get started, we consulted this article at About.com which had simple directions for making borax snowflakes with chenille stems.  

Supplies we used:

  • Borax
  • Boiling water
  • Mason jars (wide mouth would be best)
  • Spoons
  • Thread
  • Chenille stems
  • Scissors

What we did:
  1. First we cut and shaped our chenille stems.  I made a snowflake, while my daughter experimented and finally settled on ball shapes.  We tied thread on our shapes so that they could be suspended in the jars.
  2. Next, filled jar about 2/3 full with boiling water.  Then we added several tablespoons of borax, stirring to dissolve it.  We kept adding more borax until the water seemed saturated.  The water took on a yellowish tint.
  3. We tied the thread onto spoons and positioned the chenille snowflake and balls so that they were not touching the sides of the jar or anything else.  They were totally surrounded by the hot borax and water solution.
  4. We left them to crystallize overnight (about 12 hours).  Crystals had already formed about 3 hours into the process, but by morning, they were quite thick and beautiful.  If fact, I had trouble removing my snowflake from the jar because there were bigger crystals than I anticipated.  We bought a cheap crystal growing kit once before, but doing it ourselves this time was much better!

Want more ideas?
  Come back tomorrow to see our next winter activity idea!  

    Teaching Note:  As I gazed at the beautiful crystals we made and then later saw real snowflakes up close, it reminded me of how their design, order, and beauty relate to a theology of creation.  After reading some articles from various faith perspectives, I plan to discern and share those thoughts that reflect a biblical perspective with my children.

    I found two articles that articulated thoughts on design akin to my own:

    Linking to Anti-Procrastination Tuesday at New Nostalgia


    Erin said...

    This is fantastic! I just saw these on Sunday somewhere else and printed out the instructions. I can't wait to make these with my kids!

    Alycia (Crowley Party) said...

    this is the coolest hing ever! thanks for sharing!

    Jhona O. said...

    We are going to do this this weekend. Thanks for the inspiration:) How fun! I love your crafty ideas and how you explain them so well. Happy winter to you and yours!