Growing crystals in your home is a very fun science experiment for kids. Learn how you can grow your own crystal rainbows with this neat project!
Hands-on learning is a GREAT way for many children to learn. When kids can SEE and DO, rather than just hear, they tend to be more attentive and enjoy the lesson.
When you homeschool, you have to make sure you are including plenty of fun activities and experiments for your children. They don’t want to spend every day just doing worksheets or typing in the computer.
Luckily, we have easy science experiments like growing crystals in our home! These Rainbow Crystals are an exciting way to teach chemistry at a basic level. This project can be done with kids of all ages. If using in homeschool, I would recommend you incorporating it in grades 2-5.
We have made Crystal Crosses before too – be sure to check them out!
Growing Crystals into Beautiful Rainbows
- 4 cups water
- ½ cup Borax detergent booster
- Chenille stems in red, yellow, orange, green, blue, and purple for each crystal
- Deep, wide mouth jar or glass
- Thread or thin string
- Popsicle sticks
Twist the pipe cleaners together on one end, creating the color sequence of a rainbow. Bend the chenille stems slightly to form the curved shape of a rainbow.
Place borax powder in the wide mouth jar.
In a medium stock pot, bring the water to a boil. Slowly pour the water into the jar. Pour slowly to allow the jar temperature to adjust so it does not crack. Stir the mixture until all of the borax powder is dissolved.
Attach a string to your pipe cleaners. Carefully drop the pipe cleaner bundle into the borax solution. Attach the string to a popsicle stick or clothespin, so that the bundle hangs in the middle of the jar without touching the edges or bottom.
The process of growing crystals occurs as the mixture cools. Crystals will form on the pipe cleaners in as little as two hours. To really grow the crystals, it’s best to let the jar sit for at least 24 hours.
Remove your crystal rainbow from the jar and allow to dry completely.
Cut the string from the rainbow, or use it to hang your crystal rainbow!
How Do You Grow your own Crystals?
Let’s talk about the science behind these crystal rainbows…
The borax powder and water make a saturated solution by the water dissolving the borax.
Water dissolves more powder when hot because the molecules in the water are further apart, so the liquid can absorb more powder. This is why the boiling water helps in growing crystals in our experiment.
As the water cools in the jar, the molecules in the water move back closer together. This causes the borax powder particles to settle on the pipe cleaners in a solid form. As more and more of the particles build up on the pipe cleaners, the more crystals are formed.