This rainbow crystals science fair project idea is a fun and easy science experiment for kids, perfect for home or school (see hints below). Grow your own rainbow crystals with just a few simple ingredients and watch the AMAZING crystals grow overnight.
Who knew that it would be so simple to make rainbow crystals? With just a few simple ingredients and some science exploration, this science experiment for kids is certain to be at the top of their favorites list.
Growing your own crystals is a really cool science activity for kids. There’s not a lot of hands-on experimentation with this science activity, but it’s pretty neat to observe the changes taking place. Plus, you can hang the rainbow crystals in the window like a sun catcher when you are finished.
Who doesn’t love to see a rainbow crystal literally grow right before their eyes?
We love to grow crystals for all the holidays and seasons. Plus, you don’t have to use just pipe cleaners either. We have tried seashells, egg shells, and even evergreen branches! Learn how to grow borax crystals with pipe cleaners too!
One of our favorite types of crystal are these CRYSTAL SEASHELLS. They’re just gorgeous and such a fun science experiment for kids!
GROWING CRYSTALS SCIENCE PROJECT
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!
Love Science? Check out >>> SIMPLE SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS FOR KIDS
- 9 TBL Borax (found with laundry detergent)
- 3 Cups Water
- Jars or vases
- Popsicle sticks
- Pipe cleaners in rainbow colors
PART A: DESIGN A RAINBOW
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 version of a rainbow. Include white pipe cleaners if they want to include clouds.
Note: This is a variation of our original rainbow crystal project which did not have clouds!
Hint: 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 rainbow pipe cleaners in and out easily!
Use a Popsicle stick (or pencil) to tie the string around the pipe cleaners. I used a small piece of tape to keep it in place.
PART B: GROWING CRYSTALS
NOTE: Since you are dealing with hot water, adult assistance is highly suggested!
- Boil the water.
- Measure the Borax into a bowl.
- Measure and pour boiling water into the bowl with the borax powder. Stir the solution.
- It will be very cloudy looking.
- Carefully pour the liquid into a jar (or jars).
- Add a pipe cleaner rainbow to each jar and make sure the rainbow is fully covered by the solution.
- Place the jar/s in a safe place where they won’t be disturbed.
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!
The next day, gently lift out your rainbow crystals and let them dry on paper towels for an hour or so…
GROWING CRYSTALS IN THE CLASSROOM
We made these crystal rainbows in my son’s 2nd-grade classroom. This can be done! We used hot water but not boiling and plastic party cups. The rainbow pipe cleaners 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 the 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 a sturdy or perfectly shaped.
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 away from everything to store the number of cups you have!
HOW DO CRYSTALS FORM
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.
MAKING A 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 rainbow crystals work their magic overnight. We were all impressed by what we saw when we woke up in the morning! Go ahead and hang them in the window like a sun catcher!
MAGICAL RAINBOW CRYSTALS FOR KIDS!
MORE FUN RAINBOW SCIENCE PROJECTS…