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The weather outside is far from frightful! But playing with snow is so delightful! So decided to create our own snowflakes with this fun winter science experiment.

Related: Winter safety guidelines for sledding

Science for Kids: Grow Crystal Snowflakes

Weekend Science for Kids Project

I've seen a lot of borax snowflakes floating around Pinterest, but the idea of kids and borax kind of freaked me out so I tested out these snowflakes using Epsom salt, and we were happy with our wintery science experiment!

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Grow Crystal Snowflakes Supplies

First you need to gather your supplies. Most of these are regular household items.

  • Pipe cleaners
  • Epsom salt
  • Water
  • Fishing line or string
  • Scissors
  • Small bowls
  • Spoons or other utensils for stirring
  • Pan or plate for observation
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Grow Crystal Snowflakes Supplies

  1. First, create a snowflake out of your pipe cleaners.
  2. Next, mix together your Epsom salt and hot water (not boiling). I found that 1/4 cup water and 1/3 cup Epsom salt worked best for me. I heated my water up in the microwave (don't let it boil) but get it pretty hot. 
  3. Let the kids pour in a mix the Epsom salt until it's dissolved. This takes a lot of stirring.
  4. Place your snowflakes into your bowls and pour the Epsom salt mixture on top covering them. 
  5. Put them in the refrigerator for a few hours undisturbed. Note: We started this in the morning and checked on it after nap time. Our snowflakes sat in the fridge for about 4 hours.
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Picking Materials

We choose white because, well, snow is white. We folded a single pipe cleaner into thirds and cut them. Then with a simple twist in the middle we created a snowflake shape. Trim it to be sure it fits in your small bowls and lays flat. Tie fishing line or string around the middle so you can lift it out of the salt mixture later.

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Making Observations

Once they are "set" you'll see crystals forming. You can lift your snowflake out using the string or fishing line. We used a fork to gently break our snowflake free. This can get kind of messy so make sure you have paper towels on hand to clean up drips.

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Once our snowflakes were free, we placed them in a baking tray to study.

It's so awesome that you can grow the Epsom salt crystals in your fridge in just a few hours and the kids thought it was snow. Please note: Epsom salt isn't poisonous but don't let the kids put it in their mouths non-the-less.

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Finished Product

You can let your snowflakes dry on paper towels and once they are dry you can hang them up in your window or study them again with a magnifying glass.

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Need more ideas on what to do with the kids? Be sure to follow our Activities to Do with the Kids board on Pinterest here.

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