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Christmas Science Experiment: Borax Crystal Snowflakes

christmas science experiment borax crystal snowflakes
HHM Christmas Science Experiment PIN

Even if you take a break from formal homeschooling during the holidays, it’s still easy to help your kids keep learning! How about this fun science project/experiment?

Important Note: At the bottom of this article, you’ll find a Christmas Giveaway! We are happy to be participating in a giveaway of $500 in PayPal cash for TWO families this Christmas! After you read all about how to make Borax crystal snowflakes, we hope you’ll enter the giveaway. 

Have you ever heard of making snowflakes out of Borax and pipe cleaners? If not (or even if you have!), keep reading to find out how. It’s lots of fun, and it’s a great way to spend some time being creative with your kiddos and learning something fun at the same time!

HHM Christmas Science Experiment FB

This Christmas science experiment takes a little while, but it’s worth it to wow your kids with how Borax makes crystals out of pipe cleaner ornaments. It’s a little like how the Word of God makes us more sparkly—if we stick with it!

HHM Borax Crystal Snowflakes Pinnable Image

Materials

Preparation

  1. Shape various Christmas ornaments using pipe cleaners. For example, shape pipe cleaners into a stocking, star, or cross. Note: The shapes must fit into the jars.
  2. Tie a string to the top of the ornament.
  3. Fill jars with hot water.
  4. Add three tablespoons of Borax per cup of water that you added to each jar. Mix it well. (For example, if you use 3 cups of hot water in your jar, you’ll need 9 tablespoons of Borax for that jar.)
  5. Lower the string so that the ornament is completely covered. Then tie the string around the top of the open jar to keep it in place. Note: You’ll want to be sure the ornament isn’t touching the edges of the jar.
  6. Leave the ornaments in the water overnight.
  7. The next day, the Borax will have crystallized in the water and become attached to the pipe cleaner ornaments.

Explanation

Borax is an example of a crystal. Salt, sugar, and Epsom salts are other examples. Hot water molecules move away from each other. When you add Borax, the molecules make room for borax crystals to dissolve. But a point of saturation can be reached, meaning there will be some remaining crystals. As this water cools, the water molecules move closer together again. Crystals begin to form and build around another item in the water, such as the pipe cleaner. This is especially true as the water evaporates.

Discussion

The Borax crystals are a little like God’s Word. We can read the Bible, and it doesn’t seem to make much difference in our lives—not right away. But the Word of God sinks in slowly. We have to have patience. Our walk with the Lord is life-long. Philippians 1:6 says you should be “confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Someday we can be assured of being complete–like beautiful snowflakes–if we read God’s Word regularly. Even though we might look like plain old pipe cleaners while we’re reading at first!

Christmas Giveaway

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2020 has been quite a year! It’s definitely a year we won’t forget! But I’m thankful we’ve made it to the holiday season, and my prayer is that we can take some time for gratitude, togetherness, and celebration. To celebrate the holiday season (and the fact that 2020 is coming to an end!), we’ve teamed up with some of our favorite bloggers for the 7th annual Christmas Blessings Giveaway with hopes of making this holiday season memorable (in a good way) by giving two families $500 in PayPal cash.

While we wish we could bless many more families, we were able to come up with a big prize for TWO families – $500 each (delivered via Paypal) – that we pray will make a big difference in their lives this Christmas season – whether it’s to fulfill their kids’ Christmas wishes, pay off some bills, or to help build some savings, our prayer is that it helps to lessen any financial burden and/or fills a specific need, or simply brightens the winners’ day.

There are lots of entry options in the Rafflecopter form below – the more you enter, the better your chance of winning!  I know it can seem tedious and time consuming to go through all the entries, but isn’t a chance at $500 worth it? I think it is!  Plus, all of these amazing bloggers donated their own money toward the cash prizes, so this giveaway wouldn’t be possible without them.  I hope you’ll take the time to check out each one. Who knows, maybe you will find some new blogs to follow.

The giveaway will run from Monday, November 16th through Wednesday, November 25th (ends at 11:59pm EST). The winner will be notified by email shortly after the giveaway ends and will have 48 hours to respond to claim the prize or another winner will be drawn. You must have a Paypal account to win.  By entering this giveaway, you agree to be added to the email lists of the participating bloggers.  Please be sure to read the Rafflecopter terms and conditions upon entering.

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EASY ART CLASS: Pumpkin Pointillism

easy art class pumpkin pointillism
Art Lesson in Primary Colors on pointillism. Children will explore color by using the pointillism technique to achieve secondary colors using only primary ones.
Pin EASY ART CLASS Pumpkin Pointillism 4
Art Lesson in Primary Colors on pointillism. Children will explore color by using the pointillism technique to achieve secondary colors using only primary ones.
Art Lesson in Primary Colors on pointillism. Children will explore color by using the pointillism technique to achieve secondary colors using only primary ones.
Art Lesson in Primary Colors on pointillism. Children will explore color by using the pointillism technique to achieve secondary colors using only primary ones.
pumpkin pointillism pin 1

How do you make a pumpkin still life using only red, yellow and blue paint? Pumpkin Pointillism, that’s how! (Just think how impressed your children will be to solve this riddle.) It’s an art lesson in primary colors. In doing this lesson, your children will gain an understanding of the primary and secondary colors, not just because they were told about them, but because they used them.

pumpkin pointillism fb

What you will need for this pumpkin project:

  1. a pumpkin and some grapes (or any purple fruit- in my example I used cabbage) as the objects for your still life
  2. red, blue, and yellow tempera paint and a paper plate palate
  3. 8 1/2 x 11 white card stock or  multimedia paper
  4. Q-tips
  5. a pencil

Pumpkin Pointillism Tutorial | Hip Homeschool MomsFollow this simple Pumpkin Pointillism Tutorial.

First introduce the primary colors: red, yellow, and blue, and explain how they make the secondary colors when mixed. But stress that we won’t be mixing the colors to get the color we want. This is the trick to this project. There will be no mixing, only overlapping the colors to get the effect and shades you desire. (Any mixing that occurs happens on the paper by overlapping your dots.)

Next discuss pointillism, a technique in which dots are used to create an image. You may want to introduce the artist Georges Seurat before beginning. He perfected the technique and had many interesting theories about color and how to use them. His most famous work was A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte.

Follow these easy steps for a fail-proof project:

  1. Begin by sketching the pumpkin and grapes (or other purple fruit) very lightly. Keep it light and just a sketch so that your paint will cover it.
  2. Next, paint the green stem of your pumpkin. Be sure your child begins with the lightest color (yellow). Since our stem is green, we first paint yellow dots and then (on top of the yellow dots) add blue dots. Discourage your child from making lines with the Q tip. Instead, encourage him or her to paint by using the Q tip to make dots of paint (since we’re studying pointillism). Suggest making a line by placing dots close together one after another. If you accidentally add too much blue, simply add yellow on top of the blue until you reach the desired color of green.  If you’ve used too much yellow, simply add more blue on top of the yellow so that you get a green effect. As long as your child is making only dots, the project will remain a pointillism technique.
  3. Now work on the pumpkin using yellow and then red to create the secondary color orange.
  4. Finally do the same with blue and red to paint your purple fruit.

This project emphasizes technique and color. There should be less focus on creating a perfect image of the pumpkin. Keep the project fun and stress free with success being measured by obtaining the color desired. For older children, more emphasis can be given to placement of the dots to achieve line, contour, and desired shading. For older children, using a smaller tool for the dots may also be in order.

Pumpkin Pointillism | Hip Homeschool Moms

Do this Pumpkin Pointillism Project as part of a Pumpkin Unit Study.

I hope that you will find these books, lessons, recipes, and resources helpful for putting together a perfect unit study for pumpkins.

Adapt this pointillism lesson for another season or project.

You can use this project for any season or subject! The key is using the primary colors; red, blue, and yellow, to make to a painting of something that is solely the secondary colors; orange, green, and purple. This makes the project best for the fall and harvest season, but you are definitely not limited to it. If you solely want to focus on teaching about pointillism, then any object and colors will do! You can make winter snowflakes, Easter eggs, or summer ice cream cones! (For paintings on dark colored paper, experiment to see if the colored paper changes the outcome.)

Go deeper.

Are you loving this lesson on pointillism? Want to go deeper? Here is a series of videos about this style of painting that might spark some great discussion about pointillism and maybe even some beautifully detailed artwork!

Part 2:
Part 3:
Part 4:
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