Can You Make a Crystal Candy Cane? (Christmas Science Project)

Crystal Candycane Experiment

Make this festive season more fun and affordable with our simple, easy and fun-filled crystal candy canes science experiment. Crystal Candy Canes!! Yes, which science is more fun than crystal science for kids! Agreed!?

Earlier, my kids enjoyed making Borax Crystal Flowers, so I wanted to extend the activity a bit more.   

Crystal Candycane Experiment

Making crystal candy canes at home is easier than you might think. We are approaching Christmas and I know that Christmas decors are expensive during festive season. Why don’t you try or make your own crystal candy canes at home. As I told you, you can use crystal candy canes for decorating the Christmas tree during Christmas. Crystal candy canes also make an awesome crystal ornament. Sounds interesting right!!

Make your own Crystal Candy Canes at Home

Your kids will love this fun science Christmas STEM activity and they won’t even realize that they are learning some science. It is that easy and fun for kids. Let us list out the supplies we require for the activity.

what we need

Suitable For
Young kids in the age of 5-6 years may not understand the simple science behind it but still they enjoy the amazing results. Kids above 7 years are perfect for better understanding this activity.

Preparations
Add and mix borax to boiling water

1) Take two glass cups and be sure to keep them clean and neat. Any other chemicals in the glass can possibly flop your activity.

2) Find some private space to keep the set up safe and secure overnight or 12 hours.

3) Keep in mind that you always use boiling water for the experiment. Cold water cannot give you successful results.

4) Be careful while using borax since it is not safe to touch frequently. Ask your kids to wear safety gloves and glasses to avoid unnecessary risks.

Instructions to grow Crystal Candy Canes

Growing crystal candy canes at home is a great way to combine easy science experiments for kids along with a lot of Christmas fun. Kids can easily arrange the set up and gather the supplies in no time. We used pipe cleaners to grow crystal candy canes because we can bend pipe cleaners into any shape and easy to mould. Let us dig in…

Step-1 Make candy canes
join two pipe cleaner

  • My two girls are happy to twist the pipe cleaners into candy canes. Take two pipe cleaners of red and white colors (red and white suits well for the Christmas season) and ask your kids to fold them in half and twist into candy canes shape. We also tried the blue and white combination.
  • Tie a length of fish wire or string to the free end of the candy canes. Make sure you take the enough length of fish wore or string in order to immerse the candy cane completely into the glass jar and not touching the bottom. It is suggested to tie the free end of the fish wire to a pencil or craft stick so that we can rest our candy cane safely on the top of the jar.
  • Making Candycanes

Step-2 Preparing the suspension

  • This is the step that require extra care along with your attention as we are going to deal with the stove and hot things. Lit the stove on and boil the water. Pour off the boiling hot water in to the glass cup almost up to the top.
  • Now add a spoonful of borax powder into the glass jar and stir the boiling water until all the borax has dissolved. Continue stirring every time you add a spoonful of borax.
  • Three table spoons of borax for one cup of hot water is the ideal measurement for making a good borax suspension.

Step-3 Dropping the candy canes
candycane in borax water

  • Now my super girls dropped the candy canes into the glass jars carefully. It is very important to keep in mind that the candy canes or pipe cleaners do not touch the sides or bottom of the glass jar.

Step-4 Let it settle

  • Here you need little patience to see the wonderful crystals formation on the candy canes. Let the borax suspension sit or settle for 12 hours or overnight. If your kids can wait, then leave the set up for 3-4 days to see how big the crystals can be formed.
  • After about 12-24 hours or overnight, you can see amazing crystals formation on the candy canes. You can remove the candy canes from the jar once the crystal formation is finished.
  • Place the crystal candy canes on the dry towels and let dry completely. You can even wash the crystal candy canes under cold water. Now the crystal candy canes are ready in your hand to hang up for decorations.

Candycanes Experiment For Kids

Fun Science Fact

When the borax is mixed with enough amount of hot water, there forms a suspension called super saturated borax suspension. Here the borax acts as a solute and the water as solvent. Usually, any solute molecule gets dissolved in the solvent molecule due to the attraction between the solute and water ions.

Temperature plays an important role during the solute molecules dissolving in the solvent. Hot water holds more solute molecules than the cold water. There is a simple logic here. Let me explain you in detail.

Under right conditions of high heat water molecules repel each other and move farther apart providing more space for the borax molecules to dissolve. When the water gets cool, the water molecules move closer again and provides very less space for the borax molecules to dissolve. The extra borax molecules that cannot be dissolved in the cold water starts getting attached to the pipe cleaners or candy canes in the form of crystals. Also the separated borax molecules from the water gets settle down at the bottom of the glass jar. Kids can observe what’s going on in the jar clearly through the transparent sides.

If you want to clean the borax crystals formed at the bottom of the jar, just pour some hot water in the jar and re dissolve the extra borax and then pour it off in the sink.

Tip

You can grow large size of the crystals by following only two things:

1) A structure or armature on which the crystals are allowed to grow

2) Controlling the cooling rate of the supersaturated solution (crystal growing solution)
Crystal Candy Canes For Christmas

Wrapping up

I was so happy to see our homemade and beautiful crystal candy canes on our homemade Christmas tree. My kids loved to see sparkling crystals especially during nights as they reflect little lights from the tree. It was so beautiful to watch. The finished beautiful crystals make a great holiday ornament.

I suggest and encourage you all to try this activity with your kids. Ask your kids to try with different shapes. If your children are interested, ask them to observe the changes happening during and after the activity what has changed a day before and a day after. Try anything into adventure and start creating, crafting, and learning together! Happy experiment!! 

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