Advent Week 1 Activity :: Growing Crystals

A fun activity to learn about crystals as part of Advent Week 1 :: The Light of Stones and the whole Tiny Advent series. I love how this activity mirrors the anticipation of Advent. How the children carefully prepare, and then wait, and watch for transformation and beauty.


  • wide mouth canning jar
  • string
  • pipe cleaners (we used white this time, but later this week, we’ll try other colours)
  • pencil
  • borax, salt, or sugar
  • boiling water
  • food colouring, if desired

growing crystals supplies2


1. Make a shape out of the pipe cleaner – this could be a snowflake shape, a star, a cross, or whatever your child would like.
crystals - cuttingcrystals -make a shapecrystals - cut pipe cleaners

2. Tie the shape onto one end of the string, and tie the other end of the string around the pencilcrystals - snowflake

3. Pour 1 – 1.5 cups of boiling water into the jar, and stir in food colouring, if using (we tried to make ours yellow, but we only had a few drops of colour left).

4. Add 1 tablespoon of borax (or salt or sugar) at a time and stir to dissolve, until you have added 3-4 tablespoons. Update: Though our experiment worked okay with this amount, others have mentioned that it wasn’t as good for them. I have done a bit more research and have read up to 2/3 cup of salt or borax per cup of water. Experiment away, friends!

crystals - borax

5. Lower the pipe cleaner shape into the jar of solution, taking care to ensure it isn’t touching the sides or bottom of the jar.

crystals - lower in snowflakescrystals - now we wait

6. Set the jar aside and set a timer to check on it now and then so you can watch the process of the crystals forming.crystals - now we wait 2crystals - and we watch

7. Once your crystals are big enough, remove the string and shape from the jar, dry, and hang in a window to catch the light. I couldn’t get a decent photo in the window, but they are hanging there now as per Milo’s specific instructions regarding which window, and how high they should hang!

branch crystals


This post was shared as a part of Simple Lives ThursdaySimply Natural Saturdays, and Montessori Mondays.


    1. Oh, I love making slime. Has she tried the stuff made of corn starch that is solid when you just poke at it or grip it in your hand, but when you let it go, it turns liquid. So much fun.

      Going to check out your slime post – I briefly saw the photo today!

  1. Looking forward to making these! Such a beautiful idea and perfect for little wondering hearts. The magic is all over this!

    1. Ooo – have fun! I really want to pick up some more natural food colouring for this. Though, maybe we can use something from around the house – turmeric, blueberries, etc.

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