We had made tents, watched movies, read books, made paper snowflakes, and I was  slowly running out of ideas to keep the kids busy during the mad snow storms of January.  I picked up the most recent Family Fun magazine I had lying around in hopes of finding something fantastic.  I came across the crystal clear project from the February issue (pg 40-42) and knew the boys would enjoy it.
Materials: clear container (we used mason jars), white pipe cleaners, string, borax, straws
First create the shape you want with your pipe cleaners.  We chose to do a starburst shape with 3 inch pieces of pipe cleaner, cinched them in the middle, and fanned out the arms.  Next we suspended the shape from a straw with the string making sure the shape was free from touching the bottom or sides of the jar.  Mix together a solution of 3T borax per cup of hot water until the shape is covered completely with the solution.  Let it sit untouched for 6-8 hours and watch it grow.  The kids loved periodically checking up on this chemistry project throughout the day.
When finished, drain the water.  We added a personal touch by covering the lid with fun scrapbook paper and put it on display. Other suggestions would be to put an LED light in the bottom of the jar for a night light or hot-glue an extra canning ring upside down on top of the jar to make a candle holder.  If you use a larger container to grow the crystals you could then remove it for a Christmas tree ornament or just hang in a window to watch glisten.  Oh the possibilities!

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