STEM Crystal Snowflakes Activity and Winter Book List

As snowflakes start to fall outside, what better time to bring the fun inside and make your own snowflakes! These crystal snowflakes are a great hands-on way to learn about science, art, and so much more. Not only are they a fun experiment but they also make great decorations or holiday gifts.

We have included instructions to create both crystal snowflakes and beaded snowflakes, depending on the ages of the children you're working with. We love the idea of pairing these activities with a read aloud from the winter-themed book list below. You can also shop for all these titles and view other curated and diverse book lists at our Bookshop page.


Winter Book List:

Ten Ways to Hear Snow by Cathy Camper, illustrated by Kenard Pak

A Winter Walk in the City by Cathy Goldberg Fishman, illustrated by Melanie Hall

A Sled for Gabo by Emma Otheguy, illustrated by Ana Ramirez Gonzalez

Words to Make a Friend by Donna Jo Napoli, illustrated by Naoko Stoop

We Want Snow! A Wintry Chant by Jamie A. Swenson, illustrated by Emilie Boon

I Like the Snow by Sarah Nelson, illustrated by Rachel Oldfield

A Day So Gray by Marie Lamba, illustrated by Alea Marley

Snow Globes Wishes by Erin Dealy, illustrated by Claire Shorrock

My Footprints by Bao Phi, illustrated by Basia Tran

Winter Sleep by Sean Taylor and Alex Morss, illustrated by Cinyee Chiu

Snow Song by A.K. Riley, illustrated by Dawn Lo

Friends are Friends, Forever by Dane Liu, illustrated by Lynn Scurfield (publishing Jan. 4 2022)

Fox: a Circle of Life Story by Isabel Thomas, illustrated by Daniel Egneus

Sneezy the Snowman by Maureen Wright, illustrated by Stephen Gilpin

A Loud Winter’s Nap by Katy Hudson


Crystal Snowflakes Activity


Supplies Needed:

  • Borax

  • Glass containers

  • Pencils or popsicle sticks

  • Boiling water

  • String

  • Pipe cleaners

  • A spoon

  • Scissors

Step 1: Shape Pipe Cleaners Into Snowflake


Begin by cutting a pipe cleaner into fourths. Take three of the pieces and place them together at their centers. Twist all three pieces together and even out the sides so you have what looks like a 6 sided snowflake.


*If you want your snowflakes to be bigger or smaller, consider cutting the original pipe cleaner into less or more pieces. Just remember that it must be able to fit into the glass container that you have without bending or touching the sides.

Step 2: Add String and Pencil

Once your snowflake is complete, take your string and tie one end around the middle of the snowflake and the other end to your pencil or popsicle stick. The string should be long enough between to have your snowflake hang in the container without touching the bottom when your pencil is resting on the top.

Tip: Measure the length of your string before adding water to your container and adjust as necessary. This is also a good time to check that your snowflake fits through the opening of your container. It should fit easily so that you will be able to remove it once the crystals grow.


Step 3: Make Magic Solution

This step will involve boiling water, so we recommend having an adult on hand to help each kid. For our younger scientists, we recommend our beaded snowflake ornament which does not involve this step.


This solution involves combining 3 tablespoons of borax powder for every cup of boiling water. Know in advance how much water you will need to fill your container.


Place the correct amount of borax powder into your glass container. Fill your container with boiling water. Remember to leave room at the top so that the water does not overflow when you are adding your snowflake. Stir the solution together until all of the borax is dissolved and the liquid is a cloudy color.


Step 4: Add Your Snowflake and Grow Your Crystals

Now is the time to add your snowflake! Place your hanging pipe cleaner snowflake into the borax solution. Make sure that it is hanging in the water without touching the bottom or sides of your glass container.


Leave your experiment in a safe place and let them grow! These crystals grow best when they are not moved or touched. You may see something happening after a few hours and all crystals should have grown after 24 hours.

Step 5: Dry Your Crystal Snowflake

After 24 hours you should see crystals formed on your snowflake. Carefully lift your snowflake out of the container and let it dry on a paper towel. Enjoy your crystal snowflakes!

Other Fun/Extension:

  • Use different color pipe cleaners or make different shapes to see how they turn out!

  • Experiment with the ratio of borax to water to see if it makes a difference in the number or color of crystals that are created

Beaded Snowflakes Activity


Do you have younger kiddos in your life but still want to make a hanging snowflake? Try out this beaded snowflake craft. It is a fun way to keep your younger makers involved without dealing with boiling water or having to wait for crystals to grow. Children working with small objects like beads must always be supervised.

Step 1: Shape Pipe Cleaners Into Snowflake

This step is the same as the crystal snowflakes but cut your pipe cleaners into thirds.


Begin by cutting a pipe cleaner into fourths. Take three of the pieces and place them together at their centers. Twist all three pieces together and even out the sides so you have what looks like a 6 sided snowflake.

*If you want your snowflakes to be bigger or smaller, consider cutting the original pipe cleaner into less or more pieces.


Step 2: Add String

Take your piece of string and loop it around the center of your snowflake and tie it off. This will give you a way to hang your snowflake.


Step 3: Add Beads

Add beads to the six sides. We used clear pony beads to create a more realistic look, but feel free to use any color! This is a fun activity to allow kids to be creative.


To prevent the beads from falling off, curl the end of the pipe cleaner over the end bead.


Other Fun/Extension:

  • This can be a fun project to work on symmetry or pattern making. Challenge kids to see what different creations they can make with differing bead and pipe cleaner colors.


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