Our quick and easy Valentine STEM activity is great for kids who love to try science at home. February has been a creative month for us with the kids learning from home and we’ve set up a lot of STEM experiments at home for fun. This month we’ve experimented with dissolving Love Hearts and made tangram hearts. We love science at home and growing your own crystals is a fun way to explore STEM subjects.
Epsom Salt pipe cleaner hearts equipment
All you will need to try this at home is a bag of Epsom Salt (I bought mine from my local pharmacy), colourful pipe cleaners, a plastic container, warm water, heart-shaped cookie cutter and a craft stick. Red food colouring is optional.
Make Epsom Salt pipe cleaner hearts
The first thing to do is bend your pipe cleaners around a metal heart-shaped cookie cutters. You can easily do this step by hand if you don’t have a cookie cutter.
Carefully slide the pipe cleaner from the cookie cutter. Attach one end of the pipe cleaner heart around a craft stick with some sellotape.
Then you are ready to start making the Epsom Salt mixture.
Pour one cup of warm water into your container with one cup of Epsom Salt and stir until the Epsom Salt has dissolved fully. Keep adding one cup of warm water to one cup of Epsom Salt until the salt no longer dissolves. You will be able to feel that the bottom of the container is quite gritty with salt.
Carefully place your pipe cleaner into the mixture, balancing the stick over the top of the container and making sure the heart doesn’t touch the bottom or side of your container.
Set to one side where it won’t be disturbed and wait for your crystals to magically grow over night. You can remove the pipe cleaner heart from the liquid and leave to dry on a paper towel. Examine your pipe cleaner crystals with a magnifying glass or microscope.
What is happening?
The salt crystal molecules dissolve into the water. As the water cools down and evaporates the salt molecules form crystals again and cling to the pipe cleaner.