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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Crystals

It has been quite a Winter, but the children have embraced it to it's fullest,even the bitter cold.  In fact, the cold has inspired several crystal projects.  One morning it was so bitterly cold that when I went to clean the windshield of the car, the whole window filled with splintered ice crystals.  It was wonderful, and my daughter who was watching expressed that it would be a beautiful painting.  Taking her lead, we began to find a way to explore making crystals on paintings.


Our first version of Crystal Paintings was to try and make crystal like formations similar to the crystal effect we saw on the windshield.  We used watercolor paintings that the children had made on another day.  They added a new layer of watercolors to the old, and then they placed plastic wrap on top and began to crinkle and scrunch the new layer of paint.



Once the children felt they were done scrunching, the paintings were left to dry.
When they took the plastic wrap off their paintings, these wonderful fractal shapes were left on the paper.  They reminded me of the patterns you sometimes see from the layers of frozen ice on a lake.




 After our first experiment with crystal painting, I did an internet search on Crystal Painting and found a great blog that featured a recipe you could use to make crystal paint.   Here is the link if you would like to check it out:

The paint recipe is simple, and the results were spectacular as you can see below.

Epsom Salt 
(we used lavender scented which made the room smell great)
Table Salt
Water
Liquid Watercolors
Watercolor Paper

They first wanted to smell the lavender Epsom salts that were set out.
Each child had a cupcake tin, a small container of table salt and a larger container of Epsom salt.
They measured a half tablespoon of Epsom salts, 1/2 tablespoon of water using the measuring tool on the side of their pipettes, and 1/8 teaspoon of table salt to each cupcake slot.

They then added liquid watercolors to their mixtures, and stirred them until most of the salt was dissolved. Then is was painting time.



We let the paint dry overnight and the results were beautiful!









 


The children also examined the geodes that we have in the classroom.  I loved watching as they looked at the patterns and the crystals.









They also explored making crystal gardens using epsom salts, water, and food coloring.  The kids put the mixture in dollar store champagne glasses.


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