Salt Crystal Leaves Experiment

Salt Crystal Leaves

Have some fall-themed fun this month with an experiment from Little Bins for Little Hands! The outside leaves are changing, and so are these paper leaves! This “kitchen science” experiment is great to do at home or in a classroom. At the end of the experiment, your little ones will have unique autumn decorations to show off. Read on to get started and contact SciGenius today to learn more about the STEAM educational programs we can bring to your area!


What You Need

  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Salt
  • Pot
  • Plate or pan


The Process

1. Cut out leaf shapes from paper

Free hand your designs or use a cookie cutter! You can also trace leaves you find outside to create an experiment that is also an art project and nature walk. If you want a fun ornament, punch holes in the tip of your paper leaf before you crystalize it!


2. Boil one cup of water and add salt

You will need enough salt to oversaturate the mixture — you can stop when crystals start forming on the surface of the water.

Alternatively, you can use the microwave to heat your water and add salt afterwards. You can heat one cup of water for two minutes and then stir in one tablespoon of salt at a time. You’ll probably use about three tablespoons of salt.


3. Put leaves on plate with space between each one

You may want to move your plate or tray to a quiet, low-traffic location before you pour your mixture on top. That way you can be more careful and avoid bumps and spills as the crystals are forming.


4. Pour the salt water solution over the leaves and wait

Let your salt crystal leaves sit until the water evaporates. You and your little ones can examine the leaves over time and check out the crystal growth!


5. Examine your salt crystals!

Make sure to leave out a magnifying glass for your kids to see the crystals up-close!


The Science

If this experiment seems familiar, it’s because we’re using the same science tricks that we used to make our rock candy in a past experiment! It all comes down to a supersaturated solution!

A supersaturated solution is a mixture that can’t hold any more particles. Water molecules are close together in cold water, but when you heat the water up, the molecules spread away from each other. This is what allows you to add more salt to get that super saturated solution. When we have filled all the space in the water with salt, it may even appear cloudy.


Extra Experiments

Try this experiment with cold water to compare the differences, and examine the results of the crystals afterwards.

Don’t forget to show SciGenius the results of your experiment on social media! Find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and explore our site to learn more about the STEAM programs we offer to kids throughout Virginia.

SciGenius is dedicated to sharing science and the arts through in-school enrichment, after-school programs, and other special events. Our team of qualified educators and a high ratio of teachers to students ensures that your child has the best possible experience. From robotics for kids to photoshop and animation, we offer ways for your kids to learn, grow, and gain the skills they need to succeed in school and beyond. Learn more about our programs today and contact us to learn how you can bring STEAM to your community!

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