No science is more fun than candy cane science. But you don’t have to have candy canes to make these salt crystal candy canes for a super fun candy cane experiment! Making salt crystals is a fun way to explore candy cane science even if you don’t have any in the house! We loved this fun addition to our crystal experiments.
Read on to see how to do the candy cane experiment.
But first, learn a little bit about the science behind salt crystals in the candy cane experiment and grab the crystal STEM extensions to make this science demonstration a crystal science lesson in just a few clicks!
What Are Salt Crystals?
Crystals form geometric shapes. What shape a crystal makes depends on type of molecules and atoms in that material.
Crystals are a type of solid material where molecules connect in a specific, repeating pattern. The pattern causes crystals to form really interesting shapes!
There are seven basic crystal shapes. These shapes are: Cubic, Orthorhombic, Hexagonal, Trigonal, Triclinic, Tetragonal, and Monoclinic.
Candy Cane Experiment Science
Salt crystals form thanks to science!
Learn about the candy cane experiment science below and other fun facts about crystal formation.
How Do Salt Crystals Form?
Salt crystals form in a process called crystallization.
Salt crystals form when liquid evaporates. As the water evaporates, the liquid becomes a supersaturated solution, so the salt can no longer stay dissolved in the liquid. This causes it to clean to other surfaces, like your chenille stems!
What Conditions are Needed for Salt Crystals to Grow?
If you’re making crystals at home, you’re probably using a supersaturated solution or evaporation. Salt crystals grow best in environments that include:
- Air is light and dry
- Temperature is warm
- Substrate is porous
If all of these conditions are met, your candy cane science experiment will be a success.
What Can I Use Instead of Salt to make Crystals?
Salt crystals are popular because they are beautiful and simple to make at home. However, you can make crystals at home without using salt in multiple ways! Here are some other types of crystals you can make at home or in the classroom:
- Borax Crystals Science Project
- Alum crystals
- Crystal rock candy experiment for kids
- Instant ice crystals
- Epsom salt crystals
- Growing Crystals with Bluing and Ammonia
Fun Facts about Crystals!
- Crystallography is the science of studying crystals.
- Some crystals (like many precious gems) are actually made up of a single massive molecule.
- Chameleons, rainbow trout, and mollusks are among the living creatures that can form crystals.
- Bones are actually a type of crystal!
- Crystals are used in a variety of household applications, particularly in the manufacture of electronic devices.
Supplies for Salt Crystal Candy Canes
Gather your materials before making this super-simple experiment!
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links for your convenience at no cost to you.
- Salt (about 1 standard-sized box)
- Pipe cleaners (red and white)
- Mason jars (1 for each candy cane)
We’ve had a lot of success making salt crystals this year. Our most popular salt crystal recipe is our salt crystal feathers, but for our Christmas STEM challenge ideas, this year I knew we should make salt crystal candy canes.
Crystal Science Experiment Lesson Plans
If you can’t get enough of making crystals, you might want to try making these other types of crystals with your students.
The salt crystal lesson plan is available in the Jarring Science Club! We have a four-lesson unit on different types of crystals and how to make them.
Or, if you don’t want access to the 100s of lessons in the Jarring Science Club, you can purchase the crystal science lesson plan bundle here.
And here are some of our individual crystal science experiment lesson plans!
- Bluing Crystals Chemical Changes Lesson Plan
- Epsom Salt Crystal Chemical Changes Lesson Plan
- Sugar Crystal Chemical Changes Lesson Plan
How to Make Salt Crystal Candy Canes
Follow along with the step-by-step directions below to learn how to do the candy cane experiment and create beautiful salt crystal candy canes while learning about the science of salt crystals and crystal formation!
Print out the instructions to take along anywhere!