Today we are going to do a science experiment that children of all ages can enjoy! This project involves putting a leaf into salty water to see how the salt hardens around the leaf when it is placed in the sunlight. The kind of results you get will depend on how long you let the leaf sit in the salty water and how sunny it is outside. All results are very cool and unique, so let’s see what happens when you try this at home!
Because we will be pouring water into jars, it will be good to have some paper towels nearby in case you accidentally spill. We will also be using a stove to boil water, so please make sure to ask an adult for help during this part of the activity if you need it.
Step 1: We are going to start boiling water to make it really hot. When the water is very hot, the salt can mix in-- or dissolve-- much quicker. So, let’s add some water to the saucepan! You will need about 2 ½ cups of water for each mason jar you use. I am using two mason jars, so I added a total of 5 cups of water to the saucepan.
When the water has been poured into the saucepan, move the pan to the stove and put it on high heat until the water has a lot of dancing bubbles in it. This is what we call a rolling boil.
Tip: Remember to be careful while doing this. Wear oven mitts or get adult help if you need it.
Step 2: Once the water is boiling, turn off the stove. Now we are going to add salt to make our salty water (also known as a saltwater solution). There is no right amount of salt to add to the water. Instead, you will pour salt in the water and stir with a spoon until the salt mixes into the water completely-- or dissolves. Continue doing this and stir until the water is clear again before adding more salt. After a while, you will notice that the salt will not mix into the water anymore no matter how much you stir it. If there is salt sitting at the bottom of the pan, then you have added enough and your salt water is ready!
Tip: I poured and mixed a large amount of salt into the water about 6 times before I noticed salt sitting at the bottom of the saucepan.
Step 3: We are going to let our salt water cool off just a little bit while we prepare our leaves. If you are using a real leaf you found outside, you may need to tie a string of yarn around the leaf’s stem. The stem on my leaf was definitely too short, so I tied a purple string of yarn around it.
If you do not have any real leaves, you can always make some with pipe cleaners! This is fun because you can make any shape you want. I made a classic leaf shape. It was really easy! All you have to do is fold a pipe cleaner in half so you have a loop on top and a stem on the bottom. Pinch the top of the loop to make it look more like a leaf and there you go!
Step 4: Now that the leaves are prepared and the salt water has cooled off some, we are going to pour the salty water into the mason jars. Fill each jar completely. Make sure to be careful doing this because the water is still very hot!
Step 5: Next, put a leaf into the jar of salty water. If you are using a leaf with yarn attached to the stem, make sure to hold it by the yarn. Try your best to make sure the leaf is not touching the sides of the jar. More salt crystals will form if the leaf is not touching the jar!
Step 6: When the leaf is totally covered by the water, use a clothespin on the stem or yarn to hold the leaf in place.
Step 7: Now for the really cool part! Place the jars in a windowsill where they can get a lot of sun and wait to see what happens! I waited about 24 hours before taking mine out, but you can wait for as many days as you want!
Now your leaves are all crystallized! Hang them up for a cool decoration or show them off to your family and friends!
~Made by Jaylin B.