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This is a fun activity for preschoolers or younger school-aged kids. Bumble Bee was 6 years and 11 month olds and in year 1, when we did this at home. But because it’s taste-safe, you could try it with older toddlers as well.
Do you remember the salt crystal trees we made a few years back? Bumble Bee had just turned three at the time, and now she has only a vague recollection. So we decide to make these salt crystal ghosts to help jog her memory, and have a little Halloween science fun in the meantime. 🙂
How to make Salt Crystal Ghosts
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What to do
1. Cut out ghost shapes using scissors and white paper.
We used regular white printer paper. You could also use white construction paper (which is slightly thicker) as well. Young kids might like to draw their own ghost shape first before trying to cut it out (or you could draw it for them). Either way, cutting ghosts is great scissor practice!
2. Cut out or draw faces on your ghosts.
At first we tried using a hole punch to create eyes, and folding the paper over to cut a mouth, however I discovered this is actually quite tricky for young kids! So we also tried drawing faces on with permanent marker which was much easier.
3. Dissolve salt in a glass of hot water.
We used hot water from the tap (our hot tap water isn’t hot enough to scald). How much salt can you add? Have your child look to see if the salt being added is being dissolved, or if the mixture is supersaturated.
4. Put each ghost onto a plate, and then pour salty water to cover.
5. Set the plates aside where they won’t be disturbed, until the water has evaporated. This could take a few days, depending on how much salty water you added!
Now you can see the salt again. It was there all along! But this time, instead of being a fine powder, it’s formed pretty, cube-shaped crystals that stick to the paper ghosts.
5. Turn the ghosts over and stick on either ribbon, curling ribbon or clear nylon thread with sticky tape, to make a loop.
The nylon thread looks great because it’s invisible, but it’s really tricky to work with. So, if you want kids to be able to do this step by themselves, then I suggest using the curling ribbon, as this was the easiest.
And now you have little ghost decorations, that are just perfect for Halloween!
Fun science facts
When you mix salt (sodium chloride) with water, it dissolves. Why? It’s because of the polarity of water. Positive sodium ions bond with the negative part of the water molecule, and negative chloride ions bond with the positive part of the water molecule.
On a preschooler science level, allowing a salt water solution to evaporate and crystalise is a way of showing young kids that dissolved salt hasn’t disappeared, rather it was still there all along.
Salt crystals are cubic. You can easily see this with the naked eye (especially with the larger crystals) but it’s also fun to study under a microscope or magnifying glass if you have one too.
This activity isn’t meant to be viewed as edible. Salt in high doses isn’t appropriate for young kids, however it won’t do toddlers or older kids harm if a tiny amount of salt is tasted in the process. (Actually, it’s educational!)
All kids’ activities on this blog require attentive adult supervision. Parents and carers will need to judge whether a particular activity is appropriate their child’s age and skill level. Click here for more information.
You can find more pretty crystal activities on our Crystal Science page, including:
- how to make a ‘snowy’ salt crystal tree,
- how to make Borax crystal snowflakes,
- and how to make crystal candy canes!
And, of course, you can always subscribe to our newsletter, to receive all our latest activities straight in your Inbox. We’d love to have you join us!
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