Make Frost on the Window! Activity

3.9 based on 26 ratings
Updated on Feb 13, 2013

As a fifth grader your child will more than likely have an opportunity to grow crystals from various chemical solutions at school. Here is a fun and nifty science experiment he could perform at home. How does it work? Epsom salts crystallize to form tiny crystals that will appear as “frost” on a piece of glass.

What You Need:

  • 1 cup Epsom salts (available at your local pharmacy)
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • One quart heat-proof container
  • Liquid dishwashing detergent
  • Small paintbrush
  • Piece of plan glass or the window itself!
  • Spoon

What You Do:

  1. Add 1 ½ cups of water to a heat proof container.
  2. Over a hot plate or stove heat the water to boiling.
  3. Gradually add some of the Epsom salts and stir keeping the solution boiling during the process.
  4. Add more Epsom salts and stir.
  5. Repeat until the Epsom salts will no longer dissolve and can be seen settled to the bottom of the container.
  6. Remove container from heat and add some liquid dishwashing detergent and stir.
  7. Let the mixture cool.
  8. “Paint” the solution on a window or glass with a paintbrush. When the solution dries, needle-like crystal fan patterns will appear, looking like frost on the window.

Haven’t had enough? Allow your child to experiment by painting the Epsom salts solution on other surfaces to see if he will produce the same affect. If using a window in the house it can be cleaned by simply washing it with soap and water.

Mike Calhoun is a 20-year veteran science teacher, with experience in the upper elementary and middle school grades. He is also the founder and owner of a company producing science education materials (

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