Lately my boys have been obsessed with science experiments and since my college degree was in the science field, this is right up my alley and yes my nerdy side has been coming out a little bit. . We went to the library and checked out about 7 or 8 books with science experiments for kids. So, you may be seeing more posts with simple science projects you can do with your boys. Making crystals was really easy and it was fun to watch the crystals grow each day.
The scientific concept behind making crystals, if you really want to know, is that when you dissolve a solid such as sugar, baking soda, borax or salt in water, it doesn’t just disappear, even though you can’t see it. The solid breaks down into tiny molecules. As the water evaporates, it can’t hold all of those molecules anymore and crystals begin to form. The more water evaporates, the more crystals form. Pretty cool, huh!
So…How do you make crystals. The best way is to dissolve a solid (we used table salt) into water until you can see that the water can’t hold any more and the solid starts settling at the bottom. Since hot water can hold more solid, it’s best to heat your water as you add the solids. That will help you get more crystals in the end. Then pour it into a clear container and wait. We added some fuzzy sticks (aka pipe cleaner) to the jar so the crystals could grow up on it as well and then we put our jar in the windowsill where the water could evaporate faster. That was the hardest part of this experiment for my boys! The crystals grow best the slower the water cools. Patience is needed for sure! We waited about a week for all of the water to evaporate.
Everyday the crystals grew more and more until all of the water was evaporated leaving us with a pretty cool jar of crystals.
The book that we used for this experiment was Super Science Concoctions: 50 Mysterious Mixtures for Fabulous Fun and I highly recommend it if you have younger kids (ages 6-12) who are showing signs of becoming a budding scientist.