Making crystals

It’s summer, and we all need things we can do with our kids.  So how about something fun and educational?  Like crystals.  Salt crystals are quick and easy.  Sugar crystals are slow and tasty.  Both are fun.

Salt crystals

(I was amazed how fast these crystals grew.  In less than 24 hours, there were actual crystals you could see.  I tried adding food coloring to the solution to make a colored crystal, but we still ended up with white crystals.  After several days, I took out the crystals and let the boys touch, dissect, and destroy them.)

Things you need:

  • Table or Epson Salt (2 or 3 Tsp)
  • 1 cup of water
  • Pot
  • Spoon
  • Jar
  • Pencil
  • String
  • Paperclip, washer, or pull-tab of a soda can (I was desperate.)

Tie a piece of string around the middle of the pencil.  Tie the other end of the string around the weight (aka paperclip or washer).  Make sure the weight doesn’t touch the bottom of the jar.  Pour a cup of water into the pan and bring it to a boil.  Add salt a teaspoon at a time, stirring, until you cannot dissolve anymore salt.  Pour the salt water solution into the jar.  Place the pencil across the mouth of the jar, allowing the weight to dangle into the solution.  Do not touch.  Allow the crystals to grow for several days.

Sugar crystals

(These were much tastier.  But they took For-Ev-Er.  It took about a week to see any crystals, and it’ll take three weeks to have a crystal worthwhile to eat.  Last year I tried a recipe that doubled the amount of sugar so that the crystals would form faster.  It didn’t work.  Patience is a virtue.  A sugar crust formed on the top of the solution before the crystals started to form.)

Things you need:

  • Two cups of water
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • Pot
  • Spoon
  • Jar
  • Pencil
  • String
  • Weight like a paperclip, washer or pull-tab of a soda can

Tie one end of the string to the middle of the pencil.  Tie the other end of the string on the weight.  The weight should be able to dangle in the jar without touching the bottom.  Wet the string and roll it in sugar.  Boil two cups of water.  Stir in sugar a tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is dissolved.  Pour the sugar salt solution into the jar.  Place the pencil on the mouth of the jar allowing the weight to dangle in the solution.  Place the jar out of reach and wait for the crystals to form.

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