Wednesday, September 14, 2011

kid project: growing sugar crystals

My kids are on a crystal kick such as the world hasn't seen since the early 90's.  Theirs runs more towards the cheaper plastic sort, but nonetheless just as crazed.  I thought I'd show them some real crystals.  They aren't too impressed by small ones we found in rocks, so I thought perhaps we could make some bigger ones.

Fortunately a while ago I scored a sweet Goodwill find of "How Science Works" and bequeathed it to my oldest filled with fantasies of doing science projects together and being that cool sort of Mom.  Then I got all nerdy and explained it all before we did it.

this is how:

1- we heated up water and slowly dissolved sugar into it until it wouldn't dissolve any more, and then we should have added a tiny bit more water so that all of the sugar would have dissolved and not acted as seed crystals all over the bottom of the jar.   ..and added blue food coloring

...BTW, this is AFTER the solution has sat and been poured out.

2- we poured the super saturated hot sugar water/syrup into a jar and hung a rough string (we used hemp because it was laying around, you could use yarn) into the jar (not touching the sides or bottom) 

3- waited.  Patience isn't a strong point in children, but they held off for two whole days while we were growing a seed crystal. 

3- we took the largest seed crystal (that Lucy didn't eat) from off of the rough string and tied it to a nylon string (fishing line works) and hung it from newly resaturated sugar solution. 

And then whilst on vacation, we grew bigger ones.

Saved the biggest ones in cool origami-sticker boxes, and happily ate the rest. 

They taste like little naked nerds. 


  1. I'm inspired and I want to try with my kids!

  2. wow- so cool! i want to try it, too. ummmmmmmm, naked nerds!

  3. Oh, cool! We have done the crystal growing thing with salt, borax, and sugar... and of course the sugar is always the biggest hit. And you already are one of those cool moms- no science books needed. So looking forward to Thursday!

  4. COOL! You ARE that kind of Mom and I love it! And so much more... I think we'll copy!