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Science for kids: kitchen crystals

Science for kids: kitchen crystals

Do you love science as much as I do? We have asked Cape Town Science centre to share an educational kids activity with us and today you can teach your children how to make "Kitchen Crystals". It is the ideal low-cost educational science experiment to try at home and you only need two ingredients! Read all the way to the bottom- you will get a chance to win tickets to their winter holiday program 2018. Have fun! Tanya

Kitchen crystals by Cape Town Science Centre


Crystals are simply amazing! They are colourful, come in all shapes and sizes and seem to capture our imagination like great works of art. Fortunately, you don’t need to go any further than your kitchen to both FIND and MAKE crystals!

What are crystals and how are crystals made?

Most people when hearing about crystals will immediately picture some glass-like object which is spiky, sparkly and a little strange. Although many crystals do fit this description, people would be surprised to discover crystals are in fact all around us. From table salt to eggshells, crystals are a daily occurrence in all our lives. 
Crystals are a special type of solid material, where the parts that make up the crystal (ie. atoms and molecules) are packed in regular, repeating patterns. It’s these repeating patterns that are responsible for giving crystals their unique shape that we have come to know (and LOVE!) them by. 

So let's get started with growing your own crystal at home!

A crystal wonderland in a glass

You will need

  • Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate)
    •    A glass dish (preferably wide and low)
    •    Tablespoon
    •    Mixing bowl
    •    Warm water
Home science experiments| Cape Town Science Centre | Things to do With Kids

What to do to start growing your crystal at home

Pour half a cup of warm water in a mixing bowl. The warmer the water, the easier it will be to dissolve the Epsom salt.

Please be careful when working with hot water and always have an adult supervising!

Home science experiments| Cape Town Science Centre | Things to do With Kids

Create a supersaturated solution:

Add the Epsom salt gradually to the warm water, stirring the mixture. As you stir you’ll notice the Epsom salt will dissolve. Continue to add Epsom salt until no more will dissolve in the mixture. This is called a supersaturated solution. At this point, the solution will be slightly thick.

For fun add a drop of food colouring to make your crystal a pretty colour. Pour this solution into your glass dish and store it in a warm, dry place where it will not be disturbed.


Watch your crystal experiment develop

Crystals will slowly begin to form as the water evaporates. Within 3 days all the water would have evaporated and you will be left with beautiful crystals!

Home science experiments| Cape Town Science Centre | Things to do With Kids

Something interesting to experiment with

Try growing your crystals in two additional spaces, a warmer and a cooler storage space such as the fridge and in the sun. This will change how quickly the crystals grow. 

Ask your child: Do you get larger crystals if they grow quickly or slowly?

Idea:

You can also make Edible Rock Candy

How to make rock candy science

Tanya

Tanya

Tanya is our practical, "go-getter" adventurer, mom. With an honours degree in Biokinetics, diploma in Business Marketing & Administration, and as a master analyser, she loves blogging about the nitty gritty, educational topics, and how to simplify life. She is an extroverted logical thinker and enjoys writing about products and services that solve problems and makes life more enjoyable. She is a scientist at heart with a love for life, travel, family, friends and universal principles. In her free time, Tanya works and reads books on spiritual and business growth, and thus created a career that will involve family life, problem-solving and travelling. She surrounds herself with geniuses who share her values, love for wisdom and life.

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