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Grow your own crystals

Jen is a work-at-home mom to four who loves to craft and sew so much, sometimes she gives up sleep to have the time to complete projects. Check her out at fabricbliss.blogspot.com.

Science meets glam

Learn to grow your own crystals using this quick and easy method. After just a few hours, you can have cups and cups of beautiful crystals. This is a perfect experiment for even the littlest of budding scientists.

How to make crystals

Crystals are all around us and come in many shapes, sizes and forms: amethysts, diamonds, salt, sugar and snow, for example. They are fascinating and beautiful to look at. Wow your kids by teaching them how to grow their very own cup of crystals using this quick technique. These salt crystals are easy to grow and safe to handle, and they form quickly.

Supplies:

  • Epsom salt
  • Hot water
  • Spoon
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Glass cup or bowl

Directions:

  1. Heat 1/2 cup of water until nearly boiling. Carefully pour it into a glass dish.
  2. Quickly — and before the water has a chance to cool — mix in 1/2 cup of Epsom salt and stir for 1-2 minutes. You may have some undissolved crystals in the bottom of the dish. Add 1-2 drops of food coloring, if desired.
  3. Place the bowl in the refrigerator.
  4. Check on your mixture in a few hours to see whether crystals have formed. You may need to pour liquid off the top of the crystals to see them.

What's happening?

When you add Epsom salt to the hot water and stir, the Epsom salt dissolves, creating a concentrated solution. The hotter the temperature of the water, the greater the amount of Epsom salt that will dissolve. When the water starts to cool, there is less room for the salt in the cooled water, and that causes the crystal growth. As the solution cools, the salt atoms rejoin to form a crystalline structure.

More science fun

At-home science experiments for kids
Science experiments for smart girls
How to make clouds: Science experiment for kids

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