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2011-03-21

Marvelous Monday - Magic Crystals

Some days, you wake up and the children are playing happily together, laughing, and it makes you smile.
Then, someone looks at the other the wrong way, or has his "man" defeat the other's in a way deemed unacceptable, and bickering ensues... leading to an edgy, erratic energy amongst your kids for the remainder of the morning. At first, it's OK - at least the fighting stopped, but as the AM progresses, the high-pitched squeals and the accompanying rough-housing begin to grate-on-your-nerves.... 

Tell me I'm not the only one who has been here, right? Right. Oh-Thank-The-Powers-That-Be!

The way I see it, my options at this point are:
  1. Lock myself in my room and ScReAm
  2. Kick kids outside - forever
  3. Engage kids in something that will calm-them-the-heck-down
I usually choose option three... though two is sometimes the most appealing ;-)

Anyhow, yesterday, when this happened, I decided we'd just have to do another experiment and make some crystals. This really appealed to Mario, who had visions of selling them and becoming oh-so-rich!, and to Toad, who planned to give them to the girls in his class (he's 6. Did I tell you he's 6?!)

Want to make crystals yourself? It is fun and easy, and involves a little "cooking" which is always a child-pleaser, n'est-ce pas? Here's the basic method:
  • Boil water - say 1/2c. or 3/4c.
  • Add equal amount of Epsom salts. Stir. Remove from heat.
  • Continue adding Epsom salts, while stirring, until they no longer dissolve. Set aside for 4-5 min to cool. 
  • Get a metal washer, some string, a Popsicle stick and a glass. 
  • Put washer on string, suspend from Popsicle stick over lip of glass (should be at a height where it will not touch the water, but hover just above it). 
  • Put water solution in glass, put stick with washer on top, set in a window for several days (week-10 days).... as the water evaporates, the salt will be attracted to the metal washer and you will see a trail of crystals appear. 
We've done this before, so yesterday we tweaked it a little:
  • We added green dye to some of the water and red dye to the remainder, and ensured we put these in separate glasses - we wonder if we will have clear crystals, or if the crystals will take on the colour of the dye.
  • We also added glitter to the green solution to see if we could create crystals with sparkles inside.
  • We super-saturated the red solution (kept adding salt over heat until it would no longer dissolve) to see if it would result in bigger crystals or nothing at all.
Now, obviously the crystals aren't ready yet - I will update you on them next week - but, here is what we have so far:




Try this with your kids! Believe me, they will think it's simply marvelous ;-)

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous14:33

    My daughter did these as a science project one year, they are so much fun!

    ReplyDelete