The Best Crystal Projects for Kids: DIY Edible Sugar Crystals + Pipe Cleaner Crystals + Geode Crystals ~ Trendy Mom Reviews
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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Best Crystal Projects for Kids: DIY Edible Sugar Crystals + Pipe Cleaner Crystals + Geode Crystals

Thanks to Oriental Trading for partnering with us on this post.

In today's post, we'll share fun and easy DIY projects that explore crystals.  We'll explore three projects that focus on crystals, including  (1) edible sugar crystals, (2) Borax crystals that are grown on pipe cleaners, and (3) geodes that contain fascinating crystals.

Did you know that you encounter crystals almost everyday? Examples of crystals include diamonds, snowflakes, quartz, sugar and table salt. If you look closely at these items, you will notice beautiful patterns and textures.  Different types of crystals have various shapes.  In today's post, we are going to share three crystal themed projects. We encourage you to use a journal and microscope to document your observations about the ingredients and different crystals that you create. 

We will teach you how to create some fun crystals. The supplies in this post are a combination of things that you probably have in your home (i.e., sugar, Borax (laundry cleaner), a pot, etc.) and inexpensive supplies from Learn 365 (part of Oriental Trading).  For instance, some of the supplies that we ordered include: Jumbo Chenille Stems Pipe Cleaners, Break-Your-Own-Geods, a Learning Resources Elite Microscope, and Super Science Test Tubes with Trays. You'll find all of these products and more inexpensive science supplies on their website.

Project #1: Edible Sugar Crystals
  • .5 cups of boiling water
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 1 small pot
  • 1 mason jar
  • 1 chopstick
  • Optional: 1 to 3 drops of food coloring (We used green.)
  1. Bring the water to a boil in the pot and then dissolve the sugar into it by stirring it. If you wish to speed up the crystal making progress, you may boil extra water off. (We don't let our children do this part. We have an adult complete this step.)
  2. Allow the solution to cool slightly and then add it to the Mason jar.
  3. Add 1 to 3 drops of food coloring.
  4. Add a chopstick to the mason jar so that the crystals are able to attach to it.
  5. Allow to sit (uncovered) and observe the crystals over time. You will start to see action within a couple of days.
  6. Tip: If you do not see crystals growing on the sides of the jar or on the chopstick within a couple of days, you probably did not use enough sugar.  Add the solution back to a pot, bring to a boil, and add more sugar.

Project #2: Borax Crystals (sometimes called Pipe Cleaner Crystals) * These are not edible!
  • 1.5 cups of boiling water 
  • 5 Tablespoons of Borax (usually found in the laundry detergent section of grocery stores)
  • 1 to 2 pipe cleaners that you twist into a fun shape of your choice
  • 1 craft stick
  • 1 mason jar
  1. Create a fun shape of your choice with pipe cleaners that you will insert into the mason jar for the crystals. The crystals will grow on your pipe cleaners and reflect the color(s) of the pipe cleaner(s).
  2. Add the Borax to the mason jar.
  3. Carefully add the boiling water to the jar. (We don't let our children do this part. We have an adult complete this step.)
  4. Allow the water to cool slightly and then stir the water to help the Borax dissolve. (Again, we don't let our children do this step. We have an adult help.)
  5. Attach the pipe cleaner shape to a craft stick and insert the pipe cleaner into the jar.
  6. Allow the jar to sit overnight and then observe the crystals in the morning!  Many crystals should form on the pipe cleaners. 
  7. Crystals will also collect in the bottom of the jar.  Drain the water and then remove any crystals that stick to the bottom of the glass jar and place in a test tube so that you may look at them under a microscope and/or use them in crafts. 
  8. Again, these crystals are not edible.

Project #3: Geode Crystals
We ordered these really cool geodes from Oriental Trading's Learn 365 shop. It's a good deal because it is just $9.99 for 12 geodes.  If you have a group of students that you are working with, that comes out to just under $1 per child.  In any case, this was a fun part of our crystal exploration because everyone felt special to have their very own geode to break open and explore.  It is fun and interesting because each geode is unique.  This gives the opportunity for children to compare the crystals and document the differences.

Explore with a microscope
As I mentioned earlier, it's fun to keep a log of the experiments above. Throughout the experimentation above, we used an Elite Microscope to examine the household ingredients, homemade crystals, and geodes.  The microscope makes it fun to examine the shapes, textures, colors, and clarity of the different crystals. 

It's also fun to document the results in a journal.  Of course, once the analysis phase is done, the crystals are also fun for craft projects! Store them in test tubes to enjoy their beauty or use them for other projects.

We hope that you enjoyed our DIY Crystal Projects.  Personally, we set a goal to complete one big science project each month during summer vacation and this was our son's favorite activity.  I think that it will be one of his favorite childhood memories because the crystals are so magical!

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