Here's a fun experiment you can do with simple ingredients from the grocery store. You'll need an adult to help, but the fun is all yours. And you'll learn some new things about evaporation, crystal formation, and the properties of minerals.
Making the Crystals
- 1/4 cup Epsom salts (available at grocery store)
- 1/2 cup Water
- Food coloring
- Small bowl to hold sponge
Note to parents: Epsom salts are non-toxic but they do have a laxative effect. Explain to your child that he or she should not eat them. Call your doctor if your child ingests a large amount.
Parental supervision is needed when using the stove and working with boiling water.
Put the water in the pot and bring to a bowl. Remove from the heat and place on a heat-safe surface.
Add the Epsom salts and mix to dissolve thoroughly.
Add a drop or two of food coloring.
Put the sponge in the small bowl. Pour the water and salt mixture over the sponge. Don't cover the sponge completely, or it will take a long time for the crystals to form.
Place the bowl on a sunny window sill, and wait for the water to evaporate. This may take several days. As the water evaporates, crystals will begin to form on the sponge.
Things You'll Need
- Epsom salts are non-toxic, but they do have a laxative effect. Children should be told not to eat them. Call your doctor if your child ingests a large amount.
- Parental supervision is needed when using the stove and working with boiling water.
About the Author
Susan Landis-Steward has been a print journalist and editor since 1985, writing for "The Reflector," "The Multnomah Village Post," "The Evergreen Messenger" and "The Oregonian." She has won numerous awards for her reporting and has been published in top academic journals. Landis-Steward has a Master of Science in writing from Portland State University.
salt image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com