Children and parents delight in growing their own colored crystals with the Smithsonian Crystal Growing Kit. The kit also provides a great opportunity for children to learn about rock and mineral formation, while growing their own crystals and geodes. The kit includes safety equipment, crystal growing chemicals, dye, stones, a tray for growing and a magnifying glass for observing the crystal formation. Children should not grow crystals without adult supervision, as the chemicals used can cause injury.
Put on your enclosed safety goggles to protect your eyes from chemical fumes. Ready your lab area by covering all the surrounding surfaces with a layer of newspaper.
Cut apart the plastic crystal growing trays with scissors, leaving a narrow plastic lip on each side of the tray. Cut apart the lids for crystal growing trays "B" and "D."
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Open the bag of the crystal growing chemicals and pour all but about 1/8 of a teaspoon of it into the size "C" growing cup.
Measure 68 mL of water with the beaker included in the kit and pour it into the saucepan. Heat the water to boiling, then pour it into the crystal growing tray. Stir the crystal growing chemical mixture and the water until all of the chemical grains have dissolved.
Place a few of the rocks contained in the kit into the bottom of the size "D" crystal growing tray. Pour the crystal chemical mixture into the size "D" growing tray until the liquid is approximately 1/4 inch from the top of the tray. Allow the solution to cool.
Drop the remaining 1/8 teaspoon of the crystal growing grains into the size "D" crystal growing tray and solution. These grains will serve as seed crystals, promoting growth in the solution.
Place the lid on the crystal growing tray and allow the mixture to sit for three to four days in a place with a consistent temperature where it it will not be disturbed by movement.
Remove the crystals from the solution when you are satisfied with the size and shape of your crystals. Excess solution can be stored in a tightly sealed jar for further experiments.
Repeat Steps 1 through 8 with each packet of crystal growing grains to grow various types and colors of crystals.