With Crystal Wonder, kids can grow their own crystals to gain a real understanding of a central geological process, fortunately in a few millennia less than the real thing takes. The set includes different salts in a variety of colors and the ideas and materials for using the crystals to make decorative items. Essentially, kids create a solution using some of the various salts, heat them up on top of the stove, pour it out, and let the crystals form as the water in the solution evaporates.
For the real scientists out there, you'll know that what you're doing is dissolving teeny crystals and allowing them to reform as larger ones. But the point of the learning is that kids will understand how the different molecular makeups of the different salts form different-shaped crystals.
The instruction booklet includes many different activities, including making large sugar crystals (which we always called rock candy) or salt crystals from regular table salt.
For kids with patience, attention to detail, and an inquisitive mind, this set combines solid science with fun arts and crafts projects and enough materials and ideas to keep them engaged and learning.
Crystal Wonder is for ages 10 and up. It requires a fairly sophisticated kid and probably some parental help, especially because kids will need to work at the stove to create the crystal solution. Be sure to use all the care you'd use in cooking.
The instructions are excellent and easy to follow. We made only the simplest crystal to try out the instructions. The basic solution creation is pretty much the same for every crystal you're making, and we found that it was really easy to do, and the instructions were very clear.
Since you're working at the stove, you want to be sure that children are able to do that and/or provide supervision.
Be careful to clean surfaces and not get the salts into food if you're working in the kitchen.
You'll need to provide your own glass jar in which to make the crystal solution.
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