With the beginning of Summer for kids finally here, it’s always important to take this time to plan out learning activities. There is nothing worse than kids being home all summer with no structure and forgetting a portion of things they learn in those almost three months away from their teachers. Learning doesn’t have to be a drag. We try to focus on subjects and activities that turn fun into a learning experience so their summer is still enjoyable but the kids are still retaining learned knowledge and even learning new stuff! My boys are way into science in every way. (I can’t blame them, that was always one of my favorite subjects!) So, we have a closet stocked full of science books, tools, and even fun learning its like those available through the Young Scientists Club. We recently received a new kit, Growing Crazy Crystals, for review and were so excited to add it to our collection!
This kit (and many many more) is available for purchase online through The Young Scientists Club online as well as in the Amazon STEM store! For even more fun, you can join the Young Scientists Club’s Subscription service and receive a kit monthly. Each of the kits has a central theme and age group. The box contains an instruction manual for many different activities, experiments, and more that is to be used with all of the items included in the box. For the growing Crazy Crystals kit, we received all of the following needed for fun learning and growing!
Your best bet as mom (or dad) is to open it without the kids around and read over the different activities. This gives you the chance to purchase items you may not already have at home (nothing crazy, but for example I was almost out of sugar eek! and the kids of course wanted to make rock candy crystals!) Plus, it gives you a chance to prepare what you want to do each time. Some of the experiments piggy back off of previous ones so it’s cool to have an idea of an order to work in! Since I did not do this this time around, my boys got to start with the simple observation style activities. The kit included a cute little magnifying glass for checking out crystals up close. So, we started by see if salt and sugar crystals were cubes or hexagon shapes!
The boys love seeing things in different ways, so seeing the shape of a grain of salt and sugar actually seemed to impress them more than I would have expected! (yay for simplicity!) Of course, we had to try out a bigger experiment as well. Since we had plenty of baking soda, we decided to go with growing crazy baking soda crystals on a pipe cleaner! Have to say, even I had not done this before. The instructions were so simple to follow. There are photos to accompany them so that younger kids can see the order of things even if they can’t read. This is a great feature to me since I have boys 4 and 12 years old. We boiled the water and added enough baking soda to saturate the mixture. As I boiled and poured it into a glass, the boys made their star from the pipe cleaner, string, and Popsicle stick that were all supplied in the kit!
Once I had the solution in the cup, they lowered the star into it, allowing it to be completely covered in water. The Popsicle stick allowed it to sit from the glass without falling in. Then the wait started. It said to check back in a few hours. The longer you leave it the more crystals will grow! After a few hours we checked the cup and it definitely had crystals growing all over the star! The instructions explained to the kids that the course design of the pipe cleaners surface allows the crystals to stick and grow.
Later that night, they worked together to pull it out of the cup. (I wanted to wait a little longer, but kids are not so patient!) They were so excited to see the outcome. I might recommend using a wider cup or making your star a little smaller as ours got a little stuck to the edge of the glass and broke a few crystals off when we pulled on it.
The star was hard a crystallized. The boys were amazed because they thought it felt frozen! They were able to observe the crystals created from a simple baking soda and water using their magnifying glass. It was really cool. They cant wait until it is time for our next science experiment (of course that will obviously be making rock candy if they have their way)
If you are looking for fun learning, I absolutely encourage you to check out all of the offerings from The Young Scientists Club. Make sure to follow them on social media as well (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Youtube) to keep up with new kits and fun learning ideas!