Friday, September 5, 2008

Mother's going GREEN Day 101 - Children's Eco-Craft

For today's craft was inspired by a science experiment that I did way back in high school - making sugar crystals. Taking this a step further we are going to make the crystals on sticks to form a sugar stir stick or rock candy. The picture shown is not the end result of my personal craft today as it will take 2 to 3 weeks to get large crystals.

Sugar Crystal Stir Stick

You will need:

-- 1 cup of granulated sugar (ours sugar is a light caramel colour as it is organic sugar, but regular white granulated sugar will do.)

-- 1/2 a cup of tap water

-- 2 sticks (I used a wood skewer cut into 2)

-- string

-- pot to boil sugar and water

-- container to grow the crystals (I used an old jam jar - choose a container that you can see through so you can monitor the progress of your crystals without disturbing them)

Directions (with an adults help if required):

-- Soak the sticks in tap water remove from water.

-- Cover the lower 2/3 of the stick with a light coating of granulated sugar.

-- Allow to dry (this will help the crystallized sugar to stick better to the stick).

-- In a pot boil your 1/2 cup of water and your cup of sugar, until the sugar is dissolved.

-- Once dissolved pour mixture into your container where you will 'grow' the crystals.

-- Allow the liquid to cool until it reaches room temperature.

-- Suspend the 'sugar coated' sticks into the sugar/water mixture (I tied strings around the top of the sticks and hung them in the water, taping the ends of the string to the side of the jar).

-- It is important that the sticks do not touch the bottom of the container and should be about 1 inch to 2 inches apart (again our liquid is a caramel colour because of the organic sugar being used).

-- Cover the container with a paper towel (we opted to use a cloth napkin).

-- Place the container in a secure place where it will not get disturbed.

-- After 24 hours who will see small crystals start to form and after 2 to 3 weeks you will see the larger crystals appear.

-- Once your crystals have reached the desired size, remove them from the liquid and allow to dry.

You can then loosely wrap them in cellophane wrap with a pretty bow and give it as a gift to someone. They can use it as a sugar stir stick in their coffee.

Better yet just keep it and eat it. Rock Candy.

If you would like to make colour crystals just add food colouring to the warm mixture before it cools. We chose to keep ours natural.

I will post a picture of our "actual results" - once our crystals have formed.


Kimberly said...

Oh, I love this project! My 3 1/2 year old will love this. What a fab idea! Fun and learning science at the same time. Thanks for sharing.

On Green Carpet said...

Fantastic! I have to try this, definitely!
It should work also perfectly as a gift or adittion to the gift :)
I was just thinking of whether you could use some natural food colouring to make them also pink for example :) I have to test if they will grow if I added a drop of black currant juice..