This week I’m doing a series of 5 posts on things you can make and do with your kids to keep them busy and happy while they’re at home for this holiday season. Today’s activity: Make Your Own Rock Candy.
As you know, if you put sugar in water, the sugar dissolves until you can’t see them anymore. But if you take a sip of that water, you’ll realize from the sweet taste, that the sugar is still there. The crystals of sugar have separated into tiny molecules and they spread out more than they were before– so they’re still there, just in a different form. If you heat a sugar and water mixture and then let it cool, the sugar crystals will form again due to evaporation, but this time they’ll be even bigger than before! That’s the idea behind making rock candy! If you’d like to find more information about sugar, here’s a website you and your kids can check out: http://www.sugar.org/sugar-basics/all-about-sugar.html
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
Some food colouring if desired
Some flavouring if desired (like vanilla or peppermint extract or something like that)
Glass jars for each crystal you want to form
Some cotton string
Some kind of stick like a popsicle/craft stick or a bamboo skewer
Instructions: Make sure that everything you’re using has been cleaned (the jar, the stick, etc). Cut about 6 inches of string and tie it around the stick so that the string is a little bit shorter than the height of the jar. Pour a bit of sugar out, get the string wet, and roll it in the sugar. Place the stick over the opening of the jar so that your sugared string hangs down into it. It shouldn’t be touching the sides or the bottom of the jar. In a pan bring the water to a boil. Gradually and slowly stir in the sugar, using a wooden spoon. Keep stirring this mixture until all the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and add the colouring and flavouring if using them. Pour the sugar mixture into jar – again make sure that the string is hanging down into the jar but not touching the bottom or sides. Leave this for a week or two in a place where it won’t get moved around to allow it to fully develop but you will see crystals begin to form on the string in a few hours.
Here are some science experiments you can do at home about dissolving sugar in different temperatures: http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/experiments/dissolvingsugar.html
Here’s one about how much sugar there is in a can of pop: http://www.easy-kids-science-experiments.com/sugar-in-soda-science-experiment.html
How about making a sugar cube pyramid? http://familyfun.go.com/crafts/sugar-cube-pyramid-665727/ (My daughter and I once made a sugar cube igloo for a project she was doing!: http://www.kidsfitnesscentral.com/sugar-cube-igloos-crafting-with-food/)