Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Science Experiment #3 – Expanding Color Crystals

We are still loving our Mind Blowing Science kit!  It continues to engage and fascinate M.  

Experiment #3 (this is actually #4 on the list that came with the kit.  We skipped #3 on the list because someone was not prepared with all the household liquids required for testing.  We’ll get to that one some other time.)…

First, we had two cups of water.  We added a couple of scoops of baking soda (our base) to one cup and a couple of scoops of citric acid (our acid) to the other.   Then we added some red cabbage powder and watched as one cup turned red (acid) and one turned blue  (base).  science 3 (1) So far this was stuff we had already learned, but it was still fun for Mad Scientist M.  

Next, we filled a third cup with a little of the blue water and a little of the red water, and watched it turn purple and foam up.    Apparently there’s no picture of this,  and you’ll have to use your imagination. :)

Then we got out these tiny little polyacrylamide crystals:  science 3 (11) This photo is enlarged… in reality these crystals look a lot like sea salt, but are maybe a tiny bit smaller.

We added 2 scoops of crystals to each cup of colored water.  We couldn’t see them any longer and M thought they had disappeared or dissolved.  We set the timer and waited about 30 minutes.  Here you can see they are starting to gel up:  science 3 (2) The instructions say to wait 2 hours.   So we kept on waiting….

In the meantime, I gave M a little colored water (green – his choice), baking soda, and some vinegar to play with.    Seriously,  bursts of green fizzing foam are a great way to spend your time if you’re stuck waiting for something, in case you don’t already know this. ;)science 3 (4)

2 hours later, here’s what we had: science 3 science 3 (12) science 3 (13)Pretty purple, pink, and blue crystals.   Really, the picture above looks very greenish, but they were actually a pretty blue (grrr… stupid old camera).   AND they were no longer hard, but squishy and soft.  The polyacrylamide crystals are a special plastic that will slowly soak up liquid and become soft.  We are going to let them dry out and then we’ll have pretty, sparkly, tiny little colored crystals. 

M spent quite a long time looking at these and feeling them in his hands.  Mommy and Daddy got in on the fun too.  :) 

For more science with kids, go see Adventures in Mommyhood!

Have a beautiful day! :)


  1. That science kit sounds fantastic!

    And thanks for the mention of playing with baking soda, vinegar, and water - I just set it up for my two sick kiddos and they are playing happily for the first time in a couple days.

  2. Alright, I'm sold! We need a science kit around here. We may have to wait a bit for Charger, though. I see a big mess with him around. M's grandparents did very well with this gift!! I love seeing all the experiments that you all are doing from it.

  3. I think that might be the same crystals that are in diapers. That's what they ended up being like when they were wet, very squishy.
    I'll have to go back and look at my post to remember the scientific name for diaper crystals.
    Thanks for linking up!

  4. I can totally see the same kit in our future :) It looks like M has so much fun with his set.


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