Play Better: What to Look for in a Crystal Growing Kit for Kids

May the quartz be with you.

Grow beautiful crystals at home.Unsplash

Crystals get their multifaceted appearance from the way the atoms lock together in a lattice. New atoms join the lattice following that same pattern and stack to produce the flat faces and sparkly angles that make crystals...crystal-y. You can grow specimens at home using easily sourced minerals—like sugar or salts—but crystal-growing kits are designed to ensure dramatic results while minimizing user error and mess.

4M 5557 Crystal Growing Science Experimental Kit - Easy DIY Stem Toys Lab Experiment Specimens, A Great Educational Gift for Kids & Teens, Boys & Girls
Includes growing compounds, instructions and display domes for seven unique experiences.4M

Producing those smooth faces and extraordinary spikes at home relies on evaporation—the chemistry part of a crystal-growing experiment. When using a kit, this means adding the included minerals to water to make a saturated solution. As the water naturally evaporates into the air, the mineral molecules come out of solution and stack together, forming solid crystals.

Crystal Growing Kit for Kids + LIGHT-UP Stand - Science Experiments for Kids - Crystal Science Kits - Craft Stuff Toys for Teens - STEM Projects for Boys & Girls - Grow Crystals and Make Them Glow
Comes with starters that make these red, white and blue minerals even easier to develop.Dan&Darci

Some kits include starter crystals to jump start the process. As the new atoms come out of solution, they self-assemble on the starter crystals so the overall crystal appears to grow very quickly. This is particularly helpful for young scientists with shorter attention spans.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Crystal Growing Kit - 3 Vibrant Colored Crystals to Grow with Light-Up Display Stand & Guidebook, Includes 3 Real Gemstone Specimens Including A Geode & Green Fluorite
Comes with three real, additional crystals and LED stand that can cycle through colors.NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

It takes up to 10 days to grow a full-size crystal using a kit—although you should begin to see progress within a few days. Look for kits with extras to extend learning along the way. Most include a growing guide to dig deep into the science. Some also contain gemstone-quality crystal specimens to inspect and lighted display cases to showcase those homegrown crystals after they form.