Grow Gold Overnight! A fun experiment for kids

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A couple of weeks ago, we decided to make some gold of our own. We used golden sanding sugar from a local craft store, and normal sugar to make our gold. But sugar crystals take a whole week to completely form. The boys wanted to make gold crystals faster! Looking back at our first crystal experiment, I remembered that borax crystals formed overnight. What if we could create golden crystals overnight by combining the borax and golden sanding sugar? I pulled together a estimated recipe based off the ratios of water and borax used in the first crystal experiment, then decided just to add about have a bottle of golden sugar, and see what happened! Here’s the fun experiment for kids we created!

A fun experiment for kids at home! In one day, kids can use science to made amazing golden crystals! Perfect for Saint Patrick's day!

Overnight Golden Crystals ( A Fun Experiment for Kids!)

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Golden Fun Experiment for Kids

Step 1: Cut a 3″ piece of baking string, and tie a knot at one end.

Step 2: Tie the other end of the string to the middle of a toothpick.

String tied to toothpick for a fun science experiment for kids!

Step 3: Boil 2 cups of water.

Step 4: Pour half of the gold sanding sugar into the boiling water. Stir until sugar is dissolved.

Dissolving our golden sugar.

Step 5: Pour the cup of borax into the boiling water and golden sugar solution. Stir until all the borax is dissolved.

Adding borax to the solution.

Step 6: Using a spoon or small cup, slowly pour the water/sugar/borax solution into one of the small black pots.

Pouring our golden solution into the pot.

Step 7: Suspend the toothpick from step 2 along the opening of the pot, and stick the string into the pot.

We can't wait for the results from our fun experiment for kids!

Step 8: Leave the string in the solution overnight.

Step 9: After one day, pull the string out of the pot, and admire your gold!

We compared our overnight gold to the sugar gold that took a week to make.

Our fun experiment results! The borax crystals are bigger and form faster than the sugar crystals!

3 Engineering Activities!

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A few observations we made of the borax/sugar versus the sugar only crystals:

  1. The borax/sugar crystal shape is larger than the crystal shape of the purely sugar crystal. I explained the difference in shape could be due to the specific pattern the borax and sugar molecules form when cooling down. The difference in size could also be due to the ability of the molecules in the solution to freely move and create bonds. The more freely molecules can move in a solution, the easier it is for them to form crystals.
  2. The borax/sugar crystal has a slightly lighter golden color. The sugar crystal solution required a lot more sugar to create a saturated solution than the borax crystal solution took to make a saturated solution. Therefore, the sugar water mixture was much thicker (or denser), and so not as much light can shine through the crystal. The lack of light makes the crystal look darker.

When I asked the boys which golden crystal they liked more, it came to no surprise than this experiment was their favorite. The experiment was faster and made more “gold”!

If you enjoyed this experiment, make sure to follow me on Instagram (@fromengineertosahm) and Facebook (@fromengineertosahm) for more experiments and STEM/STEAM activities!

Looking for more crystal experiments? Try my other two!

Grow a Pot of Gold! Crystal Science Experiment
Crystal Science Experiment at Home

Interested in other science experiments we’ve done? Here are a few!

Semipermeable Membrane STEAM activity
Floating Ghost Magnetism STEM Activity! 
Beyblade Experiment: What affects Momentum?
Make a Rainbow using one of the Properties of Water
Levitating Pumpkin Experiment
Paintball Forces Science Experiment