Arts & crafts come in all different shapes and sizes, everything from paining on pinheads to life size sculptures, with drawing, painting, card making, sewing, embroidery and lots more in-between. Different arts & crafts are not only an excellent hobby but getting creative can have help with reducing everyday stress and help you relax.
Arts and crafts are a big thing in our house, especially for the eight-year-old as she loves to create all sorts of things, whether that is drawing with pens and pencils, putting together diamond art pictures or cutting and gluing to create her own unique designs. We even have adult crafts including watercolours and alcohol markers for painting, drawing and colouring. We have a room full of the usual children’s arts & crafts paraphernalia with pens, paper, paint etc., but are always on the lookout for something that little bit different that the children can try and found it with the National Geographic Crystal Garden as it mixes art & craft with science, helping to educate as well as create.
The Nat Geo Crystal Garden is a set to colour and grow crystal covered trees. It comes with enough in the box to grow two crystal covered trees.
In the box is:
- Tree Bases (x2)
- Cardboard Evergreen Tree and Cherry Tree (1 of each)
- 5 Washable Markers
- 2 Packs of Crystal Growing Liquid
- 1x Geode Specimen
- Learning Guide
The Nat Geo Crystal Garden allows children (aged 8 years plus) to colour two trees in whatever colour, or mix of colours, they want and when the trees start to crystalise the crystals will be in the colours used.
As this is a science experiment as well as a craft activity, we recommend that before starting you read ALL the rules and safety instructions in the instruction manual and wash your hands before starting (this is to stop any bacteria growth, prolonging the life of your crystal garden). After all, to be a good scientistic, washing your hands is a very important rule.
The first thing we did after reading the rules and instructions was to find a nice clean working area and laid out all the materials. We made sure that it was also a space that we could safely leave our completed trees as they are very fragile.
The first step was for the children to colour in the two parts of the cardboard trees. As we have two kids in the house, they coloured in one each. They trees are very different shapes (Evergreen Tree and Cherry Tree). The set comes with five small washable marker pens allowing the kids to colour the trees in a variety of colours and in any way they wanted. Each had their own unique design.
Once the trees were designed and coloured to their satisfaction, we helped them separate the tips and spread the branches out to give a better surface area and assembled the trees by slotting the two pieces together and placing them in the centre of the plastic tree bases. This created two very colourful 3d trees.
The next part required adult supervision as it involved a chemical with the crystal growing liquid (Potassium Phosphate Monobasic). The kit is supplied with two bags, one full bag for each tree. The liquid is poured over the tip of the tree with any remaining liquid poured into the tree base. Once done, we left it alone to do its magic.
It doesn’t take long to start working. After approx. 30 minutes or so some crystals had already started to form on each tree and they were looking good, bright and colourful. The full process should take somewhere between 6 to 8 hours. When the process has finished both trees were in full colourful bloom and they looked incredibly stunning!
The kids were over the moon with the colourful crystal covered trees that matched the colours they had originally decorated the cardboard tree with.
As I have already mentioned, the trees are quite fragile and once they tried to move them the crystals did start to fall off. It is an activity that can’t be kept and displayed and you can safely throw it in the bin when finished with. So that you have a reminder of your experiment a geode (a rock with minerals/crystals in it) is supplied with the kit.
With the kit is also a very informative learning guide that tells you what crystals are, how they are formed and how they are used (in jewellery making, or even being used in electronic equipment).
Whether you are looking for an arts & crafts or STEM activity for pleasure or part of your home schooling the Nat Geo Crystal Garden covers both, and it is quite good fun. Whilst it is technically a science experiment more than a craft activity it is very engaging and educational and you are actually creating something, even if it doesn’t last very long. The kids now want to try out the National Geographic Crystal Growing Lab.
National Geographic produce some very educational sets and the Crystal Garden is very good for teaching how crystals grow and how they can get their colours, and just looks cool.
Available to buy from Argos here.