Review: Magic Rocks by Smithsonian
Grow Magic Rocks - Fast!
If like me, you are looking for a great little science experiment to do with the kids where you will see results quite fast, then you too should head down to Kmart and pick yourself up the Magic Rocks by Smithsonian.
The Smithsonian Magic Rocks is a Metal Salt science experiment for kids where you place the magic rocks and solution in a small clear tank (supplied) and watch them grow. It says on the instructions to leave them for a total of 12 hours, but you will see most of the growth in the first few hours.
What's In the Box
The Smithsonian Magic Rocks from Kmart comes with the following:
Tank: A clear tank where you can watch all the action.
Magic Solution: Sodium Silicate. The liquid you mix with water to put in the tank.
Magic Rocks: The small coloured rocks made from Metallic Salts that you place in the bottom of the tank.
Background Picture: A picture of the solar system to stick behind the tank for looks.
Stickers: A sheet of stickers to stick where you like.
Whats NOT included in the Box?
Not everything is in the box. You will need a few common things from around the house:
Safety Gear: Gloves and safety glasses to protect yourself.
Stirring stick: Something to stir the solution preferably made of wood.
Warm Water: You mix this with the Sodium Silicate solution for the tank.
Mixing Jug: A glass jug to mix the solution, greater than 1.2 litres.
Wax Paper: Just to put over your surface to protect it from the solution.
Paper Towel: To clean up spills.
Soapy Water: The only think to neutralise the solution.
How to Grow the Magic Rocks
These magic rocks/crystals grow really fast. You will even be able to watch them grow with your naked eye. Within 10 mins you will see the vertical rocks start to form, and within an hour they are not far off full height.
You will need to read the included instructions carefully, and we suggest understanding the whole process before you start.
In summary, you will need to mix the Sodium Silicate provided with water. Then, pour it carefully into the tank. Then, break up the provided magic rocks (Metallic Salts) and place them in the bottom of the tank without letting them settle on the sides of the tank.
That's all you need to do, then just watch them grow. Initially they grow really fast, and you can even see them grow with the naked eye. After a while, they will slow down.
Time Lapse of Magic Rocks
Want to see these rocks grow? We created a time lapse video, and you can read more here: Smithsonian Magic Rocks Time Lapse.
If you have a spare $15 AU lying around, this is a pretty good experiment. Kids will love it, and it doesn't take too long to see the Magic Rocks appear.
The instruction manual, which you can download below includes a very good description of what is going on during the growing phase. It is educational and fun.
We rate the Smithsonian Magic Rocks from Kmart a 4.5 out of 5.
Documents & Downloads
A time lapse of the Magic Rocks by Smithsonian growing. Including an awesome macro close up time lapse.