Whilst exploring crystals, my eldest daughter and I got into a discussion about different states of matter. This ended up with me trying to explain atoms to a four-year-old. My artistic skills were put to the ultimate test, as inevitably I was going to have to draw a picture. Nearly everything for a four-year-old princess has to be accompanied with a picture.

So we reached for the nearest pen, and came up with this beauty.


We then went on to discuss more about crystals, and how some solids have the atoms organised randomly, and some are very structured. We’re now growing some salt crystals, which have started to form in cubes. They grow very slowly, though, so this may take some weeks to come up with anything decent.

2 Thoughts on “States of matter for a four-year-old?”

  • If you want to grow some truly impressive crystals, buy some Silver Nirate off Amazon and create a solution with that and some deionized water. Suspend some bare copper wire (get create and twist it into some sort of interesting shape like a tree) in the solution and over the next few days the copper will replace the silver in solution, turning the liquid bright blue, but also growing lovely silver crystals on the copper 🙂

    Result: http://www.unitednuclear.com/tree.jpg

  • That looks cool, thanks. It actually started out from being given a ‘magic crystal tree’ for Christmas, so I thought we’d begin with the stuff in the house, and then maybe expand from there. I’ll take a look at your suggestion! The tree was pretty impressive, though very delicate when complete (‘a few months it said’, not thinking about it being poked by a four year old; a few hours more like). I did manage to get a time-lapse video, which will hopefully go up soon.

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