Looking for a hands-on activity to enjoy while you study rocks and minerals in your homeschool? You’re going to love this eggshell geodes project inspired by A Rock Is Lively.
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I’m primarily studying zoology with my youngest kiddo this year, but this month’s Nature Book Club topic inspired me to work some rock and mineral-inspired reading into our recent homeschool plans.
That’s where these books about rocks and minerals came into the picture. And, in typical If You Give a Mouse a Cookie fashion, all those books eventually led us to a fun eggshell geodes project.
Before we jump into the instructions for the DIY geodes, here are a few of our favorite rocks and minerals book:
We loved all of those books, but like all of the books we’ve read by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long, A Rock Is Lively stood out among them all. Here’s the Amazon description of this beautiful book:
“From the creators of the award-winning An Egg Is Quiet, A Seed Is Sleepy, A Butterfly Is Patient, and A Nest Is Noisy comes this gorgeous and informative introduction to the fascinating world of rocks. From dazzling blue Lapis Lazuli to volcanic Snowflake Obsidian, an incredible variety of rocks are showcased in all their splendor. Poetic in voice and elegant in design, this book introduces an array of facts, making it equally perfect for classroom sharing and family reading. “
It’s a truly lovely book indeed, but as lovely as it is, it’s equally engaging and informative. And, while we loved reading about all the different kinds of rocks and how they form, we were particularly fascinated by the pages about geodes.
Despite the fact that we’ve grown our own crystals several times before with these crystal growing kits, we thought it would be fun to try a new method. When I found this Easter activity from KiwiCo, I decided eggshell geodes would be a cool experiment for us.
DIY Eggshell Geodes
Now that you know what inspired us to make our own eggshell geodes, we invite you to try it too. Here are the supplies you’ll need:
- Clean and dry eggshells
- Borax powder
- Food coloring
- Heat proof cups or jars (jelly jars work well!)
- White glue
- Craft sticks
Step 1 – Preparing the Shells
The first step to growing eggshell geodes is to prepare your eggshells. I saw several tutorials that recommend blowing out the egg, but you can also crack them like normal (that’s what we did). If you go this route, try to create a cup for your geode by keeping at least ¾ of the shell intact. We didn’t achieve this with all of ours, but we tried!
Once we cracked our eggs, we removed the yolks, whites, and membranes. Then we carefully rinsed our shells with warm water and let them dry.
I recommend doing this step the night before if possible. Doing it in advance will lessen the make the main prep time go a bit quicker.
Love projects like this, but hate gathering the supplies?
You’re not alone! That’s why I love KiwiCo boxes. They make it super easy to get hands-on in our homeschool. The Doodle Crates and Tinker Crates are our favorites, but all of their options are fantastic!
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Step 2 – Prepare the Solution
The next step is to prepare the crystal solution. You can do this in one batch on the stovetop or in individual cups in the microwave. Either way will work, but both require your full supervision. In fact, you may prefer to do this step while your kiddos watch.
To prepare the solution in one batch, add one cup of water and 4 tablespoons of borax for each shell to a sauce pan.
Use low to medium heat on your stovetop to heat the solution. Stir the solution gently until the borax is completely dissolved. Once it’s dissolved, remove it from your stovetop and allow it to cool.
You can also prepare the solution in the microwave by adding 1 cup of water and 4 tablespoons of borax to a microwavable jar. Heat the solution for 2-3 minutes, stopping every 30 seconds to stir.
When the borax is dissolved, set the jar aside and allow the solution to cool to room temperature. You’ll need to repeat this process as needed to create enough individual solution jars for each eggshell you plan to use.
Step 3 – Coat the Eggshell Cups
Now that the stovetop step is out of the way, the kids can jump back in and take charge again. While the solution cools, coat the eggshell cups with glue and borax. To do this, use an old paintbrush to gently “paint” the insides and tops of the shells with white glue.
When the inside of each eggshell cup is completely covered with glue, sprinkle borax inside the shell and on the outer rims of the cups. Be generous with the borax on this step, but gently shake out any that doesn’t stick to the glue.
When the insides and rims are thoroughly coated with glue and borax, set them aside and allow them to dry. It’s entirely possible your solution will still be cooling at this point, so feel free to take a walk and come back to the project in a bit.
Step 4 – Let Them Grow!
You’re nearly done with your geodes at this point! When your eggshell cups are dry and your solution has cooled, you can prepare the individual cups (or jars) for crystallization.
If you prepared your solution in individual jars, simply stir in drops of liquid food coloring to your solution as desired. If you prepared your solution in a batch, distribute it evenly among your cups and then add food coloring to the individual cups.
When you’re happy with the solution color, gently add one eggshell to each cup. If needed, you can use a craft stick to fully submerge the shell in your cup.
Leave them alone for at least 12 hours once they’re submerged in the solution. Overnight is generally long enough to let them grow, but you can wait longer if you want to try growing bigger crystals.
Step 5 – Enjoy!
Once the crystals have grown, use a craft stick to remove the eggshells from your solution. Drain any remaining solution from the insides of the eggshells. Then place them on a paper towel and allow them to dry. Once they’re dry, display them however you wish.
From Eggshells to Geodes: the Science Behind It
Curious about the science behind this project? See this Wikipedia entry for a full explanation on crystallization and Science Bob’s science fair instructions to learn how the water temperature impacts the Borax crystals and creates the geodes.
Nature Book Club – Monthly Linkup
We loved experimenting with our eggshell geodes, but we’re also excited to take a look at the other book-inspired ideas happening through The Nature Book Club. This month is all about rocks, gems, and fossils and you’re going to love all of these nature ideas! Let’s take a look:
- There Are Rocks in My Socks Online Book Club inspired by “There Are Rocks in My Socks,” said the Ox to the Fox from Dachelle at Hide the Chocolate
- Fossil Exploration inspired by Fossils by Aliki from Thaleia at Something 2 Offer
- Rock Cycle Game inspired by The Street Beneath My Feet from Karyn at Teach Beside Me
- Growing Eggshell Geodes inspired by A Rock Is Lively from Emily at Table Life Blog (That’s me!)
- Free Unit Study Resource Round Up from Jenny at HSEduFreeMarket
September Theme: Rocks, Gems & Fossils
Nature Book Club is a monthly linkup beginning on the 20th day of each month.
It’s a monthly book club devoted to connecting children to nature. There is a theme for each month and we welcome your nature book and activity related links!