Camp Mom: Rock Candy

photo source: Girl Scouts of NYPENN

A perfect summer activity that combines sun, crafts, AND junk food? SIGN ME UP!!!

Another great find on pinterest, Rock Candy is a great combo of sugar & science.

We discussed how the sugar crystals adhered to the sugared sticks and grew. We also had fun playing with color blending. Our favorites were purple & grellow…my son Brayden’s favorite new color with the funny name (green-yellow).

We’ve been playing more with color recently since we found out B is color blind. I’m using these activities to feel out the depth of the deficiency.

One lesson that I left out in the pursuit of peace was regarding the sun. We’ve been watching a friend from school & I hadn’t realized how much more his would grow in the sunnier spot. If I’d known I would have switched it up a bit for the lesson. As it was, I thought better of pointing out how much smaller Brayden’s were 🙂

A few quick notes & then the recipe/instructions:
-the sugar syrup expands a LOT in the cooking process, so use less than you think. I’d suggest starting with 4 cups of sugar. I ended up with a TON of extra syrup, but it’s perfect for summer iced coffee & iced tea, so it’s not a bad problem to have
-When coloring, you want the color to be VERY dark. They come out a lot lighter.


Prepare your sticks first.  I used wood cookie sticks that I got at Michael’s but you can use  skewers cut in half as well.  Soak them for at least 15 minutes in water & then roll in sugar & set on a paper towel to dry.  They must be completely dry before going in the syrup.

In a sauce pan combine equal parts sugar & water. Bring to a medium boil & then turn down to simmer.  Once all the sugar melts, add more sugar, one cup at a time until the syrup doesn’t want to accept any more sugar.  You’ll notice it taking longer & longer to melt the sugar.  For example, I started with 8 cups of sugar & 8 cups of water & ended up adding 13 additional cups of sugar.  Pour the syrup into your individual jars & let it cool 15 minutes before coloring.

Again, make it much darker than you think you need to.  Once it’s colored, add the sticks using clothespins to suspend them in the syrup.  Make sure they don’t touch the walls or bottom of the glass.  The crystals need room to grow.  Place the jars in a warm sunny spot ….and wait!

They will take 5-7 days to grow a decent amount of candy, but you can leave it longer for even bigger results.  The kids loved checking the progress every day.  It’s fine to pull the sticks out to take a peak.  When they are ready you can quickly run them under cold water to rinse the syrup off  & then enjoy!

Let me know if you make rock candy & how it turns out!

Visit me over at Tara’s Kitchen Sink for more Camp Mom Fun!

Tara is the mother of a funny, charming and extremely handsome 6 year boy.  She is revamping Tara’s Kitchen Sink a bit and getting ready to bring her readers a little bit of everything.  Make sure to follow her when you’re there… you won’t want to miss any of the brilliant things she has to say!



  1. I like your fantastic recipe which is very charming for kids. Just now I’m thinking to learn it and want to make it for kids. Thanks for your nice post.

  2. So does the syrup end up really thick in the end- when you pour it into the jars? How big should the jars be?

    1. If you are familiar with simple syrup, it is much thicker than that. More like cold pancake syrup. The jars just need to be big enough so that the sticks don’t touch the bottom or sides.

  3. Made this today with my daughter and two friends. The four year olds had a blast stirring, adding sugar, and coloring syrup. The eight year old was able to read recipe, and do some simple math with measuring cups etc. I just hope that our syrup was the right consistency! Thanks for the fun post.

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