Educational Summer Activities: Grow A Crystal Garden

kid with magnifying glass

Gardening and growing flowers are wonderful spring and summer activities for children of all ages, but one garden in particular will prove especially magical. In just three days, your child and their Elf can have a dazzling crystal garden. This is activity is not only exciting, but also educational, as it shows children the wonders of science and the natural world. Many recipes for crystal gardens are available, but one of the easiest is found in the wonderful recipe and activity book Feed Me I’m Yours by Vicki Lansky.


  1. Choose a base material (cut up pieces of kitchen sponge, folded paper towels, pieces of cloth/rags)
  2. Four tablespoons water
  3. Four tablespoons salt
  4. Four tablespoons laundry bluing
  5. Four tablespoons ammonia
  6. Food coloring of your choice


Help your child arrange the base material at the bottom of a large dish or bowl (an aquarium or fishbowl also works well). Pour the water and salt over the base material, being sure to spread it out over all of it. Carefully add the laundry bluing and ammonia. As the most exciting step, let your little one pick out their favorite colors and sprinkle the food coloring over the material. This will give the crystals specific colors as they grow.

Allow the mixture to sit overnight, and by the next day your child and their Elf will have the start of a magical crystal garden. The tiny crystals need care to keep growing big and strong, just as flowers do. Help your child repeat the directions every few days, adding more water, salt, ammonia, and bluing to give the crystals “food” to grow. Before long, your child and their Elf will have a thriving crystal garden they can proudly show to all of their friends.

It will amaze your child to learn that crystals just like the ones in their garden are growing every day deep inside caves. To create an even deeper experience, find pictures of caves such as the Cave of Crystals in Mexico to show them the amazing crystal formations found inside. This will spark a genuine interest for your child in the natural world that will only grow over time, just like their crystals.

Lastly, remind your little one how their crystals will need care every day to keep growing. The garden will only stay beautiful as long as the “crystal food” is added every other day. The flowers outside that will eventually have to go away when summer ends, but with proper love and care, your little one’s crystal garden will continue its magic all year round.