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How to Make Sparkly Salt Crystal Pumpkins for Kids

Fall means pumpkins, acorns, fall leaves, and all things autumnal. Bring the science to fall when you learn how to make salt crystal pumpkins! This is one of our favorite crystal experiments for the fall.

Giving regular science experiments a fun seasonal twist is one of our favorite ways to bring science and STEM to life!

Easy tutorial to make salt crystal pumpkins! Just 2 ingredients and one day and you will have glittery, crystal-covered pumpkins!

How to Make Salt Crystal Pumpkins

This particular salt crystal pumpkins science experiment is a classroom-friendly science activity that shows the basics of crystals, ionic bonds, and evaporation.

This simple activity can be the baseboard for multiple science lessons.

One of my favorite parts of teaching is creating fun seasonal learning activities for my kiddos, like how to make salt crystals for kids!

perfect salt crystal experiment

Follow along to make your own salt crystal pumpkins.

How to Make Large Salt Crystal Pumpkins

Fall STEM activities are a fun way to bring STEM activities and learning into the classroom during the fall season, mixing learning with elements of the season.

crystal science worksheet

The secret to getting large salt crystals is two things. Time and amount of salt.

The more salt you add to your solution, the more supersaturated it becomes. A supersaturated solution makes bigger crystals than a solution with less saturation.

I always add enough salt to my water so that it starts to form a crystal sheet (it looks like ice!) across the surface of the boiling water.

That’s when you know that the solution has become supersaturated and will make large salt crystals.

how to make salt crystals for kids

Next, is time. The longer you leave your pumpkins in your saltwater solution, the bigger the crystals will get.

I find that about 2 days is ideal for producing the largest salt crystals. After that. most of the salt is pulled out of the water and they don’t usually get bigger.

But, you should experiment with how long you leave it in the water and see if you get the same results!

More Pumpkin Activities for Kids

Super Fun and Easy Crystal Science Fair Projects

10 Pumpkin Science Experiments for Elementary Kids

11 Books about Pumpkins for Preschool (with a STEM twist!)

Pumpkin Volcano Experiment for Kids

Pumpkin Life Cycle Activity

crystal stem worksheet

What is a Salt Crystal and How Do Salt Crystals Form?

A salt crystal is a grouping of salt molecules bond together through ionic bonding. Ionic bonding occurs when a positively charged ion forms a bond with a negatively charged ion and one atom transfers electrons to another.

Salt crystals form when a solution of water becomes over-saturated with salt. As the water evaporates, the salt crystals cling to one another, forming large squares of salt, just like are found in nature.

Kids will be fascinated by the ionic bonds that salt makes, creating perfect squares and rectangles every time.

What you’ll need to make large salt crystals:

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How to Do the Salt Crystal Pumpkins Experiment

This fun science activity shows how salt crystals form in a fun fall-themed way. Get the printable step-by-step directions in the box below!

Salt Crystal Pumpkin Experiment Directions

Active Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Difficulty: easy
Estimated Cost: $5


  • Salt
  • Decorative pumpkins
  • Water
  • Plate


  • Stove or hot plate
  • Pot


    1. Boil a cup of water in a small pot.
    2. Add enough salt so that crystals form on the surface of the water. It will look like a sheet of thin ice.
    3. Remove the water from the heat.
    4. Place your pumpkins onto a large plate. 
    5. Pour the salt water over the pumpkins, making sure some of the salt at the bottom of the pan is left on the top of each pumpkin.
    6. Set the plate in a dry location and wait for a few days until the water evaporates. 
    7. Examine the remaining crystals left on the pumpkins.
    8. If you've done the salt crystal leaves or salt crystal apples, compare how the pumpkins have a different appearance.
    9. Why would the crystals form differently under wet and dry conditions?

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