Now that winter’s in full swing, your kids are probably in serious cabin fever mode. It’s enough to make any parent crazy. After all, you want to keep them busy and occupied, but you might want to limit the time spent in front of the television, right?
If that’s the case, these cool STEM activities are a perfect way for your kids to actually enjoy the winter time. Let’s get started.
What does “STEM” actually mean?
Before we go through some simple and cool winter STEM activities, it might help to know what STEM refers to. It’s an acronym, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. And just as you might be groaning inside thinking that there’s no way you can make science fun for your kids, think again.
STEM activities allow children to develop critical thinking skills while they observe, problem solve, create and experiment. So, to help your children grow and learn even more, here are nine winter STEM activities.
Make your own snow
Even though it’s fun to play outside in the snow, winter elements can make the conditions to harsh for your kids to enjoy the snow for very long.
But with this DIY snow activity, you can make snow right inside your home. All you need is baking soda, hair conditioner, a large pan to hold your snow. You can also use other creative items to play with the snow, like craft eyes, toothpicks and beads.
And what makes this indoor snow fun to do is that it’s not messy and actually pretty easy to clean up.
Build a marshmallow igloo
Perhaps you don’t have enough snow where you live to build a snow fort or an igloo, but your kids can explore their architectural and engineering skills right in your kitchen. All you need is marshmallows (big and small), and lots of toothpicks.
Are there instructions or guides to building an igloo with marshmallows? Nope! It’s a fun way for children to develop ideas, test them and observe the results. Just remember to celebrate their achievements with a warm cup of hot cocoa – you’ve got plenty of marshmallows for it!
Create salt crystal snowflakes
Each little snowflake is like a big work of art – unique, intricate and delicate. But It’s difficult to observe this phenomena since they’re so tiny. But one way to see magical snowflakes is to make these STEM salt crystal snowflakes.
All you need is salt, mason jars, pipe cleaners and clothes pins. It requires some quick supervised activity in the kitchen and then children get to set up their snowflakes to develop over a couple days. The end results are crystal decor your children will be proud of.
Squishy Snowflake circuits
If your child is interested in circuits and electrical engineering this squishy snowflake circuits is a safe way for him to explore and build a circuit of his or her own. You’ll need to pick up some squishy circuits. And you can purchase or make your own play dough and modeling clay.
The end result is a snowflake made of dough (or whatever shape your child decides), which lights up thanks to the circuit your child builds. Your child will be so impressed with his or her first feat in electrical engineering.
Make a Year Wheel
This simple year wheel activity actually involves lots of valuable STEM elements, like basic math skills, as well as engineering and artistic activities, too. Your child will start out with a sturdy paper plate, and with fractions, will divide the “wheel” into four equal parts. Then, each part becomes one of the four seasons.
And your child gets to decide how to represent each quarter with his or her own artistic interpretation. A little engineering savvy will help your child develop a spinning marker.
What’s great about this STEM activity is that you can make it in the winter, but it’s really a year-round tool for your child.
Melting snowman activity
This melting snowman STEM activity focuses on simple chemistry to create slime using ingredients you can pick up at your local grocery store. You can choose to make fluffy slime, borax powder slime, saline solution slime or liquid starch slime. Who knew that there were so many slime options!
Once the slime made, your child gets to build a snowman using basic items like styrofoam balls, buttons, craft items and twigs – but she’ll have to hurry and build the snowman before he starts to melt!
Design your own crystal hearts
Lots of winter STEM activities revolve around the holiday season and winter-themed items, as you can see. But not all of them! This DIY STEM crystal heart activity is much like the “sat crystal snowflakes” activity in #3.
The only difference is that you and your child get to choose what shape your crystals will grow into. These hearts are perfect for Valentin’s Day or as a birthday gift for someone special.
DIY lava lamp
This super easy STEM activity will really wow both you and your children, and probably keep them mesmerized for a long time. This DIY lava lamp requires a clean plastic bottle, water, vegetable oil, some Alka-Seltzer and food coloring. The rest is pretty much history.
And not only is it a fun way to explore chemistry, but it’s also a fun way to test the waters with other formulas.
For example, what happens when you use tonic water instead of regular water? What happens when you change the light in the room? There are lots of fun ways to explore these DIY lava lamps.
STEM Solstice Activity
Your child knows that the seasons have changed and maybe even that the days are darker and shorter than they are in the summer.
With these Solstice Activity, you and your child can explore why this happens by exploring the tilt of the earth and where it is in relation to the sun. It’s an activity that will really open their eyes – and understanding – of our solar system and how our planet fits inside it!
So, there you have it. Nine super easy and very cool winter STEM activities to keep your children curious and engaged.