Looking for ideas to keep children interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Electronics, and Math) in these cold winter months?
Here are 2 easy and fun winter STEM activities to try!
Growing Ice Experiment
Place unopened bottles of water in your freezer and leave them there for about 2 hours and 45 minutes.
While you wait for your water bottles to cool, prep a work station with a container of ice. You can use a cup, bowl, or tray of ice.
After the 2 hours and 45 minutes, your water should not be frozen. Gently carry the water to your work station. Do not shake, bump, or disturb the water as it will freeze.
Slowly pour the water onto the ice in the container. The ice should freeze the water on impact and create “growing ice”!
The reason the water instantly turns to ice is because the water in the bottles is VERY close to freezing and when it touches the already frozen ice, it sends it over the edge!
Arctic Blubber Experiment
Have children put their bare hands in a bowl of icy water for as long as they can (up to 30 sec.).
Once their hand is dry, put a rubber glove on their hand and make a fist.
Layer the fist with lots of canned shortening.
Place plastic wrap over the hand and shortening to create a seal.
Have child put their hand back in the water and feel the temperature difference.
Explain that arctic animals have a layer of blubber that keep them warm in icy conditions.
How to Build Structures with Candy Pumpkins for a Halloween STEM Challenge
This is a very easy activity with limitless possibilities! It relies on creativity, imagination, and a little STEM thrown in! As they build, they’ll count and measure, using tons of math without even realizing it. There is so much trial and error involved it’s great for scientific thinking!
- Gummy Pumpkin Candy
Let the children make their own buildings and structures or ask them to build specific shapes using a certain number of pumpkins and toothpicks!
From the vibrant color to the odd shapes and textures, kids love to play with pumpkins in the fall! With pumpkins, children can explore almost every sense including sight, touch, smell, and taste!
- Provide a variety of small pumpkins and gourds along with a magnifying glass. Have children examine the textures, shapes, and colors of the pumpkins and gourds. Have them point out differences and similarities.
- Have the children predict whether a pumpkin will sink or float. Then drop a pumpkin into water to discover that it does float. It is hollow inside and the trapped air keeps it from sinking.
- Explore the inside of a pumpkin to learn more about seeds, fibers, and pumpkin meat. Have the kids feel the stringy texture (this is awesome for sensory play).
- You can even bake the pumpkin seeds and add salt or cinnamon sugar for a unique treat!
- Guess how many seeds a pumpkin has inside! Collect and count the seeds taken from a cut pumpkin.
- Guess how much a pumpkin weighs, make predictions and then use a scale to determine its weight.
- Cut out several pumpkins ranging in size from small to large. Have the children place the pumpkins in order from smallest to largest. (PRC has 4 sizes of pumpkin die-cuts)
- Have children draw faces on orange colored paper plates only using shapes they have learned about (squares, triangles, rectangles, circles).
- Pass several pumpkins around the classroom and have the children examine the size, color, shape, and texture of each one. Have them draw detailed pictures of the pumpkins.
- Provide dried pumpkin seeds, glue, and 1-2 inch pieces of orange yarn for children to create their own pumpkin insides.
- Pumpkin Suncatchers-grate pieces of orange crayon and place between 2 pieces of waxed paper. Place a cloth over the paper and iron. Cut out a pumpkin shape and hang in a sunny window.