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.
This is such a fun fall activity for children to use their brains! You can even add a sensory aspect depending on the sink/float items you choose.
Fall items you can use:
- red and green apples
- mini pumpkins
- fake leaves (but you could use real ones, too, of course)
- pine cones
- stones and gems
- craft store rattan balls
- egg carton pieces
To start off the science experiment, have kids think about which items on the tray will float and which items will sink. If you’re doing this activity with multiple children, make a list of who thinks what items will float/sink so you can compare later.
Have children start experimenting! Some might be surprised about their predictions. Ask them why they thought an item would sink/float and help them find the reason why it actually floats/sinks.
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!