Celebrate winter with some cool STEM Activities!
Around December 20 or 21 we celebrate the Winter Solstice every year. The shortest day of the year and officially the first day of winter. Living in Canada winter is a big part of our lives. Maybe not always a favourite, but when winter lasts so long you need to embrace it! To celebrate I have pulled together some of my favourite Winter STEM Activities. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Of course we love to spice things up a bit and include the A for STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. I’ve chosen a wide variety of articles and activities that touch on various pillars of STEM, while maintaining one common theme: WINTER! Mix and match to create your perfect Winter STEM lesson plans!
Winter STEM Activities
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I know these lists can get a little long and hard to navigate. To make things easier I’ve organized the winter STEM activities into the following categories based on their dominate lesson: Science, Engineering, Technology, Math, plus true STEM that includes extensive use of at least two of the pillars.
Before we get started though, I have some activities that celebrate and explore the seasons. Happy winter learning!
Winter STEM Activities – SEASONS
Build a Wheel of the Year – This activity is a wonderful hands-on learning exercise that kids absolutely love! The final product can be used over and over again. It is a wonderful STEM activity that incorporates fractions (dividing into quarters), art (choosing imagery to reflect the seasons), plus engineering (ensuring that it spins).
Solstice Science – Explore how and why our day lengths change throughout the year as we move from summer solstice to winter solstice.
Four Seasons Compound Words Code Breakers – This fun activity helps kids develop critical thinking and decoding skills, while also building vocabulary specific to the seasons.
STEM & STEAM ACTIVITIES
Ice Lanterns – Engineering an Ice Lantern is a fantastic STEAM activity for winter, especially if you live in cold climates. It incorporates science (states of matter and expansion as water transitions to solid form), engineering, and art to make beautiful final results you can display with pride.
STEM Challenge – How Does Salt Affect Ice? – In this fascinating challenge, we go beyond just seeing that salt helps to melt ice and can be used to create frost, but we use a little technology to record and measure the effects while manipulating variables. A fantastic inquiry based learning experience with spectacular results.
Confetti Cannon – Winter comes with a lot of great celebrations and what is better at a celebration that your very own confetti cannon!
Simple Snow Science – If you fill jars with equal amounts of ice, snow and water, do they really have the same amount of H2O? Find out in this simple science project that often surprises kids with the results!
Melting Snowman Oobleck Challenge – This is such a fun science challenge! Fantastic for doing in teams. Challenge your students to make a snowman with Oobleck. It’s a fast paced science experiment where kids work hard to keep up the pressure, and keep that snowman solid, while placing his button eyes and carrot nose!
Frozen Oobleck – Continue your exploration of our favourite non-Newtonian Fluid by creating frozen Oobleck and having some icy cold science fun.
Make It Snow – This is an amazing experiment that can only be done under very specific weather conditions. But when those conditions are right, it’s spectacular! Plus kids get to learn about the super cool Mpemba Effect.
Crystal growing – The winter months bring wonderful icy crystal formations as frost and icicles cover the world around us. You can grow your own crystals with this alum crystal experiment that looks like frost, or take it up a notch and grow yourself some gigantic crystals using this secret.
Frozen Bubbles – I am so excited that we finally mastered the frozen bubble challenge! After all of our trial, error and much research into the science behind the perfect frozen bubble, I am beyond excited to share with you all the secrets behind making the perfect frozen bubble!
Winter Play Dough is a fun project teaching kids about the science behind a playtime favourite! Learn how play dough gets it fun texture as you make this DIY play dough recipe, then challenge them to engineer and build a winter themed project.
Crush a Bottle with Science – Can you crush a pop bottle? Can you crush a pop bottle using nothing but your mind (and a little science)? Part science, part magic trick, this activity will have your kids out enjoying the cold weather.
Bath Bomb Chemistry – Winter is a fantastic time to embrace some of the most interesting STEAM projects we have ever done… bath bomb making! The creativity on these is endless. Plus the chemistry lessons are fascinating. Learn about acid-base reactions, emulsifiers and surfactants! Some of our favourite winter bath bomb recipes are Snowball Bath Bombs and Winter Storm Icicle Bath Bombs.
Winter Crystal Science – This is a straight out of the box Chemistry Lab from MEL Science that includes some fascinating experiments with wintery crystal growing. You even get to make your own instant snow! So cool!
Winter Lava Lamps – A fun twist on the traditional homemade lava lamp experiment, incorporating a wintery theme there are a few different variations you can try. Snow storms in a jar or Snowflake Lab.
Expanding Snowman – This one may get messy as your snowman gets bigger and bigger and bigger through a simple chemical reaction.
Google Maps Challenge – Using Google Maps, take a guess where in the world you think it might be snowy. Then zoom around the world through Google Maps and check out the satellite or street view. Were you right? Now check the photos from that area. Are there any snowy pictures? Try another place!
Photography or Videography Challenge – Do you have a young photographer or videographer? Why not take them outside on a snowy but sunny day and have them try to to capture some images. What happens? How can you adjust for the overexposure issues?
NatGeo for Kids has some great information and interactive content for learning about our wintery months.
Research all about the Winter Solstice with Earth Sky.
Spinning Snowflake STEM Card – Kids will love engineering these cards that include a snowflake that spins when the card is opened! A little engineering, a little physics, one WOW Worthy card!
Snow Dough Sensory Science – Not cold enough or snowy enough where you live for some of these science experiments? Try our Snow Dough! This is a fun indoor snowman building challenge using our special, ultra silky moon dough recipe, reimagined into Snow Dough. Build a snowman without the chilly fingers!
Ice Engineering – Build your own ice sculptures and explore the many properties of ice with this cool kit. What amazing sculptures can you create with ice?
Ice Magnifying Glass – Engineer a magnifying glass from ice with this great tutorial.
Catch Snowflakes – Engineer a super simple solution that will allow you to catch snowflakes and examine them without melting. Brilliant!
Snowman Math Logic Puzzles – These cute snowmen are all dressed up for the holidays and ready for some logic math fun inspired by Suduko. Includes free printable.
Place Value Snowmen – My oldest struggles with place value. For some reason this is a concept that simply doesn’t make sense to him and is requiring a lot of repetition and practice. These activity is perfect for a little winter practice on a snowy, wintery day.
Symmetrical Snowflakes – Are you teaching patterning and symmetry? This math activity explores these concepts while also teaching one of the most beautiful aspects of snowflakes, their natural symmetry.
Winter Books for Kids
Happy Winter Solstice! And all the best with your Winter STEM Activities!