08 Dec Winter STEM Activities
Do the winter doldrums have you feeling down? Try one of the following science activities that are perfect for cold, snowy days!
Chilly States of Matter
Grab three identical jars or containers. Fill one with water, one with ice cubes, and one with snow. Set them on a counter or table and wait for the ice and snow to melt. While you wait, make some predictions:
- Which will melt faster, the ice cubes or the snow?
- Which will produce the most liquid?
The final result of this experiment may surprise you!
Winter Nature Walk
Pick a sunny, wintery day, bundle up well, and take the family for a walk outside in your neighborhood, a park, or on a trail. Use your senses to really experience your time in nature. Do you see any animal tracks or people’s footprints? How does the cold wind feel on your face? Can you hear different sounds than you might hear on a summer day? If it’s snowy and your kids are small, consider pulling them on a sled. That way they won’t have to focus so hard on walking through the snow, and can better observe what’s happening around them.
Make an Ice Sculpture
Pour water into different sized and shaped containers like plastic cups or bowls, shaped ice-cube trays, or silicone cupcake liners. Add food coloring to some or all to create ice in different colors, then place the containers in the freezer. Once frozen, you can combine your different-shaped ice blocks into a sculpture. Just make sure to take a picture before it melts!
Create Salt Crystal Snowflakes
First, cut out a paper snowflake. Then, make a saturated saltwater solution by adding salt one tablespoon at a time to hot water (the hotter the water, the more salt you will be able to add). When your solution won’t hold any more salt, it’s ready! Place the paper snowflake in a tray or dish with high sides, then pour the saltwater solution over it just until it’s covered. Now it’s time to watch and wait as the water evaporates and salt crystals form on your snowflake. Be patient, because this process can take a few days!
If you think these activities sound fun, you can find more like them in the following books available from PGTPL:
Curious about Snow by Gina Shaw
Outdoor Science Lab for Kids by Liz Lee Heinecke
Science Experiments at Home by Susan Martineau
Mason Jar Science by Jonathan Adolph
Ideas in this post inspired by www.littlebinsforlittlehands.com and www.steampoweredfamily.com.