There are some great opportunities for holiday STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) learning activities and vocabulary building while the kids are home for the holidays. Children become scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by asking questions, predicting, observing, analyzing, and learning from their failures.
As with any season, winter is an opportune time to learn more about weather. Let’s look at the winter weather words and some fun STEM activities that you can do with your kids to reinforce these words:
- wind chill
- Aurora Borealis
- black ice
Imagine all the engaging STEM activities you can do to learn these words in-depth! Activities such as:
- Taking a nature walk. Observe the weather and your surroundings. What do you see, smell, hear, and feel? Draw or photograph the different weather you see in your at-home STEM journal.
- Using edible materials or play dough to engineer a den for your winter animals to hibernate.
- Recording the temperatures on an outside thermometer for seven days in both Fahrenheit and Celsius during the morning, afternoon, and evening. Find the average temperature for each day as well as for the entire week. Graph your results using a line graph in your STEM journal.
- Looking on YouTube for videos about the Aurora Borealis, blizzards, sleet, snow, and black ice. Pick one or more to explore more in-depth. Check out books at the library or research online.
- Finding magnified images of snowflakes. Aren’t they amazing? Then make your own snowflakes out of paper and out of Borax.
- Making icicles. Try dripping water so that it will freeze. Experiment making different designs.
- Seeing with what liquids will freeze and what will not freeze. Does it matter what kind of container they are in? Predict how fast your frozen liquids will melt once you bring them inside. Record all your observations in your STEM journal.
- Making black ice – in a safe place, of course!
Add wildlife and environmental words to expand the above list of winter words:
- fir tree
Try some of these activities to explore winter animal behavior and nature:
- Observe what happens to pine trees when cut and indoors. Write what you notice each day using as many of your five senses as you can.
- Find out what animals hibernate during winter. Then use edible materials or play dough to engineer a den for those winter animals.
- Research what animals migrate during winter. Plot on a map where three different animal groups go.
- Find fun pinecone experiments on Pinterest. Pinecones are open during winter, and on the ground. Can you find out why?
- Observe the animals, including birds, in your own backyard. Use binoculars and keep track in your STEM journal of each animal. Make bird feeders to provide an easy food source for the birds.
- Look for animal tracks in the snow. See if you can match the tracks to the specific animal, even if it’s your own pet! Sketch in your STEM journal.
Make up your own activities or take our ideas and adapt to your child’s age and interest. Keep in mind to utilize active, hands-on learning with plenty of visual support so that children understand and remember every new concept.
Winter is a visual and tactile playground for gaining STEM skills and knowledge. Enjoy the many delights of the season and happy holidays!