Are you crazy at your house yet? All over the world, children are focused on Christmas coming – but that doesn’t mean the learning has to stop! In fact, Christmas is an excellent time to focus on STEM / STEAM experiments. Holiday STEAM experiments can make your winter break more fun and keep your kids learning all year long.
Dissolving Candy Canes
You may have tried counting how many licks it takes to dissolve a candy cane, but have you ever tested out different types of liquids to see which ones dissolve those sweet treats the fastest? In this Christmas STEM experiment, you can use cold water, hot water, oil, and vinegar (in separate containers) and drop a mini candy cane into each. Or choose a liquid that you have on hand to add to the experiment. Keep track of your data and see which one dissolves the fastest!
Ooblek Christmas Trees
What is Ooblek, you ask? Simply put, it’s a concoction of cornstarch and water that is solid when you touch it quickly but that goes “liquidy”’ when you touch it slowly. It’s a fascinating material for kids and you can make it with
ingredients you likely already have on hand! (For more on Ooblek, read Bartholomew and the Ooblek by Dr. Seuss.) First, make Ooblek (2 C cornstarch and ¾ C of water, which you can dye with food coloring for extra fun) and use some small, fake Christmas trees (the kind you’d use for a model train set). Set the trees up in a line or “forest” and start dripping Ooblek on them! They’ll look as though they’re covered in snow if you didn’t dye the water. It may look nasty to you, but your kids will play with this for hours and think you’re the best!
Gummy Bear Osmosis
This is one of the most popular STEAM experiments on our site and is certain to wow your kids! Gather together a bag of Christmas gummy bears or pull the green and red bears out of a regular bag. You’ll need 12 gummy bears in total. Separate them (they can be together, just separated from the rest of the bears) and create a sheet of paper with the following headings: Salt, Milk, Sugar, Plain Water, Baking Soda, and Plain Vinegar. For each heading, you’ll need a container (a small dixie cup will do, preferably the type you can see through). Pour some of each solution into a cup, then add a gummy bear to the cup. Let sit for 12 hours and compare your results to a gummy bear that wasn’t dropped into solution.
3D Christmas Tree STEAM Experiment
This STEAM activity lets your little engineers design their own tree! To get started, cut out three triangles (however big you want your final tree) that are the same size. Fold each in half and then glue the centerfolds together, making sure the bottoms are all aligned so the tree will stand on its own. While you wait for them to dry, do the same with three yellow star shapes (cut three, fold in half, then glue the center) and glue to the top of your tree. When the tree is completely dry, it’s time to decorate it! Here are a few favorite suggestions: you can either punch holes in it and let your child weave ribbon through the holes, or you can glue on pom-poms, glitter glue, sequins, and anything else sparkly and fun!
Does Snow Sink or Float?
This simple STEAM activity is easy enough you can involve your preschoolers. All you’ll need are two bowls the
same size. Fill each bowl with the same amount of water making sure you fill one with cold water and the other with warm water. If you want, you can color the snow to make it more visible before pouring it into your bowls. Then, simply scoop the snow into your bowls (doing one spoonful at a time to make sure your experiments are equal) and observe what happens!
Looking for even more fun homeschool STEAM experiments? Check out these science experiments that are sure to bring loads of holiday fun!!
Tasha is a homeschooling mom to 5 and has been homeschooling for 14 years. Currently, her children's ages span from toddler to young adult. Tasha has a Bachelor's of Science degree in Social Sciences from Florida State University and is working on her MBA through SNHU/Berklee School of Music.