With STEM becoming a higher priority in education today, facilitators want enriching activities for winter camps and educational programs. One quick Pinterest search will reveal that there are plenty of winter-themed crafts and projects available for kids. But what about more in-depth builder activities, engineering projects, and robotics lessons?
Keep reading for a list of experiments that encourage technical skills learning. Here are some fun winter break activity ideas for students interested in STEM.
STEM Maker Activities
The makerspace is a newer concept in education that encourages hands-on learning through physical building and making. Makerspace activities often involve guided, playful projects that allow students to explore their “maker” side.
From designing and drawing to constructing and re-assembling, makerspaces exist to inspire kids to develop real-world skills. Here are some maker activities for winter break!
Paper circuits combine electronics, technology, and crafts to produce light-up drawings from a few everyday materials. Using copper tape, batteries, and some LED lights, students get creative and learn how to wire their own circuits.
Put the STEAM in steamboats with this DIY project where kids build their own boat and see what scientific elements can power it across the water. Ideal for older students in grades 4 and up, there’s a little bit of carpentry and creativity involved before students test their hypotheses.
Marble Maze Craft
Math, physics, and engineering come into play with this DIY marble maze. Students measure out a maze on a piece of cardboard and then glue plastic straws or sticks to form a maze boundary. Once the maker aspect is complete, students get to play with their marble maze and see who can clear each other’s first.
Stop Motion Videos
Teach the dynamics of stop-motion videos through a winter storytelling project. Grab some toys or have students make their own caricatures out of clay, changing every motion for the next frame.
Easy 9V Battery Car
For a maker lesson focused on building and robotics, this simple 9V battery car activity is a great way to ease students into more challenging STEM projects. All it takes is a 9-volt battery, some recycled bottle caps, wire, and other household items.
Engineering Activities for Winter Break
Here are some engineering projects to get students thinking, designing, and building some amazing structures in an educational environment.
Build a Bubble Wand
Explore geometry and trigonometry in a hands-on way: facilitate a bubble wand-building activity. Students learn the science of surface tension, construction, and learning from mistakes as they adjust their designs made out of straws, pipe cleaners, and other flat objects.
DIY Hydraulic Machines
This challenging but super fun project teaches kids all about engineering by building hydraulic machines from scratch. Using craft sticks, rubber bands, dowels, cable ties, and more, students observe the basics of friction and hydraulic power.
DIY Slingshot Launcher
What kid doesn’t want to play with slingshots? Now, they can build their own. With some rubber bands, wood dowel rods, and 3D printed shapes, students design and assemble ping pong ball launchers to use and observe across the classroom.
Using plastic straws, a hole puncher, and some wooden skewers, students can create their own mechanical hands that move like complex gadgets. This project demonstrates how tendons, bones, and referral movements operate in the real world. It also reveals how robots can mimic lifelike engagement.
Life Size Igloo Forts
As a group, build some exciting igloo forts out of recycled gallon jugs and milk cartons. Teach students about the benefits of planning a design before building. Or you can let students practice problem-based learning through trial and error as they discover how to properly build structures that last.
LEGO® Candy Machines
Remember Pez candies? Kids can create their own with the help of a supervisor or STEM facilitator. Using LEGOs, students build unique candy dispensers that release one candy at a time. Plus, they can build elaborate designs to mimic the Pez candy machines, complete with animal heads, unicorns, or whatever creature they prefer.
STEM Robotics Activities for Winter
Robotics is a huge field in STEM careers today, and it’s no wonder that kids love these projects that truly come to life. There are many ways to build robots in the classroom using affordable common materials, both electronic and strictly mechanical.
Making wobblebots is an introductory project to robotics, and students love how cute they are. With supplies such as batteries, old CDs, recycled lids, wire, and googly eyes, students assemble mini bots that wobble when they move across the room.
These DIY dancing robots flip, tumble, and turn! This is a slightly more advanced robotics activity that students can do in groups or on their own. With a focus on electronics and aerodynamics, supplies include electrical items for creating the motors and crafts items for personalizing each robot.
Combine robotics, electronics, and environmentalism with this project: recycled robots. Trash-to-treasure bots or “junk bots” challenge students to use their creativity for resourcing materials and then follow instructions for building something functional in the classroom.
Build Your Own Mini Drone
You don’t need any expensive equipment to start flying drones with students. In fact, they can build their own mini drones from scratch. Make it a two-part project by dividing the class into two groups: drone builders and drone pilots. Rotate positions so every student gets a chance to experience both important roles.
Assemble a Robot Gripper
Grippers are some of the most essential components of robotics, no matter what industry or purpose a robot is used for. This advanced lesson teaches middle school students to build a gripper using plastic parts, a motor, and digital programmable devices. Consider buying the parts in bulk so all students in the program or class can participate in the wonders of robotics.
Drone Winter Camp Programs for STEM Enablement
Whether you run an afterschool program or a temporary winter camp for kids, use any of these activities to enable STEM literacy and development.
At Drone Legends, we support STEM learning for grades 4 through 8 by offering an educational drone curriculum. Many winter camps, clubs, and homeschool groups have used our program to facilitate exciting learning experiences indoors!
Want to learn more about STEM enablement education programs? Join the Drone Legends community of industry experts and drone enthusiasts today.