Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean students have to hit pause on their favorite learning activities. One thing kids love at any time of the year is hands-on learning. Staying indoors and playing in the snow are perfect opportunities to initiate at-home experiments! There are plenty of winter STEM activities to do with your kids or students.
If you loved our Fall STEM activity suggestions for elementary and middle school students, here are more cool ideas for winter.
Kindergarten and Preschool STEM Activities in the Winter
Kids can (and should!) start learning STEM as early as preschool and kindergarten. Young learners will love these easy, kid-friendly activities during the winter months. These will help kids feel, observe, and think about basic science, technology, engineering, and math concepts.
Snowstorm in a Jar
Try this experiment by Little Bins for Little Hands where you can help kids observe the scientific concept of liquid density by creating a snowstorm in a jar. This experiment layers different liquids such as oil, paint, and water, then explores the “storm” effect by adding Alka Seltzer fizzy tablets at the end.
Melting Snowman Science Experiment
With this baking soda snowman experiment, watch as fake snowmen naturally melt over time. Turn it into a sensory play experience for young kids as they touch the snowmen and the melted remains. This project is from Little Bins for Little Hands, a company that encourages STEM learning in early elementary students.
How “Animal Blubber” Works
For an interesting sensory experiment with kindergarteners, demonstrate how arctic animals stay warm in the winter with this DIY blubber activity. Kids compare the difference between putting their bare hands in ice water and then coating their hands with Crisco or lard to observe how it keeps the cold out.
Marshmallow Hot Chocolate Temperature Experiment
Introduce young students to the different ways temperature affects physical materials with this marshmallow hot chocolate experiment. Set up three temperatures of cocoa: hot, warm, and cool. Then, conduct a controlled experiment that allows kids to observe how different-sized marshmallows melt in each cup.
Winter Scents: Matching Game
Help your kiddos explore recognition and their sense of smell with this winter scents activity. Start by collecting various aromatic winter items, such as fresh pine needles, cinnamon sticks, and peppermint candy. Then you can either have students guess the scents from a bottle or see if they can match each scent with the corresponding picture on a board.
Winter STEM Activities: Elementary Students
Here are some adaptive STEM activities and science experiments for kids in 1st through 6th grade. These will engage kids’ observational skills, group learning, and STEM knowledge.
Winter Weather Snowman Gauge
Measure the winter snowfall at your house by creating a snowfall gauge! Conduct a historical weather lesson about snowfall records in your area, then give kids the task of creating a snowman gauge. Have students keep track of the snowfall throughout the rest of the season. They can record snowfall measurements every day, then discuss their findings at the end of winter.
Ice vs Water vs Snow
What’s the difference between ice, snow, and water? Teach elementary students about the various structures of water in the wintertime. This is the perfect activity to do if you live in a snowy area. Set up three jars, each containing one of three items: ice cubes, water, and fresh snow. Compare how quickly each item melts and measure the different water volumes.
Using marshmallows and toothpicks, kids can put their engineering minds to the test and come up with elaborate igloo structures. Start with basic shapes and then advance the igloos into hexagonal, spherical, and tower builds.
Salt and Ice Experiment
Why do people put salt on icy roads? Answer this question through a hands-on activity for kids. This winter salt and ice science experiment is an easy, self-led activity that elementary students can practice to see for themselves why ice adds grit to slippery surfaces.
Polar Bear Ice Caps
Introduce elementary students to the impacts of climate change with a “melting ice caps” demonstration. Engage the creative side of learning by getting kids to build clay polar bears, then ask them to observe them on glaciers. Have them record their findings on paper as the ice melts. Get ideas for questions and observational exercises to use from the Kitchen Counter Chronicles page.
Outdoor Ice Volcanoes
Take a science experiment outside with these fun exploding ice volcanoes! Using baking soda, food coloring, vinegar, and backyard snow mounds, kids can observe how chemicals and gasses bubble up— even through the freezing cold.
Winter-Themed STEM Activities for Middle Schoolers
For students who need more challenging STEM experiences this winter, give these middle school experiments a try.
Teach middle school learners some geometry through this seasonal geometric snowflake lesson. First, students learn to identify and trace different geometric shapes. Then, they cut out different series of shapes to see which patterns can create a snowflake. Make this activity as introductory or as advanced as required for the learning level.
Grow Your Own Crystals
Who doesn’t love the beauty of ice crystals? Try one of these 11 ways to make your own crystals from the company STEAMsational. From sugar crystals to Borax experiments to using fresh ice, there are many ways to demonstrate how crystals form in the natural world. Many of these experiments are ideal for middle schoolers who thrive on problem-based learning projects.
Snowman Light Circuits
This activity is twofold: DIY playdough followed by an electrical conductivity lesson. The salt inside the playdough is slightly conductive to electricity, causing mini light bulbs to power up once placed in contact with the dough. Make it wintery by building playdough snowmen or maybe even a mini Christmas light wreath.
Light Ice on Fire
Did you know you can engulf ice cubes in flames? This burning ice experiment is not for young kids— but middle schoolers love it. Watch as different-sized ice cubes burn, and record how long they take to melt. This experiment involves rubbing alcohol, various ice cubes, a lighter, and some safety goggles.
Digital Snowflake Design
Middle schoolers with a love for computers or design can enjoy this winter-themed snowflake design and printing activity. Using this free Paper Snowflake website, students can virtually cut out intricate designs on one edge of folded paper. When they’re satisfied with the design, they can view their computer-generated symmetrical snowflake come to life.
Winter Math “Picture This”
This free math printout on Teachers Paying Teachers is a great math activity for kids who love art. After completing a series of math problems, they connect their answers through a series of instructions that results in a winter art piece.
Build a Snow Scoop
This fun and engaging winter STEM lesson challenges students to build a snow scoop using only paper, tape, and straws. Students learn through trial and error and get to practice their engineering skills to make a scoop that’s strong, sturdy, and functional.
Indoor Drone Lessons for Winter STEM Fun
Looking for a new fun, immersive experience for your kids this winter? Drone piloting combines STEM, critical thinking, and self-development in young learners. The Drone Legends program is perfect for indoor STEM education using drones, especially for kids in 4th through 8th grade.
Learn more about STEM drones this winter as a holiday gift or winter school program. Reach out to Drone Legends today!