Even here in Florida Winter can make us want to stay indoors (granted, its much better than Montana!), and if your household is anything like mine, our little ones are itching for some hands-on fun.
Just because we aren’t bundled up in layers doesn’t mean we can’t embrace the season with all its charm. As the days get shorter, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite winter STEM activities perfect for our inquisitive preschoolers.
So, grab a cup of cocoa, and let’s dive into these frosty fun winter themed adventures that’ll keep those tiny hands and curious minds both warm and engaged!
What Is STEM?
When we chat about STEM for our tiny tots, especially with winter activities in the mix, we’re talking about blending Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math in a kid-friendly way.
STEM education for preschoolers is an innovative way to help young minds learn different concepts about the world around them through hands-on learning. This is done by engaging young learners through easy STEM activities for preschoolers and projects that cover multiple disciplines within the STEM framework, and this comprehensive approach to learning helps preschoolers retain and engage with material in an improved fashion.
It’s all about nurturing their natural curiosity with snowflakes, chilly temperatures, and frosty patterns. Imagine building ‘snow’ structures or exploring the magic behind melting ice. It’s the wintry world, seen through a STEM lens, made fun and simple for our preschoolers!
How I Chose These Winter STEM Activities For Preschoolers
Selecting the best winter STEM activities for our preschoolers was a labor of love. I scoured popular STEM websites, hunting for gems that’d captivate my son’s heart. We then had fun ‘test-driving’ several. I have already reviewed lots of STEAM and STEM projects for kids on the main page, but I wanted to provide a more detailed view of my favorite STEM winter activities for preschoolers here.
I prioritized ones that were a breeze to set up, promised a good half-hour of engaged play, and offered a wholesome STEM learning experience. Because if my little guy loves it, I’m pretty sure yours will too!
15 Great Winter STEM Activities For Preschoolers
Ready to dive into a winter wonderland of learning? Discover 15 captivating STEM activities, tailor-made for preschoolers, that blend chilly fun with brilliant, budding minds.
Let’s get frosty!
1. Hot Chocolate Science Experiment
Discover the wonders of science through a delicious and hands-on experiment with the “Hot Chocolate Science Experiment.” This hands-on activity combines the joy of making hot chocolate with the excitement of observing chemical reactions.
Kids will be amazed as they explore the effects of temperature on matter while sipping on their tasty creations.
- Materials: Hot chocolate mix, milk, marshmallows, thermometer, mugs, stirrers
- Time Required: Approximately 30 minutes
- Ideal Age: Elementary school children (6-10 years old)
- STEAM Lessons: This simple experiment introduces children to changes in states of matter due to temperature variation. They’ll observe firsthand how solids dissolve and liquids change as they explore the fascinating realm of chemistry.
2. Make Snowflakes
Immerse children in the fascinating world of snowflake formation with the “Make Snowflakes” activity. Through hands-on crafting, kids explore the uniqueness of snowflakes while learning about science and geometry.
This creative and educational hands-on endeavor sparks curiosity about natural processes artistically and enjoyably.
- Materials: White paper, scissors, craft supplies (glitter, markers, etc.)
- Time Required: Around 30 minutes
- Ideal Age: Elementary school (6-10 years old)
- STEAM Lessons: Preschoolers learn scientific concepts of crystallization, explore geometry through snowflake patterns, and enhance artistic expression through creative snowflake designs.
3. Magic Snow Winter STEM Activity
Delight in the wonders of winter with the “Magic Snow” STEM winter science activity. This enchanting hands-on experience allows kids to create their snowy masterpieces while exploring scientific concepts.
Through sensory play and experimentation, they’ll grasp the principles of chemistry and polymers, fostering an early love for science in a fun and imaginative way.
- Materials: Baking soda, hair conditioner, glitter, mixing bowl
- Time Required: Around 20-30 minutes
- Ideal Age: Preschool and early elementary (4-8 years old)
- STEAM Lessons: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math; Introduces basic chemistry principles by showcasing how substances can react and combine to create new textures and forms.
4. Flying Reindeer
“Flying Reindeer” is a captivating STEM activity that combines science and creativity. Kids construct their own flying reindeer using basic materials while exploring aerodynamics and engineering principles.
Through trial and error, they grasp the fundamentals of flight and enhance their problem-solving skills while embracing the holiday spirit with this festive project.
- Materials: Craft sticks, paper, tape, scissors, googly eyes, markers
- Time Required: Approximately 45-60 minutes
- Ideal Age: Elementary school children (6-10 years old)
- STEAM Lessons: Explore aerodynamics and flight principles, create a functional reindeer using hands-on skills, and foster problem-solving, engineering, art, and math concepts.
5. How Penguins Stay Dry
Dive into the fascinating world of penguins with the “How Penguins Stay Dry” activity. This hands-on science experiment introduces kids to waterproofing as they explore why penguins remain dry in icy waters.
Through interactive play, children discover the wonders of animal adaptations and engage in critical thinking while having fun.
- Materials: Plastic bowl, water, shortening, feather, dropper
- Time Required: Approximately 20-30 minutes
- Ideal Age: Kindergarten and early elementary (5-8 years old)
- STEM Lessons: Explore animal adaptations through science, tech dropper use, engineering connections, artistic observations, and early math concepts for holistic learning.
6. Ice Fishing Winter STEM Activity
Engage in a fun winter STEM activity with the Ice Fishing Winter Science Experiment. This hands-on activity from MomBrite combines the excitement of ice fishing with scientific exploration.
Children will explore the properties of ice and water while discovering the secrets of buoyancy and weight distribution. By creating their own “ice fishing” setup, young learners will have a blast while discovering fundamental STEM principles in a chilly and engaging setting.
- Materials: Clear plastic container or bowl, water, small toy figures or objects, string or yarn, and salt.
- Time Required: Approximately 1 hour.
- Ideal Age: 4-10 years.
- STEM Lessons: Explore science (buoyancy, freezing, melting), tech (observing, manipulating), engineering (designing ice fishing setup), art (decorating), and math (measuring salt ratios) through ice fishing.
7. Snowflake Art + Science
Snowflake Art + Science is a captivating blend of creativity and scientific exploration. Using simple materials, children can produce their very own crystallized snowflakes.
This hands-on activity fosters artistic expression and unveils the magic of crystal formation, captivating young minds.
- Materials: Borax, pipe cleaners, string, pencils, wide-mouthed jars, boiling water, food coloring (optional).
- Time Required: Approximately 24 hours (overnight soaking plus crystal growth time).
- Ideal Age: 4 and above
- STEM Focus: Chemistry and physics principles, artistic expression through crystal formation, and hands-on exploration of crystallization processes.
8. Hot Chocolate Surprise
Experience the joy of science and creativity with the Hot Chocolate Surprise activity. Kids will be delighted as they explore the magic of color-changing hot chocolate while learning about chemical reactions and enjoying a tasty treat.
- Materials: White hot chocolate mix, clear cups or mugs, food coloring (different colors), hot water, milk, stirrers, whipped cream, and sprinkles (optional).
- Time Required: Approximately 20-30 minutes.
- Ideal Age: Recommended for children aged 4-10.
- STEM Focus: Witness a color-changing reaction; Art: Customize with creative decorations; Culinary Science: Explore ingredient interactions; Sensory Exploration: Engage multiple senses in learning.
9. Polar Bear Home STEM Challenge
The Polar Bear Home STEM Challenge immerses kids in a hands-on activity, challenging them to design a shelter for a polar bear using simple materials. This activity integrates temperature, insulation, and habitat conservation concepts, providing kids an engaging and meaningful opportunity to apply their understanding of the polar environment.
- Materials: Cotton balls, aluminum foil, plastic containers, tape, and thermometers.
- Time Required: 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Ideal Age: 5 to 9 years.
- STEM Focus: Science (habitats, insulation), Technology (measuring temperature), Engineering (designing shelters), Art (creative design), Math (measurement, analysis).
10. Tallest Snowman Winter STEM Activity
Engage children with the delightful Tallest Snowman STEM challenge, where they’ll craft snowmen using marshmallows and toothpicks. This hands-on experiment encourages problem-solving, creativity, and structural understanding in a winter-themed setting.
- Main Materials: Marshmallows and toothpicks.
- Time Required: 20-30 minutes.
- Ideal Age: 4-10 years old.
- STEM Focus: Enhances skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art (through design), and Mathematics (measurement and structural balance).
11. Roll and Build a Snowman Math Activity + Printable
The “Roll and Build a Snowman Math Activity + Printable” is a delightful, hands-on kindergarten activity. Available on ‘Teaching Ideas’, it promotes early math skills using dice and snowman cutouts. Participants roll dice to assemble a snowman, enhancing counting, number recognition, and fine motor skills. The printable worksheet complements the experience.
- Materials: Dice, printable snowman cutout, and accessories.
- Duration: 20-30 minutes.
- Ideal Age: Kindergarten-aged children (4-6 years).
- STEM Focus: Develops mathematics, fine motor skills, and creativity through hands-on activity.
12. Holiday Themed Math Worksheets
Dive into the festive season with Holiday Themed Math Worksheets, available at “thesehungrykids.com.” Engage young minds with Christmas-themed math problems, blending holiday cheer with educational enrichment.
- Materials: Printable worksheets from the provided link, pencils or colored pens.
- Duration: Approximately 20-30 minutes per sheet.
- Ideal Age: Children aged 6-10 years.
- STEM Focus: Cultivates skills in Mathematics, encourages logical thinking, and intertwines Art through festive illustrations.
13. Building with Snowballs
Building with Snowballs is a stimulating indoor activity where children engineer structures using snowball substitutes. It nurtures creativity, enhances structural understanding, and integrates the essence of winter play inside your home.
- Materials: Soft, white fluffy craft balls (or cotton balls) and toothpicks.
- Duration: Approximately 30-45 minutes.
- Ideal Age: 3-6 years.
- STEAM Focus: Enhances skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math while nurturing Artistic creativity.
14. Ice Cube Snowman
The “Ice Cube Snowman” activity, as featured on RainyDayMum, allows children to create and observe the melting process of snowmen built from ice cubes. This hands-on experiment combines the fun of crafting with an interactive introduction to temperature, states of matter, and the concept of the melting snowman.
- Materials: Ice cubes, salt, colored water, droppers, and decorative craft supplies.
- Duration: About 1-2 hours (including freezing time).
- Ideal Age: 3-7 years old.
- STEAM Focus: Enhances understanding in Science (states of matter), Technology (recording observations), Engineering (building structures), Art (decorative designing), and Mathematics (measuring and timing).
15. Optical Illusion Craft + STEM Learning
Optical Illusion Craft + STEM Learning is an engaging activity where children create a thaumatrope—a Victorian toy that showcases an optical illusion. Inspired by a festive theme from Red Ted Art, children can blend two pictures into one, offering a hands-on introduction to the fascinating world of visual perception and science.
- Materials: Printable thaumatrope templates, sticks (like popsicle sticks), string, and colors.
- Duration: Approximately 30 minutes.
- Ideal Age: Children aged 5-10 years.
- STEAM Focus: Enhances understanding of Science (visual perception), Technology (movement mechanics), Art (design and creativity), and Mathematics (symmetry and rotation).
Help Your Little Ones Grow This Winter With These STEM Activities!
As winter unfurls its chilly splendor, there’s no better time to embrace the magic of STEM with our little ones. Each snowflake and icy puddle offers a lesson, turning cold days into warm memories. Remember, it’s not just about the knowledge gained but the joyous moments shared.
So, bundle up, dive into these activities, and watch as your preschooler’s curiosity blossoms amidst the frosty wonderland. Here’s to winter wonders and joyful discoveries!