It’s winter season – the perfect time of the year to take a deep dive into indoor activities and what could be better than indulging in Fun Winter STEM activities with kids!
These hands-on learning activities for kids will make the best of the chilly days and keep your children from complaining about the shorter days and less sunlight hours.
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STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. It is a wonderful approach to make learning fun and practical for kids. But before we dive into Winter STEM Experiments & Activities, let’s take a quick look into the science behind this beautiful, crisp season.
What Causes Winter?
While the popular belief is that seasons are a result of earth’s elliptical orbit, it is not really the case. What causes seasons is the obliquity or the tilt of the earth. Obliquity is the angle at which earth’s axis of rotation is tilted with respect to Earth’s orbital plane.
This tilt causes one hemisphere to receive more sunlight (hence heat) than the other hemisphere at any given time. Thus, resulting in seasons.
Over the last million years, tilt has varied between 22.1 degrees to 24.5 degrees. Currently, Earth’s tilt is in between the two extremes at about 22.5 degrees.
Winter STEM Activities
Wintertide is our favourite season of the year. Where we live, it starts to get a little chilly mid-November onwards and by the time we reach Winter Solstice, the season is nicely set in. To celebrate this beautiful season, we have curated a list of Best Winter STEM Activities for Kids.
To make exploring these activities easier, we have further categorised them into STEM fields
Winter Science Activities For Kids
These winter science experiments for kids will excite your children and make winters even more fun! Make the best out of the shorter days by adding these easy winter STEM activities to your child’s learning plan or winter theme unit.
1. Ice Lanterns
This is a dreamy indoor STEM activity that your children will love creating. A great hands-on lesson on states of matter, this easy winter STEM activity incorporates arts as well as engineering elements to make it a perfect wintertime STEAM activity for kindergarten kids.
What you will need:
- 1 Big Paper Cup (soda cup)
- 1 Small Paper Cup (coffee cup)
- Decorations like pom poms, beads, tinsels
- Tea Light – Battery operated
How to do it:
Step 1: Place the small cup inside the big cup.
Step 2: Slowly add water to the big cup, that is, between the cups, till it is almost half full.
Step 3: Add decorations to the water.
Step 4: Add pebbles to the small cup to keep it from popping up.
Step 5: Add water again to the big cup till the water is an inch or two from the rim of the small cup.
Step 6: Place the cups in the freezer. It is best you leave it for 6 hours or till completely frozen.
Step 7: Once the water is frozen, take out your cups. Using a scissor peel off the outer paper cup.
Step 8: Pour warm water in a smaller paper cup to remove it too. Warm water will melt the ice around the cup, thus making it easy to remove it.
Step 9: Now place a battery operated tea light or a normal tea light (or fairy lights) in your ice lantern to turn your room into a winter wonderland.
This ice experiment is a must to practice hygge at home. It is just perfect with a cup of hot chocolate, a winter picture book and a snuggly blanket to make memories with kids.
Winters certainly reminds of snow irrespective of whether it snows where you live or not! And that’s the inspiration behind this fun science activity. Make fake snow and get ready for a snowball game.
Mould it into various shapes or make snow sculptures to transform this fun activity into winter engineering STEM challenges for kids.
Related: Also check out cool Preschool Science Activities to inculcate science acumen from a young age.
3. Crush The Bottle
This is a really cool winter science experiment that you ought to try with your kids. Older kids can do it pretty much themselves.
Whatever the age group may be, this experiment is sure to excite all the kids.
What you will need:
- A plastic bottle/ empty tin can
- Ice bucket / Deep dish
- Hot water
How to do it:
Step 1: Fill the dish with ice.
Step 2: Pour hot water into the plastic bottle till it is one-third full.
Step 3: Cap the bottle and give it a gentle shake.
Step 4: Now, place the bottle in the ice bucket.
You will observe the bottle magically crushes itself! Astounding right? Well…there is a cool science at work here – the same principle that makes the wind blow.
Warm air expands and cold air contracts. When you add hot water to the bottle, the air inside the bottle heats up and expands.
Once you place the same bottle in the ice bucket, the air inside the bottle turns cold and contracts.
Thus, creating low pressure inside the bottle. Since the outside pressure is more than the pressure inside, the bottle crushes.
This is so much fun! What’s more fun is Science Jokes and Puns that are sure to tickle your funny bone!
4. Ice Fishing
Got a kiddo who is crazy about the fishing game? Then this science activity will totally blow off your kid’s mind!
This fun science experiment-cum-STEM challenge will have your kids learning cool science concepts in no time. It’s a big hit with kindergarten kids and older children.
- You will need:
- Flat Dish/ Plate
Step 1: Spread out ice on the plate and add a little water.
Step 2: Lay the twine on the ice cube you want to fish out.
Step 3: Sprinkle a pinch of salt on the ice cube where it is touching the twine.
Step 4: Wait for a minute and then gently pull the twine to fish out the ice!
Remember, we told you that salt lowers down the freezing point of ice. That’s what is exactly happening here when you add salt to the ice.
But since the surrounding temperature is really cool (near freezing point) the ice that had melted near the twine refreezes again. But this time with the twine along with it!
What really plays the trick here is the amount of salt you add and the time you let the twine sit. Too much salt will melt a lot more ice than needed and too less will hardly melt any ice.
The same way, you need to be perfect in pulling up the twine. If you pull too early, you miss the ice from refreezing around the twine. So patience and a little practice is the key here.
5. Find the Warmest Room
As the cold months set in, we all look for the coziest nook in the house. Turn this search into a fun filled science activity.
Start a quick discussion on which room or nook is the warmest with your kids and then structure this wonderfully easy STEM investigation. We played it like a game, with children writing in their hypothesis and comparing it to their findings, much like a detective!
You will need:
- Ice cubes
Step 1: Take as many jars as the number of rooms you wish to test for.
Example: If you have three rooms and want to find out which one is the warmest, you will need three jars.
Begin with asking your child which room they feel is the warmest. Let them guess and write it down before you start the experiment.
6. Winter Habitat Experiment
We absolutely adore this simple experiment for its current relevance and how it aligns with SDG 15. Such easy winter STEM activities are great for homeschool, classroom or after school learning.
SDGs are Sustainable Development Goals undertaken by UNDP to protect the planet and ensure human development.
It is also a great outdoor STEM activity to teach children about various habitats and how human actions are threatening these habitats and the resident animals.
What you will need:
- Clay/ Animal figurines of Seal or Bear
- Big Plastic Box
- Blue Food Colouring
How to do it:
Step 1: Pour water on the plate and set it in the freezer to get a sheet of ice.
Step 2: Use clay to make a seal or a polar bear if you don’t have their animal figurines.
Step 3: Take out the ice sheet from the plate by pouring warm water on the back of the plate. This will be your sea ice.
Step 4: Pour water in the plastic box till it’s half full. Add blue food colouring to make it look like sea water.
Step 5: Place the ice sheet in the plastic box.
Step 6: Position your animals (we used a Penguin) on the ice sheet.
Step 7: Take the assembly and place it outdoors in a sunny spot.
You will observe as the time passes, the ice sheet starts to melt gradually. Thus, decreasing the area (habitat) for your animal to live on.
This is exactly what is happening at the poles. Polar Ice is gradually melting due to global warming, thus, destroying the habitat of seals, polar bears and other polar animals.
Once your little ones have understood how global warming is impacting the polar habitat, discuss with them how they can reduce their carbon footprint and save the animals.
7. Snowstorm in a Jar
This is one of the classic science experiments for kids! Make a snowstorm right in your home with easy to find, simple materials.
What you will need:
- Baby Oil
- White paint
- Effervescent tablets
- Jar or a bottle
How to do it:
Step 1: Fill the jar one-third with water mixed with white paint.
Step 2: Add baby oil to the jar so as to almost fill the jar.
Step 3: To start the snowstorm, drop in the effervescent tablet into the jar.
What is happening here is that the effervescent tablet reacts with water to release carbon dioxide.
This gas escapes in the form of bubbles and rises up to the surface, carrying white paint with it! Thus, creating the effect of a snowstorm!
It is important to note that this is one part of this science experiment. This easy science experiment greatly relies on solubility and insolubility to make it work. Another factor at play is density of the liquids.
A great lesson on solubility and saturation, this easy science experiment for kids is pure magic and perfect addition to wintery theme activities. With easy to find supplies, your kids can make their very own snowflake crystals at home.
Make a few before Yule to use them as homemade ornaments on your Christmas tree.
Related: Also check Easy Christmas Crafts for Kids for fun ideas.
9. Make Frost
Nothing beats making frost at home! This is one science experiment that is sure to get an exhilarating reaction from kids across ages.
Easy- peasy to do, all it needs is a little patience and the following pantry items:
- Glass Jar
Step 1: Crush the ice and fill the glass jar three-forth with crushed ice. You may use ice cubes but crushed ice gets best results.
Step 2: Add a thick layer of salt, one inch or two inches thick, to the crushed ice.
Step 3: Pour a little water (2-4 tbsp. should work fine) on top of the ice.
Step 4: Now this is the tricky part. You need to wait for 2-3 minutes for frost to form. You will observe a nice thick layer of frost forming sometime.
The science behind this cool science experiment for kids is pretty simple. Salt lowers down the freezing temperature of ice. Thus, melting the ice.
This melting ice along with salt and water creates a super cool temperature, which is actually lower than the freezing point, inside the jar along the surface.
Now, when the moisture in the air comes in contact with the jar, it condenses on its outer surface. The surface being super cooled freezes this moisture making frost!
10. Exploding Snowman
Winters can be a bit gloomy with the chill and limited daylight. But here is a cool winter outdoor STEM activity that can banish boredom in no time.
What you will need:
- Zip Pouch
- Black and Red Markers
- Tissue Paper
- Baking Soda
Step 1: Use markers to make a nice snowman on the zip pouch.
Step 2: Take the tissue paper and pack 1-2tbs of baking soda into it.
Step 3: Neatly place the tissue pack in the zip pouch. Seal the pouch leaving an inch or two open at one end and place it on the ground outdoors.
Step 4: Add 4-5tbs of vinegar to the zip pouch and quickly seal it.
Back off and watch the snowman baggie explode! The trick to the explosion is to quickly reseal the zip pouch after adding vinegar.
11. Snow Slime
Add some silly science fun to your wintertime activities with this super fluffy snow slime. Great for kneading, stretching and pulling, this slime is a great tool to build motor skills.
Related: Also try your hands at Oobleck. It is quick, easy and can be made with just 2 common pantry ingredients. Hours of fun and excitement guranteed!
12. Make Ice Chalk
Winters need not be the confining season. Make the best use of wintertide sun and set the artist in your child free by letting them paint on the sidewalk with ice chalks.
Your kids wouldn’t complain spending their afternoons all by themselves and giving you the much-treasured me-time. Here is a simple recipe you can try. Plus it doesn’t stain.
Technology Winter Activities
Winters can get debilitating and confining! But don’t let the snowy season lead to cabin fever. Keep your kids engaged and stimulated with these technology winter activities.
These fun winter activities will keep your kids entertained and away from complaining while they learn to use technology and sharpen their tech skills.
13. Make a Snowman
This is a great app to make your snowman! What’s even better is that you get to customize the background as well.
Your kids will love designing their own versions of snowman with the various tools this app offers.
14. Map It Out
This is a wonderful technology STEM activity for kids who have started understanding maps. Let your children use Google maps to discover colder regions using the terrain mode.
List down mountain ranges, snow peaks and frozen lakes and let your kids explore them on Google maps.
15. Winter Collage
Another great technology inspired STEM activity is collage making. Only this time your children get to use technology to make a winter collage.
Use apps like PicsCollage to make perfect, scenic collage.
Winter Engineering Activities
Get your little engineers trying their hands and testing their ideas with these fun engineering STEM challenges that are just right for wintertide.
Perfect for pre-k, kindergarten and older children, these hands-on activities will keep them happily learning indoors. Most of them use common supplies that are likely already in your pantry and are super easy to set-up.
16. Build a Cave for Hibernating Bear
Winter is the time when bears head for their long winter sleep called Hibernation. Challenge your kids to act like forest rangers and build perfect caves for the bears to hibernate.
What you will need:
This STEM challenge is really open-ended. Use toothpicks and marshmallows to make dome shaped caves. Getting the right shape and balance is the key.
This engineering activity works wonders for motor skills and creativity. And after your kiddo has built the perfect winter cave, don’t forget to add a sleeping bear inside it.
17. Ice Tower STEM Challenge
This hands-on STEM activity is certain to excite children who love to construct and play with Legos.
But this time, instead of using store bought tiles or blocks, ice would be their building material.
What you will need is lots of ice cubes, latex gloves and salt! We think two trays should be sufficient.
We recommend using latex gloves to prevent hands from getting super icy but that’s a personal call.
The challenge is to build an ice tower and the trick behind sticking ice cubes together is salt. Remember, we mentioned above how salt lowers the freezing point of ice.
Adding just a pinch of salt will temporarily melt the ice before it refreezes again, joining the cubes in the process.
18. Build a Thermoware
A thermoware is something that does not allow heat to escape. Most of us use them in the form of a thermo-flask or a thermoware casserole.
Thermowares have definitely made camping in the chilly season enjoyable and now is the turn to understand the science behind it.
What you will need:
- Aluminium Foil
- Bubble Wrap
- 4 bottles/jars
- Hot water
How to do it:
Step 1: Keep the first jar aside. This will serve as your control group.
Step 2: Wrap the second jar with a napkin. Secure the napkin with an all pin to keep the napkin from falling off.
Step 3: Wrap the third jar with aluminium/tin foil.
Step 4: Cover the last jar with bubble wrap. Your three jars for the experimental group are now ready.
Step 5: Pour hot water in all the jars of the experimental group as well as the control group.
Step 4: Keep all the four bottles aside for 15-20 minutes.
Step 5: Using the thermometer, check the temperature of water in all four bottles. Which one kept the water warmest?
The bottles in the experimental group had a layer of insulation around them to prevent heat from escaping the bottle.
That is the reason why water in the insulated bottles was warmer than water in the bottle in the control group that had no insulation.
Once your children have an idea how thermowares work, try layering different insulating material and test which combination works best.
Now, finally ask your kids if they understand how sweaters and jackets protect them from feeling cold. We bet your little scientist would have an impressive explanation.
19. Snowball Launcher
What fun it is to make a snowball launcher that can be played indoors and without any real snow.
This hands-on popsicle stick catapult can be made with a few supplies and is great for engineering as well as motor skills.
Yes! You read it right – Ice Magnifying glass! This cool activity for young minds is perfect for wintertime.
A great hands-on way to learn about light and optics, this is a must try for any budding engineer.
Engineer snowflakes with toothpicks and marshmallows. Let your children make use of their imagination and design snowflakes of various patterns.
This is such a fun STEM activity to do on a cold afternoon! These toothpick-marshmallow snowflakes offer great fine motor practice and deliver a hands-on lesson on symmetry.
All you need is the humble toothpick and some marshmallows (or clay white balls).
Wondering what else you can do with toothpicks? We have awesome list of activities to delight your kids around this wonderful, unassuming item.
22. Solar Oven
Who says solar ovens are only for hot summer days? We rather think they are perfect for winters too! Make the best use of the Sun on chilly days with a solar oven.
Challenge your children to make a solar oven to awaken their inner engineer. A perfect STEM school project for kids, this one will keep them occupied for good.
23. Apple Stacking Challenge
Wintertide is the season of apples with fresh fall harvest. Make most of this ever-loved fruit with this STEM challenge for kids.
And like the name suggests, the challenge is to stack ten or more apples. The one who gets the tallest apple tower wins the challenge. As easy as it may sound, the apple tower starts to wobble once you reach the count of 6 or more apples. And that’s when the fun starts!
Ask your children to put on their thinking hats and come up with a plan to balance the apples. They can use any commonly found material except the standard adhesive materials like tape.
We found playdough and even our ever favourite – toothpicks work great as connectors. What are your fave connectors going to be?
24. Build a Sleigh
A list of engineering STEM activities cannot be possibly complete without a challenge to make your own sleigh.
This is one activity that will challenge your child’s construction skills and fire up their creativity.
25. Lego Snowflakes
Lego snowflakes are a great construction challenge for children across all ages. You do not need any specific Lego kit for it but just white (or blue) bricks.
This STEM activity works wonders at building creativity, problem solving and concentration skills.
26. Build an Upside-Down Snowman
Making a snowman isn’t as easy as it may seem. It requires a bit of engineering along with understanding of balance and center of mass.
Challenge your kids to this super fun engineering challenge by asking them to build an upside down snowman.
And worry not, if you don’t live where it doesn’t snow! Just use the recipe for fake snow and you are ready to go.
27. Snowman Stretch
This super challenging activity requires just plain paper and tape. The idea is to build the tallest snowman using nothing but these two supplies.
It is a wonderful STEM activity to spark creativity and hands-on learning in the classroom or at home.
28. DIY Thermometer
Turn your kids into little meteorologists and let them monitor & note day-to-day temperature in your city. This engineering activity doubles up as a great STEM school project for kids.
Winter Math Activities
Make mathematics experiential with these fun wintery theme activities that come with free printable. Sure to enhance the learning experience, these easy to do activities will gamify numbers.
Sure to become your child’s favourite way of learning numeracy.
29. Snowball Patterns
This math activity is aimed at teaching patterns to young kids. Pattern recognition is an important data science concept and it is extremely important that children are exposed to patterns early on.
All you need is coloured pom-poms, which act as snowballs in this case. Ask your children to create patterns using these snowballs.
They can start with easy patterns like ABABAB and then later progress to more advanced patterns. To give a twist, make a pattern and ask your child to identify it!
30.Snowball Place Value
Wondering how to teach place value to your kid the fun and play way? Here is a cool idea. Super easy to set up, it needs a few supplies and promises lots of fun.
What you will need:
- Cotton balls
- Blue and White Pastel Sheet
Step 1: Cut out 20-30 circles (roughly 4cm in diameter) from the white paper sheet.
Step 2: Using the marker, write down individual numbers starting from 10 to 40 on the white circles.
Step 3: Cut out two big rectangles from the blue sheet.
Step 4: Mark one rectangle T to denote tens and other O to denote ones.
How to Play:
Lay out the tens and ones blue cards on the floor. Stack the number circles next to the tray of cotton balls. Ask your child to draw a circle card from the number pile.
Depending on the number drawn, ask your child to pick the cotton balls corresponding to the number on tens and place them on the tens mat.
Repeat the same for digits on ones. This fun winter math game will have your child practicing and master place value in no time.
31. Shovel The Snow
This game is perfect for snowy weather or math focused pretend play.
With little supplies, you can set up this game within 5 minutes and help your children practice subtraction. All you need for this game is cotton balls and a dice.
How To Play:
The goal of the game is to shovel the snow the fastest and get rid of all your snowballs. Start the game by giving your children 20 snowballs (cotton balls) each.
Taking turns, roll the dice. Subtract the number on the dice from the snowballs. The player who gets rid-off all snowballs first, wins the game.
32. Geoboard Snowflake
Geoboards are great math manipulatives and work well with kids of all ages upto 12.
This particular activity challenges kids to build perfectly symmetrical snowflakes on a geoboard. This is an awesome way to unleash creativity and build mathematics acumen.
33. Make Winter Wonderland With Shapes
This is an interesting winter math activity that encourages children to see shapes in nature and recreate them using their imagination. All you need for this craft activity is pastel sheets in different colours, scissors and glue.
How to do it:
Step 1: Cut out various shapes like triangles, circles, squares in different colours from the pastel sheets.
Step 2: Ask your child to use these shapes to create a winter scene. Like triangles can be used to make trees, circles for snowmen, squares and receptacles for deer and so on. Imagination is the key.
Related: Explore an array of Math Activities for Kids to make maths hands-on!
You simply cannot go wrong with this one, especially if you have a frozen fan at home.
This simple winter math game is great at building numeracy skills like number recognition and simple addition/multiplication. You just have to tweak the number cards.
Related: Also check out 10 Minute Number Games to boost mental math and early numeracy the fun way.
Another great math game to practice operatives with kids. This game is simple and easy to play.
It uses dominoes, however, if you don’t have dominoes don’t fret. Use a dice or two (depending upon the skill level) and change the numbers on the snowflakes accordingly.
Related: Teach your kindergartener the fun way with Kindergarten Math Games.
This is a great hit with all children for the fact that it lets them channel their inner creativity and practice their scissor skills.
Cutting perfect symmetrical paper snowflakes could be a task if you don’t know the correct paper-folding trick.
But once your kids get to see it, not only will they be amazed but also eager to try their hands at it.
We cannot stress the significance of patterns enough for building strong mathematical skills.
Here is one activity, which specifically targets younger children and is a great addition to your math activities for kindergarteners and preschoolers.
We love this frozen inspired number game for kids. It takes a fun approach to teaching numbers to your preschooler and kindergartener.
What we love the most about this activity is that there are just so many ways to explore fun.
Related: Make Math Fun by adding a dash of humour with Math Jokes for Kids.
A great winter math game for young kids, this will allow them to burn off their energy while learning addition and subtraction. There are numerous benefits linked with movement-aided learning – for one it is long lasting and forges better neural connections.
40. Through the Snowstorm
Have older children who are just starting on multiplication? This printable winter activity for grade I and older kids is perfect to get them started.
How to Play:
You have to ace through the snowstorm to reach the cottage safely. Roll the dice and multiply with the number you are practicing multiplication with.
Be careful though, if you land on snow you freeze a turn!
With all the STEM activities for kids, we are certain you and your child will not have a dull, boring moment.
In case you wish to take a break from activities and just snuggle under a blanket with a hot cup of coco and a book.
Pair these fun science experiments with cool fun facts for kids to keep learning exciting and engaging
Cool Winter Facts for Kids
Children simply adore fun facts! Simply punch in a few into your everyday conversations or with STEM activities to stimulate their grey matter.
1. The word winter comes from Proto-Germanic word ‘Wentruz’, meaning wet.
2. Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year.
3. Snowflakes are always in the shape of a hexagon.
4. No two snowflakes look alike.
5. A snowflake can take up to an hour to fall from the cloud to the ground.
6. Plants stop growing in winters.
7. Snow is about 90% air.
8. The Sun does not rise at poles during winters.
9. The snowiest city in the world is Aomori City of Japan.
10. It gets so cold in Siberia that your breath can turn into ice, midair!
11. Winters last for 21years on Uranus.
12. Uranus is the coldest planet in the solar system with a minimum temperature of minus 224 degree Celsius.
13. Earth is closest to the Sun between January 3rd and January 5th, when it is winters in the northern hemisphere.
14. Many animals like Arctic fox change colour of its fur during winters.
15. Snow is actually transparent and not white! The signature white colour of snow is due to the reflection of light.
16. The coldest temperature (-123°C/189,4°F) was recorded at Vostok Station in Antarctica, in 1983.
17. Disney’s Frozen holds the record for highest-grossing animated musical film.
Have frosty fun!