4 Seasonal STEM Activities to Keep Your Preschooler Busy Over the Holidays
The holiday season is upon us and even though moms, dads, and caregivers are busy prepping for parties and gift-giving, children often find themselves bored due to the lack of structure in their days.
To help bust through the boredom blues, we’ve gathered 4 activities that we think your preschooler will love. And the best part? Every activity promotes STEM learning…but your child will be having so much fun they won’t even realise they’re getting smarter!
But before we start, some of you may be wondering what STEM means?
STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. STEM activities can address a single aspect (like science) or can combine two or more competencies (like science and math).
For preschool-aged children (those around four and five years old), STEM concepts are explored by getting curious as to how things work and why they happen. Solving problems, asking questions, and exploring their world are integral parts of STEM activities for young learners.
Seasonal STEM Activities
Sensory bins are a wonderful learning tool and easy to make at home. (In fact, we love them so much we will be devoting an entire upcoming blog to the benefits of sensory bin play and offering plenty of bin-making suggestions…so stay tuned!)
For this activity, created by Happy Toddler Playtime, all you need are pompoms in varying sizes and holiday colors, a plastic bin that will fit in your freezer, and a few simple tools.
Place fully soaked pompoms into the bin and allow them to freeze. While a few of the upper pompoms will be out of the water, those on the bottom will be frozen in ice. Place the bin on the floor and give your child simple tools like a paintbrush and a squirt bottle filled with warm water and let them work to free the pompoms from the ice. Let them get curious and decide which tool works best for melting/removing the ice. This activity will keep littles entertained for hours…or until the ice melts!
This activity is perfect if you live somewhere with cold winters and need something to entertain children that doesn’t involve going outdoors.
You probably have most of the supplies already on hand. All you need is some string, a cardboard paper roll, a balloon, and a few craft supplies to create a reindeer. Tape the string to the walls and follow the directions to create your reindeer. Your child will then use the balloon to launch their deer across the room in the most dramatic fashion!
While this activity is a perfect example of Newton’s 3rd law of motion, that explanation may go over the heads of preschoolers. But they will see for their own eyes that air rushing out of the balloon in one direction forces their reindeer in the opposite direction, giving them a better understanding of how things work in their world.
If there’s one thing every preschooler loves, it’s slime. So why not entertain them with a holiday version that is sparkly and so much fun to make?
For this activity, whip up a batch of homemade slime according to the recipe, then craft a Christmas-tree-shaped cone from a paper plate. Place a blob of slime at the top of your cone allowing it to creep down and create your slime tree. Children can then decorate their tree with beads, plastic gems, and anything else you have on hand.
This is a great activity for asking questions…What will happen when we put the slime on the cone? Will it move quickly or slowly? Will the ornaments stay in place or slide down the tree?…and getting preschoolers comfortable with the concept of creating a hypothesis during an experiment.
This activity may be a bit messy, but children find it positively magical, and it just might become a holiday tradition.
Using hydrogen peroxide, dry yeast, and glitter, you can create a chemical reaction that transforms a few ingredients into mounds of foamy, glittery “toothpaste”. We love the suggestion made in the original post to add a few drops of peppermint oil to the ingredients to create wintry-scented “toothpaste”.
Here’s a hint: Be sure to reinforce to children that this is not actual toothpaste and should not be placed in the mouth. You could even call it something else to reduce any temptation to taste it.
And there you have it—four festive activities that are sure to keep your little learner entertained and in the holiday spirit.
From all of us at Clovel Childcare, we wish you and yours a very happy holiday season!