Keep them engaged over the festive season with STEM activities

It’s that time of year again, so why not get creative with these fun and festive STEM activities? Not only will they bring plenty of good cheer and creative flair, but they will also support children's scientific, problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

Paper Snowflakes 

You will need:

- White paper cut into 21cm x 21cm squares

- Scissors

- String and sellotape (optional)

Activity:

1. Fold the paper in half, corner to corner, and repeat twice. Open up the last triangle, and with the long flat edge at the bottom, fold each side of the triangle inwards roughly in thirds to meet in the centre. Cut the overlap at the bottom to leave a tall triangle with flat edges.

2. Then, it’s time to cut. Encourage your child to experiment with different shapes and sizes of snips, reminding them not to cut right across the triangle and to keep some of the folded edges in tact.

3. Open the paper out and add, if you’d like, attach a length of string with sellotape and add them to your decoration.

Paper Weaving

You will need:

- A5 card

- Pencil

- Green wool or thread

- Needle

- Poms or sequins or beads

- Glue

Activity:

1. Begin by drawing the outline of a Christmas Tree on the white card.

2. Use the needle to make holes along the Christmas Tree outline, ensuring they are evenly spaced.

3. Thread the needles and tie a hole at the end of the wool or thread.

4. Start by sewing the Christmas tree outline, then fill the middle by going into and out of random holes.

5. When finished, tie a knot to secure the thread. Use the pom poms, beads and sequins to act as baubles.

Snowstorm in a jar

You will need:

- Baby oil

- 250ml water

- White paint

- Glass Jar

- Stirring stick

- Optional Christmas glitter

- Alka Seltzer tablet

Activity:

1. In a bowl, mix the water and three tablespoons of the white paint.

2. Fill half the jar with baby oil, and add the glitter and sparkles.

3. Pour in the water and paint mixture, ensuring the jar is no more than three-quarters full.

4. Drop in the Alka Seltzer tablet and watch the snowstorm. Notice what you can see happening and discuss why these changes occur.

Reindeer Races

You will need:

- A balloon

- A clamp such as a food bag seal.

- Reindeer decorations (pom poms, paper or card, googly eyes)

- A straw

- String

-  Tape

Activity:

1. Blow up the balloon and clamp the end shut without tying. Decorate it to look like a reindeer, adding antlers, eyes and a bright red nose.

2. Tape the straw to the top of the balloon.

3. Thread an extended length of string through the straw and tie it securely to 2 points across the room.

4. Place the reindeer at the starting point, remove the clamp and watch how it races along the string. Notice and discuss what is making the reindeer fly. Is there a way to make them even faster?

Remember, it’s always a good idea to make predictions and think about what and why something is happening, then compare it to the result. STEM activities are fantastic for any time of year, but adding Christmas magic can make them even more exciting.

QuestFriendz hope you have a STEMTASTIC Christmas!

Written By Dr Thomas Bernard, co-founder of STEM publishing company QuestFriendz and co-author of the SuperQuesters series.

SuperQuesters: The Case of the Great Energy Robbery covers environmental themes including renewable energy and is out now!

www.questfriendz.com

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