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Christmas STEM activities for kids

It’s Christmaaaas! Just in case you’ve been hiding in a cave and hadn’t noticed the imminent holidays around the corner! Here are 5 simple, fun Christmas STEM activities to help you keep them occupied and minimise the amount of time spent bouncing off the walls…

Blizzard in a bottle!https://www.youtube.com/embed/YTMPTZq6wmY?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en-GB&autohide=2&wmode=transparent

  • Bottle
  • Beaker
  • Spoon
  • Water
  • Oil
  • White Paint
  • Spoon
  • Fizzy Vitamins/ Alka Seltzer Tablets
  1. Pour oil into your bottle to about half way
  2. Now stir in a generous squeeze of white paint into your water until it’s well mixed
  3. Pour the water into the bottle- what do you spot? You’ll notice the water sinking through the oil in blobs, this is because oil is Hydrophobic (afraid of water) and water is denser than oil so it sinks
  4. Now break your fizzy tablet into quarters, adding one piece at a time. What happens?
  5. The fizzy tablets react with water to produce carbon dioxide, a gas, which is less dense than both water and oil so it just wants to escape. It carries blobs of water with it, through the oil creating a lava lamp effect
  6. As the gas reaches the surface the water droplets become denser than the oil again so sink back down.

Chromatography Christmas Treeshttps://www.youtube.com/embed/QeeRRyvE608?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en-GB&autohide=2&wmode=transparent

  • Plate
  • Paper Towels
  • Water
  • Dropper
  • Felt Pens
  • Smarties/skittles/m&ms
  • Sprinkles

1. Pop your paper towel on a plate

2. Colour dots or place your sweets/ sprinkles around the paper towel just like twinkly Christmas lights

3. Dropper water on each dot/sweet

4. Watch the inks separate…what colour pigments were used?

5. Wait for it to dry and then cut into Christmas tree shapes

Chromatography is the science of separating the pigments found in different inks, the lighter the pigment the further it will travel. The heavier the pigment the harder it is for the water to transport so the closer the pigment stays to the source.

Santa’s Sleigh Balloon Launchhttps://www.youtube.com/embed/pz58S4bf248?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en-GB&autohide=2&wmode=transparent

You will need

  • String
  • Straw
  • Balloons
  • Food Clips
  1. Pop your string through the straw
  2. Tie off the string at one end to something high up e.g. your banister upstairs
  3. Blow up your balloon/s- aim for different sizes so you can see which works best and use a food clip to stop the air from escaping
  4. Now tape the balloon to the straw, ensuring the neck is pointing downward
  5. Hold the string securely, release the balloon and watch it fly!

The pressure of the air escaping from the balloon generates a force called thrust, which propels the sleigh forward in the opposite direction to the way the air is escaping!

Salt Crystal Christmas Treeshttps://www.youtube.com/embed/XjSdECjBrYg?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en-GB&autohide=2&wmode=transparent

  • Salt
  • Beaker
  • Spoon
  • Cardboard
  • Shallow Plate
  • Food colouring (optional)
  1. Boil a kettle
  2. Pour 50 – 75ml water into your beaker (carefully! It’s hot!)
  3. Stir in as much salt as you can! You want to create a SATURATED solution i.e. not everything is dissolved!
  4. Pop your cardboard tree onto your plate
  5. Now carefully pour your solution over your cardboard tree and leave it in a warm and sunny spot
  6. Check back regularly to see if your Crystals have grown

When we leave the salt solution in a warm and sunny place the water evaporates leaving sparkly salt crystals behind. Our cardboard Christmas trees look like they’re covered in snow.

Snow Globehttps://www.youtube.com/embed/9Cx6-kPB1R8?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en-GB&autohide=2&wmode=transparent

  • Clean jar
  • Water
  • Glitter
  • Washing up liquid
  • Superglue
  • Character
  • Glycerin
  • Baby Oil (optional)

1. Fill your jar half full with water

2. Add glitter (where does it go?)

3. Add a drop of dish soap to reduce the surface tension and give it a stir.

4. How quickly does your glitter fall?

5. Add Glycerin a little at a time, this liquid has a high viscosity or thickness which means the glitter falls more slowly. Keep adding Glycerin until you’re happy with the speed the glitter falls.

6. Can you repeat the activity with baby oil instead? Which makes the better snow globe?

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