Science education activities: Wintertime

When youth are on winter break or are trapped inside due to the snow and cold weather, keep the cabin fever away with quick activities that are fun and educational.

For more than 100 years, 4-H has fostered a pioneering “learn by doing” or “hands on” approach with proven results. With this in mind, what better way to spark a child’s interest in science than by experiencing an enjoyable activity? Reflecting back to your youth in the winter months, did you do the age-old tradition of making dough or bread dough clay holiday ornaments? Did you know that it was a science activity? Spending family time making holiday ornaments can be easily turned into a memorable science learning experience.

Another fun activity is to make Kool Aid Play Dough. It is as simple as combining the dry ingredients of 2.5 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt and 2 packages of unsweetened Kool-Aid and then add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil and 2 cups boiling water. Knead the mixture for 10 minutes and you’re ready to create festive decorations! Experimenting with different Kool-Aid colors, different tools such as cookie cutters, rolling pins or other materials. This activity will bring out the future “engineer” in your youth. Have fun researching why these ingredients combined made the soft dough or why the substance becomes hard as it dries.

What other creative indoor winter activities can you do in science that your family may find interesting? Maybe you can find a winter science holiday craft to spark creativity with science. Chemistry science holiday activities can be fun and educational. For example, make your own snow or crystal ornaments by using just a glass jar, box of Borax laundry detergent booster, hot water and pipe cleaners or sting.

Have you seen someone being dared to put their tongue on a cold metal object and then they find themselves stuck to it? This may be very humorous to witness, but there’s also a science lesson behind it. Just a little research on why your tongue gets stuck to metal in the winter can teach youth a lot about freezing temperatures, water, ice and what material stick – like skin – and what materials do not – like rubber.

Youth can learn about the scientific process and language by using words like “hypothesis,” “observations,” “dissolve” and “results” during these fun indoor winter activities. Keep away the winter blahs and get your hands into science with fun, educational and festive activities!

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