The snow is falling softly, the hot chocolate is on the stove, the presents are wrapped under the Christmas tree, and there are lights all along your front grove. The holidays are here, but sometimes this jolly time of year can leave students with too much energy and not enough to do. That’s why our experts at Knowledge Bump have compiled 5 Christmas-themed STEAM learning activities for students to complete so they can keep their minds sharp over the winter holidays.
1. Exploding Snowman Experiment (Science)1
Here’s what you’ll need for the exploding snowman science experiment:
· A sandwich bag
· Permanent markers (orange and black)
· Baking soda
· Paper towel or tissue paper
First, draw a snowman’s face on the sandwich bag using permanent markers. Then, wrap three teaspoons of baking soda inside a piece of paper towel or tissue paper before placing the baking soda packet inside the plastic bag. Next, pour about 1-2 cups of white vinegar into the sandwich bag and seal it as quickly as you can. It should swell up almost immediately, and now you can stand back and watch your exploding snowman!
A festive twist on a classic science experiment, this hands-on Christmas-themed learning game is perfect for keeping young minds engaged and intrigued over the Christmas break. This memorable activity will teach your children all about the nature of chemical reactions, and who knows, it may even inspire a future chemist or two.
2. Tracking Santa (Technology)
Here’s what you’ll need for tracking Santa:
· Personal device
· Internet connection
Grab your personal device, whether it’s a laptop, tablet, desktop, or phone, and ensure you have a stable internet connection. Then, search up www.noradsanta.org, which is a website that lets you track Santa as he makes his way across the world delivering presents! As a bonus, this activity can also help children learn about local and national geography as well as how time zones work.
Tracking Santa on Christmas Eve has always been a tradition in our home, meaning no list of Christmas-themed STEAM learning activities would be complete without it. It’s not only fun but educational to watch Santa work his way across the world, and it might even help your kids go to bed on time on Christmas Eve since they know Santa is on his way.
3. Tallest Shelf for the Elf (Engineering)2
Here’s what you’ll need for the tallest elf on a shelf competition:
· Colouring Supplies
· Measuring tape or ruler
Cut a long rectangular piece of paper and fold it in half so it can sit up on its own. Next, draw an elf outline on either side and colour it in. Then, solo or in teams, use toothpicks and gumdrops to build the tallest shelf for the elf and measure it to see who wins using a measuring tape or ruler. The elf has to be able to sit and stay in position, along with the structure being the tallest to be crowned the winning shelf.
Although this game allows students to flex their art skills, it’s mainly a festive engineering activity to see who can theorize and construct the best structure for the elf to sit on. Kids always love a little healthy competition between family or friends, plus it helps to plant the seeds of engineering knowledge in their heads from a young age.
4. Giant Gingerbread Man (Art)3
Here’s what you’ll need for the giant gingerbread man art project:
· Kraft paper
· Masking tape
· Colouring supplies
· Glue and sparkles (optional)
First, have your child lie on the floor as you roll out the kraft paper beside them. Next, cut the kraft paper to be slightly longer than the length of your child before taping it to the floor with masking tape. Finally, trace your child’s body to create a gingerbread man outline, and then let your children go to town with designing, colouring, and decorating their very own gingerbread man.
Let your child’s imagination run wild with this giant festive colouring activity that will keep them engaged for hours! Art is a critical part of STEAM education, making this project a Christmas must-have this season. Plus, if you’re feeling really ambitious, you can use this as an opportunity to learn about anatomy with your younger children
5. Popsicle Stick Santa Counting Game (Math)4
Here’s what you’ll need for the popsicle stick Santa counting game:
· Popsicle sticks
· Black, white, and red paint
· Cotton balls
· Pom poms
· Hot glue gun
First, paint the bottom 2/3 of the popsicle stick with red paint, as well as a small portion at the top for the hat. Next, paint a white stripe at both the red edges and a small strip of black across the middle of the popsicle for the belt. Add two small black dots for eyes before using the hot glue gun to add a white and yellow pom pom to the hat and belt, respectively. Add a tiny red pom pom or use a small dot of red paint for the nose. Finally, stretch out a cotton ball for Santa’s beard and glue it to his face. Now, make as many as you want so that you can play the popsicle stick Santa counting game. For younger children, you can get them to count how many popsicles there are, while for older children, you can use it as an opportunity to brush up on their addition, subtraction, and even multiplication and division skills.
Help your children hone their basic math skills using this Christmas-themed learning activity during this holiday break. Learning is always easier when it’s fun, meaning this is the perfect game for students, especially if they typically struggle to absorb information in a traditional math class.
Christmas doesn’t have to be a time when learning falls by the wayside. In fact, there are many ways to integrate Christmas-themed STEAM learning games into your holiday festivities, such as the ones we’ve highlighted here. At Knowledge Bump, we always like to utilize games for learning because we find it improves engagement, focus, and knowledge retention, which leads to more positive academic outcomes for students. So, we invite you to try these games out for yourself this holiday season, and from our family at Knowledge Bump to yours, we want to wish you a Merry Christmas!
If you’re interested in learning more about using games for learning purposes, or if you want to explore our tutoring options, reach out to our team directly on our inquiry page at www.knowledgebump.ca.
1. Boiron, Betty. “The Exploding Snowman Science Experiment.” Mombrite,
2. Boiron, Betty. “Build the Tallest Shelf for the Elf STEM Challenge.” Mombrite,
3. Watts, Mandisa. “Giant Gingerbread Man Craft.” Happy Toddler Playtime,
4. Kapple, Megan. “Popsicle Stick Santas.” One Little Project,