The winter can be a great time to focus on innovative indoor activities that will engage your young child. Preschool aged children, and even some toddlers, may be excited to learn about science, technology, engineering, and math from these simple crafts that can be done at home with just a few simple objects, and these activities are a great complement to the STEM knowledge your children are acquiring at childcare.

Learning About Magnets

STEM

You’ll need:

A clear plastic container

A handful of pipe cleaners

A small magnet

A craft stick

Craft glue

Cut your pipe cleaners into inch long pieces and put them inside your plastic container. Then, glue your magnet to the end of a craft stick. Ask your child to hold the craft stick with the magnet touching the outside of the plastic container and then move the stick up along the side of the container. Your child will see that the bits of pipe cleaner float upwards along with the movements of the craft stick! You can teach her that metal is attracted to magnets, so the pipe cleaners, with their metal wires, are drawn to the magnet and follow it!

Make a Rain Cloud

You’ll need:

A clear jar

Water

Food coloring

Shaving cream

A plastic pipette

Fill your jar with water. In a separate bowl, mix food coloring with a bit of water. Spray shaving cream onto the top of the clear jar, making a cloud shape. Then, draw some of the food coloring and water into your pipette and squirt it onto the shaving cream cloud. Your child will notice that the more food coloring he drops onto the cloud, the heavier the cloud will become, allowing drops of the food coloring to drop through the bottom of the cloud, just as rain does, into the clear water below! You can explain to your child than the clouds he sees in the sky are made of water vapor, and when the clouds attract enough water vapor, the cloud becomes so heavy that gravity pulls water down from the cloud as rain!

Build a Toy Chute

You’ll need:

A cardboard wrapping paper tube

Masking tape

An assortment of toys which can fit into the tube

A kitchen timer or stopwatch

Tape your cardboard tube to the wall, at a diagonal. Then, ask your child to sort the toys from lightest to heaviest. Drop the lightest toy into the chute, and see how long it takes to slide down to the floor. Then continue dropping the toys, increasing in weight, down the chute, and your child will notice that the larger and heavier toys drop the most quickly! Talk to your child about the idea of momentum, and the fact that heavier objects tend to have more mass, and therefore will drop more quickly than lighter objects.

Have you explored any STEM activities with your children? Tell us what you’ve learned at home in the comments section!