We test a lot of experiments in our house. A LOT.
I am guessing that in the years since we started homeschooling we have done well over 100 holiday science experiments. And I could share each and everyone with you, but instead, I want to share with you only our top ten.
These Christmas science experiments have been hits year after year in our house and I trust they will be in your house as well! (Psst - Want better directions and more ideas? Check out our Christmas Science book.)
So without further ado, here is our list!
Every year we decorate our tree. We string the lights. We hang the ornaments.
But have you ever stopped to think about the physics behind where you place each ornament? You use a sturdy branch for those heavy ornaments and thin ones for the lighter ornaments. Without even realizing it, your time decorating becomes a simple experiment in balance.
So, we choose to capitalize on that fact and test different weights of ornaments with several different thicknesses of branches. We experiment with where to put our ornaments and in the process learn about the physics of balance.
At Christmas time we like to give a classic engineering experiment a holiday twist! To build your own festive toothpick-gumdrop castle, you will need a box of toothpicks, red, green, and white gumdrops, and a bit of imagination.
Let your students design, test, and build whatever gumdrop castle they can dream up for the sugarplum fairies. You will be amazed by what they create!
This is another Christmas twist on a classic experiment - magic milk. You pour a thin layer of warm milk into a bowl. Next, add a few drops of red food coloring to one end of the bowl and green to the other.
The magic really begins when you add a drop of liquid dish soap to the center of the bowl, setting the colors on a swirling journey to make some Christmas-colored milk!
We have done chromatography butterflies and t-shirts before, but I never thought to make ornaments until I saw this post fromInspiration Laboratories. To make these you need coffee filters, markers, rubbing alcohol, eyedropper, and red ribbon.
Begin by coloring a few green, red, yellow, and black dots in the center of the coffee filter. Then, use the eyedropper to drop a few drops of rubbing alcohol in the center of the filter. Step back and watch the color spread. Once it dries, cut the filter into a circle and attach the ribbon to hang it on the tree!
Building gingerbread houses is another way to tie engineering into your holiday plans! You can use a gingerbread kit and test different icing recipes to build the strongest structure you can make.
If you don’t want to make an edible house, you can use cardboard, Legos, or paper to build a house for your gingerbread family.
If you don’t have snow in your area, this experiment is perfect - it’s super easy and even feels a bit cool to the touch! Basically, you mix a box or cornstarch with a can of shaving cream and then you play till your heart's content.
This one is super fun to watch! For this experiment, you will need two clear cups, two candy canes, and some water. Fill the first cup with cold water and the second with warm water. Then, drop the candy canes in and watch what happens.
To mix up a batch of Christmas slime you will need white (or clear, gel) glue, water, glitter, green food coloring, and some Borax. Begin by mixing 4oz of glue with 4oz of water, a few drops of green food coloring, and a shake of glitter in a plastic bag.
Next, in a separate cup mix a quarter cup of water with half a teaspoon of Borax. Add the Borax solution to the baggie and massage the bag for a few minutes until a nice firm slime has formed.
Then pull the slime out of the baggie and have fun!
We love making Borax crystals in our house, so we simply had to make some to hand on our tree. You can make your own by shaping pipe cleaners into a snowflake shape. This can be as simple or as complex as you wish, but make sure it will fit through the opening of your jar. Next, attach your snowflake to the pencil. You want the pencil to be able to rest on the edge of your jar without having your snowflake touch the sides or bottom of the jar.
Now, add hot water until it almost fills the jar, noting how many cups of water it takes to fill the jar. Then, add the Borax one tablespoon at a time. Taking care each time to stir until the Borax is dissolved. You want to add about 3 tablespoons of Borax for every cup of water you have added. Finally, hang your snowflake in the jar so that it is completely covered by the liquid. Allow the jar to sit undisturbed overnight.
Who says cookie cutters are only for sugar cookie dough? To make some holiday science cookies you will need baking soda, vinegar, food coloring, plate, and a cookie cutter.
Start by using the food coloring to tint the vinegar either green or red. Then, place the cookie cutter on the plate and fill it with baking soda. Now, use the eyedropper to squirt colored-vinegar on it! Click on over to our Facebook account to see the video of this.
Did you know that petrified rock is actually a fossil? Click "Read More" to see a simple STEM lesson about petrified rock and make your own petrified sponge!
Has spring visited your area yet? Keeping a "Signs of Spring" reference journal can help you anticipate the arrival of the best season of the year! Click "Read More" to learn how to make your own journal!
Habitat, Biome, or Ecosystem? All three seem similar, but there are subtle distinctions! Click "Read More" to see what those are and get a simple STEAM activity to use with your students.