We had so much fun in our Winter Wondering class last week that I wanted to share the three activities with all of you whether you're a Little STEAMers Club member or not.
1. Ice Engineering
Did you know if you take a load of ice cubes and blend them, you get a consistency pretty similar to snow?
Instructions: Use your blended ice to build a snowman, a wall, or even the tallest tower you can. The challenge is that it's harder to handle the ice than you'd imagine and there's a time limit until it all melts!
Once you've built your snowman, give it a face with raisins or goggly eyes and stick it back in the freezer. Later on, take it out and watch the whole thing melt back into water.
Learning: sensory play; freezing and melting; fine motor skills; engineering sturdy structures.
This video I made has a quick demo of all the different ways to engineer with ice and features my able 3-year-old assistant.
2. Snowstorm in a Glass
You can combine a bit of science with your winter theme with just a quick trip to the chemist.
Instructions: Mix together white paint and water and pour into the bottom of a tall glass. Add about 2-3 times as much baby oil carefully on top of the water (optional sprinkle on glitter). Drop an Alka Seltzer into the glass and watch the snowstorm begin!
Here's the remains of my four online live classes and a practice run from last week all having another final snowstorm....
Learning: interaction of oil and water; floating and sinking; bubbles traveling upwards; reactions.
3. Symmetry Snowflakes
With a bit of glue and some black paper or card, you can make a snowflake or snowstorm picture and learn about maths too.
Instructions Snowflakes: On a piece of black card, mark out a star or snowflake shape with cotton buds. Talk about the points being evenly spaced and then glue in place.
Now take any other crafting materials to complete the snowflake, always adding the same thing to each point of the star/snowflake. You could use anything in white, silver or blue, e.g. sequins, cotton wool, cut up pipe cleaners, paper from a shape punch or cut up, cut up doilies.
Try to encourage rotational symmetry.
Instructions Snowstorm: For younger children, instead make a snowstorm picture by sticking cotton wool onto black paper. Pull the cotton wool into parts to talk about small and big bits of snow and count the snowballs together.
Learning: rotational symmetry, patterns, counting, fine motor skills.
Remember, in the early years learning should always be child-led so if your child wants to take an activity in another direction just go with it. You can return to these activities another day.
Find out more about the importance of STEAM in the early years.
If you'd like to join a Little STEAMers class to try some more STEAM activities, your first class is always free.