I know how tempting it is to call the weeks before winter break a wash. You spend hours planning just for student focus to wane as their minds focus on all the holiday fun ahead. Well, before you throw in the towel and press play on that classic Christmas movie, check out how I keep the learning going in my room. With fun and engaging Christmas science activities your students will not only be learning but having fun at the same time. I am so excited to share 5 of my favorite Christmas science activities with you to help keep your students engaged and having fun this winter!
During this chaotic time of year, I find it helpful to have some super engaging, low-prep Christmas science activities on hand. While I weave these into my lesson plans, I’ve also been known to grab one at the last minute when we are just having a hard day. There’s no better reboot during the holiday season that some fun learning activities.
Using winter and Christmas science activities not only keeps my students learning but also helps me cover the science standards I need to fit in before winter break.
The best part is, all of these Christmas science activities don’t require any special or expensive materials to complete. You might even have some of these materials already in your classroom!
I know you and your students will love these Christmas science experiments! If you are interested in other fun Christmas activities, be sure to check out my post Christmas Math Activities for Upper Elementary to help your students practice decimals using real-world scenarios in exciting ways.
OK, let’s jump right into some seriously fun Christmas science activities that I know your students will love!
Ever wonder what kind of toothpaste Santa uses? Hmmm, me either. But your students will love the idea of making Christmasy toothpaste for Ol’ Saint Nick!
Using commonly found household objects your students will try their hand at making this fun concoction. Along the way they will get to see a variety of chemical changes occur.
This Santa’s Toothpaste experiment will have your students practicing following directions with precision. They will also be putting their prediction skills to the test.
Your students will have to predict what will happen when they combine all of the ingredients. I promise. They won’t be disappointed!
This experiment is great as an individual activity, a group activity, a center, or even as a “game” during your holiday celebration. It’s just that much fun!
Build a Christmas Tree
I’m a huge fan of science experiments that allow for teamwork! I am always looking for ways to build community in my classroom and this Building a Tree activity makes my nice list by doing just that!
This STEM-themed activity will have your students working collaboratively using specific materials to create a Christmas tree. Students are asked to brainstorm and sketch out their designs, which allows them to plan out their design thoughtfully before beginning. This is a great way to introduce and practice the STEM design process if you haven’t used it before.
Sometimes, depending on the skill level of my class, I will add a timed build to the project. This poses more of a challenge. If you have a naturally competitive class this is a great challenge to add. It’s a favorite activity for my students in the days before Christmas break.
One of my favorite parts of this Christmas science activity is the reflection sheet. I love that students are not just challenged to complete the activity, but then to reflect on the activity too! It’s great for me to hear my students talking about the strengths and weaknesses of their trees and what revisions they would make if they did this project again. I usually have my students complete these reflection sheets collaboratively with their group. And . . . if we have time we just might do the activity again so they can put some of those reflections into their design.
These Christmas trees also make a perfect addition to your classroom or school winter decorations. Ask your librarian or front office staff if the colorful trees can be displayed in the weeks before winter break. Your students will love seeing their creations on display!
The Cookie Experiment
Now, Christmas science experiments just wouldn’t be complete without some milk and cookies! While it may be a little sad for students to think about dissolving cookies in a glass of milk, this really is a fun science experiment.
This is a great opportunity for you to ask parents to donate milk and cookie for a class project. The best part is, there are sure to be lots of cookies leftover that weren’t needed for the science experiment. That means a cookie party for you and your students! Who wouldn’t love some milk and cookies while discussing the results of this fun Christmas science activity.
This observational science experiment gets students testing how quickly 3 different types of cookies dissolve in a glass of milk. They will practice recording observations as they time how quickly the cookies dissolve.
After the experiment, they get to hypothesize the reason why one of the cookies dissolved the fastest. Not only is this experiment jam-packed with science practice, but I also love using it right before break because it is a great lead-in to a holiday party!
Create your own edible ornament
This create your own edible ornament science experiment is a crowd pleaser for sure. Students are required to follow a recipe to create their own edible ornament. This Christmas science activity helps students learn about mixtures and its a great way to help students practice following multi-step instructions too.
Your students will be required to make their edible ornament using specific ingredients and steps. This activity does involve using a heat source so completing it as a class is a good option if you don’t have access to multiple hot plates.
Students will then observe and describe the effects of the ingredients as they are mixed together with heat.
Although students don’t use their sense of taste during the experiment, I often surprise them later with a pre-made pan or crispy rice treats.
If you don’t have access to a heat source at school, consider sending this activity home for students to complete with their families. You could even supply the dry ingredients in a festive plastic bag and attach the “recipe” to the bag. No matter how you choose to have your students complete this experiment, you can be sure they will be excited to build their own edible ornament.
Candy Cane Hang
The Candy Cane Strength challenge is not only educational but super intense to watch. You will not believe how quiet your classroom can get as students wait with anticipation during this Christmas science activity.
Besides candy canes, this project is great because it only uses supplies you already have on hand in your classroom.
Your kids will love using objects from the classroom to hang from their candy canes to see how much weight the candy cane can hold and for how long. My students are always super focused and watching intently while we wait to see how strong their candy canes are.
Having different types of candy canes can also add an extra layer of science and math to the experiment. Students will have to measure and weigh the different candy canes and then hypothesize about which candy canes they think will be the strongest and why. It’s a great way to reinforce the concepts of variables and constants too!
This could be a fun project to do with a buddy class or ask a younger grade level class to come in and watch the candy cane strength challenge with you.
Why I Love Using Science Activities for Christmas in My Classroom
The week leading up to winter break can be one of the most difficult times to teach, but I’ve found that pulling out these Christmas science activities is the perfect way to keep my students engaged and learning through all the excitement. The hands-on nature of these experiments allows students to harness that holiday energy and focus it on creating, observing, and testing. Leaving all of you with plenty of Christmas cheer!
Want to help keep your students engaged too? Grab all of my favorite experiments in the Christmas Science Activities and Experiments resource!
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