Old Man Winter is knocking on the door, and we’re looking at colder temperatures, shorter days and (hopefully) snowfall in the months ahead.
Winter is also a time to explore and enjoy the fun and interesting things that come with the season, like snowmen, frost and tasty treats! We’ve compiled a list of our favorite crafts, recipes and experiments to help welcome the new season in your afterschool program:
Snow Storm in a Jar: What’s better than an actual snow storm? One that’s made in a jar! This activity is a great opportunity to teach students about snow: why it snows, how it forms and which states get the most (or least) snow. Bonus: students will get to observe a chemical reaction when the Alka Seltzer enters the water.
Marshmallow Snowman: This easy-to-make marshmallow snowman is sure to be a winner with your students! You’ll only need mini chocolate chips, pretzel sticks, marshmallows, candy corn and toothpicks to make these snowmen. Once finished, wrap them up and let students bring their snowmen home to add to a mug of hot cocoa for a tasty winter treat!
Making Frost: What causes frost to form? In this experiment from Science Sparks, students will combine ice, water and salt in a tin can to demonstrate how water vapor condenses on cold surfaces, and then freezes to make frost. It’s a great way to explain the frost they’ll see on windows, cars and the ground in the chilly days ahead.
Building Igloos: Challenge students to build an igloo using only marshmallows and toothpicks. This engineering challenge doesn’t include any special instructions and encourages open-ended play. Even better, this activity involves problem solving, geometric concepts and spatial reasoning!
Snow Slime: Slime is all the rage these days, which is why we had to add this snow slime activity to the list! Using clear glue, multi-colored glitter, foil snowflakes and liquid starch, students can make snow slime for themselves or as a gift for a friend. Warning: students may ask to do this activity more than once!
Grinch Fruit Kabobs: Don’t be a grinch. Spread holiday cheer with these fun and healthy Grinch fruit kabobs. They’re easy to make, require few ingredients and will be a hit with students! If possible (and appropriate), serve the snacks while watching the holiday classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Melting Frozen Hands: Ever wonder why salt is put on the roads and sidewalks when it snows? It’s because salt melts ice due to a concept called freezing point depression. Students will see it action when they use salt to melt their hand-shaped ice blocks!
Aerial View Snowmen: This isn’t your average snowman craft. These aerial view snowmen are created from a different perspective with 3D quality. Students will enjoy dabbling in watercolors, oil pastels and other art supplies as they make their snowman creative and unique!
Blubber Hands: How do animals like walruses, penguins and polar bears stay warm in icy water? It’s all thanks to a layer of fat called blubber. This activity uses vegetable shortening to demonstrate how “blubber” can keep little hands warm in icy water. Be sure to let students feel the water before adding the “blubber” so they can observe the difference.
Water Bottle Penguins: Penguins endure cold temperatures year-round, which is why making these water bottle penguins is a great winter activity! Students can easily make these little guys with supplies you may already have on hand. Once finished, display them together to form a cute penguin family!
These activities are sure to keep students busy and engaged throughout the winter. Also, check out 5 Indoor Games To Beat Cabin Fever to keep students moving during the colder months.