During the holiday season, it’s important to find different ways to keep your preschooler engaged with learning. As a way to make science fun and festive, you can conduct several holiday themed science experiments with your preschooler. The holiday themed science experiments don’t have to be elaborate or complicated, but they are a great way to capture your preschooler’s attention so they get excited to learn about science. If you make learning fun for children, they will be more willing to participate and engage with the experiments.
1. Coded Festive Jewelry
Instead of making ordinary jewelry, why don’t you craft ones that have a coded message? Making beaded jewelry is a wonderful way to introduce the topic of coding to preschoolers, and you can even give these as gifts to friends and family.
First, you need to decide what message your jewelry will contain. Short messages like “Mom” or “Dad” will be great for a bracelet or keychain, and longer messages like “I love you!” can be created into a necklace or lanyard.
To code the messages, you will use binary codes for the letters. By looking at a binary character table, you will be able to find what numbers to use for each letter. For example, the binary code for “M” is 0100 1101 and for “O” is 0100 1111 so “Mom” would be 0100 1101 0100 1111 0100 1101.
For a festive element, you can have the numbers be either red or green (Christmas), blue or white (Hanukkah), or red, black, or green (Kwanzaa). In between each letter of the coded message, you could place a decorative bead so your preschooler will be able to tell where each letter starts and stops.
2. Candy Cane Experiments
Before eating candy canes, you could have your preschooler perform several experiments using them. To test the candy cane’s strength, you could hang different weighted objects on the hook end to see which ones are lighter or heavier than the candy cane. You can easily find objects around your house to use like socks, ribbon, plastic cups, or even a coat hanger.
To learn about the power of observation, you can dissolve the candy cane in different liquids. After pouring the liquids (ex. milk, water, vinegar, juice, etc.) into different jars, your preschooler can place a candy cane in each jar and watch what happens to each candy cane. It’s important to watch this experiment over the next few hours and even let it sit overnight.
To make candy canes “dance,” you mix baking soda and vinegar in a jar and have your preschooler place a few candy canes inside. The baking soda and vinegar mixture will produce bubbles which will cause the candy canes to move around. If you play a few holiday tunes, you could have a mini dance party of your own.
3. Wrapped Egg Drop
If your preschooler enjoys helping you wrap gifts, you can try a wrapped egg drop. To help hone your preschooler’s engineering skills and introduce the concept of gravity, help your preschooler find objects around the house that will safely cushion the egg from being dropped from a high point. To limit the mess, place the egg in a plastic bag in case it should break during the drop.
To build their eggs’ float, your preschooler can use items like tissue boxes, toilet paper cardboard tubes, bubble wrap, dry pasta, or even rice. For a holiday element, you could offer gift wrapping supplies like tissue paper, bows, ribbon, and wrapping paper to help cushion their eggs or wrap their creations before the drop.
4. New Year’s Eve Fireworks
For New Year’s Eve fireworks that are safe enough for your preschooler to handle, these simple science experiments are the perfect option. After filling a jar with warm water, place a few drops of food coloring and 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a separate bowl. Your preschooler can gently use a fork to break up the food coloring into smaller drops and then dump the bowl into the water jar for the fireworks to occur. Your preschooler can use different colors or use the same color if they prefer.
5. Christmas Lights with a Twist
Instead of traditional slime, you can make festive slime with your preschooler. Believe it or not, slime is a simple way to introduce children to chemistry as they mix the borax, starch, and glue together and watch as they change their molecular structures to form a new substance…the slime. For a festive touch, you can add food coloring for holiday colors, colored glitter, and even small decorative holiday beads that will add a unique touch.
As the holiday season is in full swing, it can be easy to bounce from one activity to the next, but it’s important to have your children spend some time learning new skills. If you make science fun for your preschooler, they won’t even realize they are learning about it.
This article was written by our guest contributor, Valerie Cox. Valerie is a contributing writer for LOC Scientific. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, spending time with her family, and volunteering in her local community.