As the much-anticipated winter break draws near, with you and your students eagerly ticking off the days, the quest for engaging yet sanity-preserving activities begins. It’s that magical time when excitement is high, and the challenge lies in finding something both enjoyable and educational to channel that energy. Look no further! I’ve created 5 captivating winter STEM activities that your students are going to love. These are not just learning experiences; they’re adventures in science, technology, engineering, and math, carefully crafted to keep your students enthralled without sending the classroom into chaos. Plus, they come with the added bonus of being low-prep, making your lesson planning a breeze. Let the winter STEM festivities begin!
1. How to Catch a Gingerbread Man STEM
In the story “How to Catch a Gingerbread Man” by Adam Wallace, the gingerbread man is trying to escape from the children chasing him. This version is a little different as the gingerbread man is running through various fairytales.
The How to Catch a Gingerbread Man STEM Unit tasks students with helping the gingerbread man escape vs. being trapped with a safe indoor slingshot. Students will explore kinetic and potential energy as well as a plethora of reading comprehension and writing activities.
Click here to purchase a copy of the book “How to Catch a Gingerbread Man” in my Amazon store.
2. How to Catch a Snowman STEM
“How to Catch a Snowman” is a classic catch me if you can story in which the snowman tries to escape all the children’s traps. In the end, he may escape, but he leaves a big gift for the kids who failed to trap him.
In the How to Build a Snowman STEM Unit, students are instructed to build a trap to keep the snowman from escaping. Kids have more freeform building in this challenge which leaves a lot of room for creativity and easy prep because you can use whatever you have!
Click here to purchase a copy of the book “How to Catch a Snowman” in my Amazon store.
3. How to Catch an Elf STEM
My third winter STEM activity is based on the book “How to Catch an Elf”. Are you sensing a theme? Ha! In this book, an elf avoids traps that kids have made to trap him when Santa visits. Each house he visits has a different style of trap.
In the How to Catch an Elf STEM Unit students will be challenged to make elf grabbers. My boys helped me design this simple machine lever system. I also included a cute elf craft, fun winter holiday-themed reading comprehension activities as well as writing extensions in multiple genres.
Click here to purchase a copy of the book “How to Catch an Elf” in my Amazon store.
4. How to Catch a Reindeer STEM
This story is told by Comet the reindeer. She decides to explore on her own, but the children try to trap her! Will the kids trap Comet and possibly ruin Christmas?
In the How to Catch a Reindeer STEM Unit, my kids and I had a blast creating a slope and jump for the runaway reindeer nose! Follow step-by-step instructions, or let kids modify and design on their own with a common goal.
Click here to purchase a copy of the book “How to Catch a Reindeer” in my Amazon store.
5. How to Catch Santa Claus STEM
Can you imagine if Santa was trapped? See if these creative kids find a way to capture him or if his trusty elves and reindeer can keep him safe.
This How to Catch Santa Claus STEM Unit was a lot of fun to design and tweak. What I loved most about creating this wheel and axle simple machine unit was that my kids had to help me with the final design when I kept hitting a wall ha. It proved to me that I was creating something not only fun but important. I love seeing kids be creative while problem-solving and as a result, they build that much-needed confidence. I hope you have fun helping Santa escape in his balloon-powered sleigh!
Click here to purchase a copy of the book “How to Catch Santa Claus” in my Amazon store.
Click on the images or links above to take a closer look at these winter STEM activities and you can use the links above to purchase a copy of these books in my Amazon store. (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)
Each of the units above includes resources for supporting your students through the STEM process with instructions and posters. Here are a few examples from my How to Catch a Santa STEM Unit:
Additionally, each unit includes lots of reading comprehension activities, writing, and a fun craft! Here are some examples from my How to Catch a Reindeer STEM Unit:
If you’re new to facilitating STEM activities in your classroom check out my blog, “Simple Steps On How To Implement STEM In Your Classroom,” where I break down materials to gather, expectations, and more.
And to help you lead your students through the STEM process, I’m sharing these STEM Posters with you for FREE!
The 5 winter STEM activities above are also part of my STEM Bundle which includes 10 fun STEM challenges you can use throughout the year. I also have Digital STEM Activities perfect for imagining, brainstorming, designing, and creating STEM projects digitally with over 70 moveable pieces in Google Slides.
Happy teaching, and may your classroom be a hub of inspiration for all seasons!