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STEAM Activities for Winter Break

Photo Credit: "The Contagious Intelligence Project -- Light Emitting Diodes" by Howard County Library System. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, via Flickr.


Winter break is right around the corner! In addition to catching up on sleep and playing outside, days off from school are a great time to incorporate STEAM activities into your home life.

Hands-on activities are a great way to get kids excited about science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. Start with some of the activities, which cover topics as diverse as color, static electricity, and buoyancy, listed at the bottom of our Summer Science Fun collection. They aren't seasonally restricted and they can take place indoors and are scalable for time and number of kids. Our Afterschool resources are another source to explore. In particular, the Cool Idea activity is seasonally appropriate. Other resources ask kids to build geysers, explore the importance of precision in building robots, study gravity, and concoct honeybee dances to give directions. Maker spaces, which can be found at libraries and community centers open during winter break, as well as other public venues, are a great way for kids to combine STEM activities with crafting, as Jie Qi demonstrates with her interactive circuitry art. NASA's climate change site for kids, NASA's Climate Kids, offers a variety of hands-on activities, as does the VideoScience App. Finally, cooking together in the kitchen is a great way for kids to express themselves creatively while also working on math skills and measurement.

Does your kid like to read? SB&F is AAAS's review journal dedicated to offering reviews of science books, DVDs, websites, and software. In addition to publishing a monthly journal issue, SB&F also awards an annual prize for outstanding science writing and illustration in publishing for children and young adults. The finalists for the 2017 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books were recently announced and include some of the best offerings amongst this year's picture books, middle-grade books, hands-on science books, and books for young adults. You can also check out past winners, as well as a list of finalists from the past decade. Check out the Spotlight on Science Writers series here on our blog for guest posts from some of these renowned authors. Finally, it's never too early to start cultivating a love of science: last month's feature on the best in science picture books has suggestions for great books for kids home from school to read with younger siblings.

Getting kids outside to explore the natural world is another great way to get them excited about STEM. Citizen science activities ask non-scientists to gather or work with information to help scientists with research and often are happy to accept student participants. Consider the Christmas Bird Count, one of the oldest citizen science projects in the country; it begins next week and continues into the first week of January. Other ideas for field trips include trips to maker spaces, science centers, zoos, and aquariums. You could even use our app, Active Explorer, to create a quest for your kids to complete.

Even the most dedicated budding scientist needs some downtime. Check out our apps collection for recommendations on what to download onto new (or old) devices. Apps can teach kids about light, wetlands, math, and computer coding, just to name a few. We also have video collections divided up by grade band: K–2, 3–5, 6–8, and 9–12. The Tools section of our website offers suggestions for STEM sites and interactives accessible on all types of computers.

We hope you enjoy your winter break, but still have fun making STEAM part of your day!

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