I don’t know about you, but having kids in Chicago during the Winter is rough!  It may be sunny and blue skies, but there is no going outside for a good chunk of the year.  It's easy to find places for kids to run out their energy indoors, but what can you do to help them use their brain on these chilly days?  STEM activities are a great way to get kids off the iPad and using their hands to engineer new and creative things.

Here are a few of our favorite DIY STEM activities, that will be a huge hit with your kids this Winter season.  We have listed their difficulty level, why we love them and a link to a great instructional video or post we have found for it.

Popsicle Catapult

  • Difficulty level: Easy Breezy
  • Why we love it: This activity requires minimal supplies that you probably already have around the house.  It is a quick activity that kids will play with all afternoon.  Add another science level to it by experimenting with launching different items to see what will go the furthest.
  • Littlebinsforlittlehands.com has a great how to and tons of other awesome activities for kids.  Click here for how to build it.

Lego Maze

  • Difficulty level: Make it as hard as you like!
  • Why we love it: I mean who doesn’t love Legos?  Spend time with your child building a maze that you can try to get a marble through.  It's easy, repeatable and something they can do with you or on their own.  There is basically no cost for this activity, if you already have some legos lying around the house!
  • Get the free printable activity here

Cloud in a jar

  • Difficulty level: Easy,  but adult supervision required.
  • Why we love it: This is a true science experiment that really couldn’t be easier!  Kids will love watching a cloud form before their eyes and will have so many weather related follow up questions for you.  Don’t worry we have you covered - check out some fun weather facts from NatGeoKids.com.
  • Check out this instructional video 

Crystal Sun Catchers

  • Difficulty level: Easy, but adult supervision required.
  • Why we love it: Something sparkly? Yes please.  These crystals are a quick and beautiful creation you can make with just a few simple household ingredients.  There are lots of opportunities for kids to help with measuring and pouring, which is always a hit in our house. 
  • BabbleDabbleDo.com has a really great how-to for this experiment.  Check out their Overnight Crystal Garden as well! 

Stop Motion Animation Movie

  • Difficulty level: Get your thinking cap on!
  • Why we love it: Technology and kids today can be a sensitive subject with parents.  How much screen time is right, what games are educational but also fun and require critical thinking?  These are just a few of the many questions and concerns parents have.  In my opinion what always makes me feel better about iPad or screen time for my kids is when I am involved as well.  This activity is actually fun for adults too and will require you to learn a new skill!  What better way to strengthen your relationship with your kids than learning something new together?
  • Tinkerlab.com has a great post that includes everything you need to get started with Stop Motion Animation - check it out here.

Want to get out of the house this Winter?  Stay tuned for upcoming events by liking our Facebook page!

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