Some might say they dislike the cold winter months, but young adventurers know that this season’s chilly winds and sparkling snows give us the chance to get bundled up and go explore in ways we can only experience at this time of year!
Even if you prefer indoor play or live in an area that stays warm year-round, there’s plenty of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fun to go around this season. From trying cool experiments to building a better understanding of your environment, these simple activities will show you that low temperatures are no reason for us to join the bears in hibernation.
Have you ever wondered how animals stay warm in the winter, how to build an igloo or how to get the perfect spin while ice skating? Guided questions like these are the perfect way to start a winter adventure! In fact, all kinds of exploring, inventing and STEM learning can often start with asking important or interesting questions and seeking your own answers. Here are a few ideas to get you started as you find the topics that bring you the most joy:
Science of Sledding
Some rides are smooth and fast, while others are bumpy and slow. What factors impact your sled ride? When you start at the very top of a hill and get carried down by a sled, it is gravity that pulls you down and helps you to pick up speed. However, if your sled gets caught on debris, or if you put your foot out as a brake, that creates friction and causes the sled to slow down. As you enjoy an afternoon sledding, try experiments with speed like adding weight by joining a friend, sibling or parent on a trip down the sledding hill!
Physics in Ice Skating
Ice skating is a great way to practice physics in motion! You need balance to keep upright on slippery ice. To avoid a fall, you must work to keep your center of mass over the point of contact with the ice. After you master balance, you may want to explore the moment of inertia. Carefully try spinning with your arms out wide, and then with your arms pulled in — how does that impact your speed? Understanding these basic moves will unlock a whole world of fun physics concepts you can learn through ice skating!
No snow or ice to be found near you? No worries! You don’t need to brave the cold to discover STEM principles this season. There are plenty of ways for you to enjoy winter exploration indoors. Check out a few fun at-home ideas below:
Snow Color Chemistry
Did you know you can dye polymer mixes that look a lot like snow? Using this STEM activity, you can experiment with primary colors and develop various pigments. Pick an interesting object around you to act as an inspiration and start exploring colors as you try to match its hue! Then, see how other factors, such as salt, impact your artificial snow samples.
Make Your Own Snow
If there isn’t any snow outside, don’t worry, you can make your own! Using simple materials, you can bring winter exploration indoors. Try this STEM activity to dive into sensory play, create your own icy ecosystem model and learn about polymer science by finding out how much water can be absorbed by your “snow.”
Ready, Set, Go!
Want to explore even more? Sign up for the all-new 2022 Camp Invention® Explore program coming this summer! In the meantime, you don’t need an invitation to begin exploring — and you shouldn’t limit yourself to the ideas mentioned in this blog. You can stretch your imagination and practice creativity all year round! Soon, it will become second nature to ask thoughtful questions and get to know the world around you just a little better.
For more ideas on how to bring STEM learning to life, we invite you to visit our blog!