Winter Sensory STEM Experiments

These winter sensory STEM experiments are perfect if the cold never bothered you anyway!

From ice cream to ice chalk, celebrate the winter solstice with some (literally) cool sensory STEM experiments. Join us as we explore the chemistry behind some ice-citing concoctions, learn a trick to make your friends think you can freeze time, and more! 


A frozen twist on a classic favorite, ice chalk is a fun way to take your sidewalk art game to the next level! 

Sidewalk chalk is cool but ice chalk is even cooler, literally! Start in the kitchen concocting your chalk paint-sicles, then, when they're ready, head outside and get to painting your pavement!

melted-ice-chalk-kids-sidewalk-activity

I scream, you scream, we all scream "SCIENCE" with this ice cream science project!

Feel the chill this winter as you learn the science of cold by making homemade ice cream! This vanilla or chocolate ice cream science project doesn’t require any fancy equipment, just plastic food storage bags, elbow grease, and chemistry!

Completed chocolate ice cream science project

What if we told you that you could freeze time with just a balloon, tape, and some water? 

We promise this isn’t CGI magic or a trick of the camera. What you are seeing is a particularly interesting fluid dynamic, which is a scientific way of saying the flow of a fluid (which is any liquid or gas), called laminar flow. 

Follow along with the video, or get the written steps below!

If it doesn't feel like winter, it can still sound like winter

When you think of winter, you probably think of cold temperatures, icicles, and snow. But many places around the world enjoy a tropical December - February. If you can't walk in a winter wonderland, you can at least make it sound like you are with this Foley art activity!

science of sound activity foot steps in the snow

For more engaging OSC at Home STEM activities, visit our blog! 

Ice Chalk DIY Recipe: A Frozen Sensory Sidewalk Art Project

A frozen twist on a classic favorite, ice chalk is a fun way to take your sidewalk art game to the next level! 

Sidewalk chalk is cool but ice chalk is even cooler, literally! Start in the kitchen concocting your chalk paintsicles, then, when they're ready, head outside and get to painting your pavement!

 

Let your worries about keeping children occupied melt away with this sensory outdoor activity. Using simple supplies you may already have in your kitchen, you can create batches of ice chalk to keep busy! 

 

In the event that you're using your ice chalk on a hot day, a paintbrush can extend the life of your activity! Once the ice chalk has melted, just switch from drawing to painting. 

Materials:

  • ¼ cup corn starch
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • ½ cup water
  • Mixing bowl
  • Ice cube tray or freezable mold
  • Vinegar
  • Spray bottle(s)
  • Food coloring or washable paint such as liquid watercolor or tempera paint* 
  • Optional: Paintbrush 

 

*WARNING: Food coloring is edible but can stain! Either way, mess-friendly play clothes are recommended for this activity!

kitchen-ingredients-for-ice-chalk-kids-activity

Directions:

  • Mix ¼ cup of corn starch and ¼ cup of baking soda together in a mixing bowl.  
  • Pour ½ cup water into the mixing bowl and stir until the corn starch and baking soda dissolve. 
diy-ice-chalk-recipe-with-simple-kitchen-ingredients
  • Drop several drops of food coloring into each section of your ice tray.
  • Carefully pour your mixture into your ice tray, filling up each cube about ¾ of the way full. 
food-coloring-for-colorful-ice-chalk-recipe
  • Gently mix each cube in your ice tray so the color is evenly distributed. You can use a toothpick, fork, or popsicle stick for this step. Remember to use a clean utensil for each new color! 
  • Chill your ice chalk in the freezer for 3-5 hours.  
ice-cube-tray-for-diy-ice-chalk-project
  • Carefully remove your chilled chalk from the ice tray, take it outside, and enjoy!
  • As your chalk melts, use a spray bottle to squirt vinegar onto your creations and watch them fizz! 
melted-ice-chalk-kids-sidewalk-activity

Expand on the Activity:

 

Encourage your artist to answer these questions!

  1. How does it feel to draw with your ice chalk?
  2. How is coloring with your DIY chalk different from coloring with “regular” chalk? How is it the same?
  3. What do you notice about the chalk as it melts? Can you describe it?
  4. As your chalk melts, do you see any colors mixing? What new colors do you see?
  5. What do you notice when you spray vinegar on your chalk creations? What do you see, hear, and smell? 

 

We would love to see your masterpieces! Snap a photo and submit it to our Science Showcase here or use #OSCatHome on social media!

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In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!