Looking for a hands-on activity for a specific holiday? Look no further than this page where we share activities themed for different events and holidays.
Make your own NYE ball drop — only five sheets of paper needed!
Ring in the new year with the family and this fun engineering design challenge. How tall a tower can you make with just five sheets of paper? Can you perfect your design in time for midnight … or 9 p.m. bedtime? And then, can you figure out a way to build in a ball to drop from the top?
A work of heART
Love isn’t two-dimensional, so your valentines shouldn’t be either. Bring your feelings to life with our fun and simple Thaumatropes activity, where two images collide in a fun optical illusion. All you’ll need is paper, coloring tools of choice and string. Can you send a message that will leave your loved one tongue-tied?
Prepare your summer tie-dye wardrobe
Create eco-friendly fabric dye out of red cabbage then add some guilt-free flair to your summer style! In an activity straight from the brains of the folks behind our BioTinkering lab, you’ll harvest pigment from cabbage then experiment with making your own colors by changing the pH before creating your own tie-dye patterns. What unique Cabbage Inks Tie Dye creations can you come up with?
Calling all thrill seekers!
Buckle up and get ready to design your own amusement park ride with our Roller Coasters activity. Learn some basics of physics, toy around with fun materials and get ready for all the twists and turns it takes to be an engineer. Make sure to raise your hands and scream “WOOOOOOO!!!” after a successful test! Extra credit if you do a little research on your favorite ride and incorporate its mechanics.
Dance-off data challenge
How smooth are your moves? Bust out your best Floss, Moon Walk or Chicken Dance in this activity perfect for all ages. In Gyroscope Dancing you'll use a smartphone to see if you can go with the flow or bounce with the beat. Psst: you'll have so much fun you might forget you're actually exercising!
You Rang? Make a Monster House
Reuse cardboard into the spookiest house on the block! Spend some time thinking about who you are designing for. Are you giving Frankenstein a place to rest his boots and recharge? Will Vampira need some blackout curtains? What Addams Family-style shenanigans can you build in?
Come, We Fly! Witch Zipline
Even the Wicked Witch needed a little help flying at first. Make a zipline to help your own little witch or her flying monkeys get across the living room. Bonus points if you can build something sturdy enough to get candy from the Sanderson sisters to trick-or-treaters at least six feet away!
A Halloween Spin
It’s aliiiiveee! Make an optical illusion the whole family can enjoy with Thaumatropes. Draw images on either side of a paper disk, spin and watch the hocus pocus! All you’ll need is some sturdy paper or cardboard, string, markers and creativity. Make a jack-o'-lantern without all the mess … or give a skeleton some moves.
Season your greetings with Cabbage Inks
Skip the toxic ink and play with biology to make your own set of biodegradable paint mix to decorate cards or gift tags. All you’ll need is cabbage and a few ingredients you can get at any grocery store. It’s a STEM spin on crafting that even the Grinch will love.
Crack the code to the perfect gift
Step up your gift-giving street cred by thinking like an engineer and getting hopeful about the future. Pick a family member and think about where they’ll be in 10 years. What kind of things will they like? What will they spend their day doing? Draw up a plan to make a gift that wows them with your thoughtfulness. It’s a spin on our Imagining Inventions activity that will get your little elves some skills in empathy and user-centered design.
Eco-friendly holiday decor
Pass the present
In this version of High Tech Hot Potato you'll see how smoothly you can pass the present. You'll track the motion of your package as it's delivered around the circle. Use the Arduino Smartphone app to see if you can smoothly deliver the fruitcake. Or maybe you'd prefer to destroy it?
Wind-ter wonderland present delivery
Can you harness the wind to deliver presents six feet? Your holly jolly innovators will have fun searching for materials, then building and designing a device that can deliver a present using wind from a fan or hair dryer. Who can make their device go the farthest?
Winter Biomimicry Mash-Up
Write down a few animals and their features. For example, penguins have thick feathers to stay warm and stream-lined bodies to swim fast. Then design a device that takes inspiration from the natural world to improve on a holiday experience. How can you quickly deliver someone hot cocoa before it gets cold?
Up your tiptoe-ing game
Need to sneak into the kitchen for more dessert without getting caught? Build your own Ninja Walk Training Course! Use the Arduino Science Journal app to analyze how smoothly and silently you can make it across the course. While learning is a reward in itself, make sure to grab a cookie or special treat to celebrate your silent journey.
Dance off those holiday blues
Turn your reunion into a dance party with the Gyroscope Dancing data challenge. Attach a smartphone to your arm (or use an armband phone holder) with the Arduino Science Journal app so the accelerometers on your phone can record the motion as you groove. Jingle jangle without detecting motion in one direction.
Track that Elf
Keep tabs on that sneaky Santa spy by thinking like a computer. Have your child create a sequence of yes/no questions that will help narrow down where you hid that mischievous little tattle-tale. Not only will your kiddo pick up the kind of computational thinking skills that programming careers are made of, you’ll have fun leaving clues for your little problem-solver.