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.
Lunar New Year Animals
Design your own linkage animal to celebrate the Lunar New Year. See our previous Year of the Ox and Year of the Tiger linkage designs for inspiration, but feel free to explore different linkage mechanisms to create various types of movement.
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?
Don’t go breaking my heart!
Your mission: Build a device that can help your (bouncy ball) heart survive a 6-foot drop. In this heartwarming Solve the Fall activity, your little learner will have fun building, and rebuilding, with creative materials you likely have at home.
Love letter from a bioengineer: you!
Make your own eco-friendly valentines with our Cabbage Inks activity. Let your inner bioengineer out to play by turning pigment from a red cabbage into a non-toxic ink, then pen your own ode to that special STEMinist in your life.
Here, hold my quiver
Falling in love ain’t easy — sometimes even Cupid needs a little support. Build your own Zipline to get the little angel from one love nest to another. Bonus points for making your own cupid to deliver zipline valentines or coming up with your own creative backstory.
Designed with love
Struggling for the perfect gift for your loved one? Invent one! Imagining Inventions helps you get creative and really think about what your beau or teacher/caregiver might really be able to use. We heart this activity because it tugs on our empathy strings.
Earth Day chalk art
Sidewalk art is such a fun way to get outside and express some creativity. Here are three tips for leveling up your chalk art game!
Go for a nature walk
Enjoy the outdoors and get inspiration for our Biomimicry Mash-Up activity. Use your observational skills as an engineer to notice natural organisms and their unique features, then brainstorm and design a human invention inspired by nature!
Filter out the trash
Put your environmental engineer hats on to protect our waterways by designing a storm drain that will catch trash in our Building a Storm Drain activity!
Reinvent natural materials
Be a materials scientist and harness the sustainable polymers in seaweed to make your own colorful string creations with our Algae String activity!
Take on the role of a wildlife conservationist in our Caution! Wildlife Crossing activity as you design a road crossing for a wild animal. Help them cross human barriers safely so they can find the resources they need to survive.
Explore environmental impacts
Explore the impact of building a hydroelectric dam in your town in our Responsible Reservoirs activity. Act out cause-and-effect scenarios as the town’s mayor.
Harness solar energy
In our Cooking with the Sun activity, you’ll use a natural source of energy – the sun – to make s’mores! You’ll not only be a solar engineer and chef, you’ll also enjoy a yummy treat in no time!
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.
Beat the heat: Make that iced!
Keep your cool this summer with this spin on one of our hottest activities. Can you build a Zipline to deliver ice cubes straight to your drink? Bonus points if you can also deliver the drink to your cup- make sure you don’t spill!
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!
Gimme s’more sun!
Who needs a campfire when you can harvest the power of the sun? Build your own solar oven to make a yummy treat sure to please in Cooking with the Sun. It will leave everyone wanting s'more!
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!
Grab a UV light and go on a scavenger hunt around your house for fluorescent ingredients to make your algae string SPOOKY. Hint! We found turmeric, laundry detergent and peanut butter fluoresces.
Grow your own costume
Harness the power of biology by growing leather from tea to make your own costume. Can you make a pirate eye patch or mask worthy of Zorro? Make feathers, leaves or your own book of magic spells!
Send Some Halloween Love!
Make your own Cabbage Inks palette and paint a pumpkin patch, spooky scene or friendly ghost and mail it to Grandma or anyone who could use a little fall pick me up.
Who Ya Gonna Call? Inflatable Ghosts
Make the friendliest ghost in town or a little monster only a mummy would love. You can upcycle plastic bags to make your own blow up creation with a fan or hair dryer.
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.
Learn about Día de los Muertos with the School of Arts & Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza and make your own dancing skeleton Linkages! Feel free to use our printout calaveras (skulls) or make your own! What dances can your calaca do?
Light-up sugar skulls
This sugar skull has us feeling soft... circuits! Mix up your electrical game with some textiles as you decorate your altars for Día de los Muertos!
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.
Shake things up with an earthquake-proof gingerbread house
Hold on to your gumdrops! Create a gingerbread house using a mix of materials that’s at least one foot tall and can withstand an “earthquake.” Bonus points if you use actual gingerbread!
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.
Take a clue from mother nature to make your own biodegradable tassel garland. Design your own color scheme and experiment with thickness and texture.
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?
Take your reindeer games virtual
Create your own reindeer game! In our Get in the Game activity, real scientists help you think like an engineer to design a board game. Your added challenge is to make it work over video chat. You up (on the rooftop) for this Safer at Home holiday challenge?
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?
Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?
Sleigh bells ringing? Carolers singing? Gift wrap crinkling? In this holiday version of Match It, see if you can match a sound with its graph. Take turns recording and guessing different holidays sounds using your smartphone and data-sleuth skills.
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.