Engagement,  Science

The 3 Best Christmas Science Experiments for Elementary

Christmas is just around the corner, and the kids (and, let’s face it, teachers) are getting antsy. But, the teaching must go on! At this point in the year, you’re likely scrambling for educational content that will keep your students engaged. To help you out, here are 3 of my favorite Christmas science experiments for elementary students.

3 Christmas Science Experiments

Crystallized Snowflake Ornaments

Christmas science experiments: Crystallized snowflake ornaments

This first experiment is so fun, easy, and makes a great Christmas decoration! Students will get to observe the process of crystal formation while making snowflake ornaments.

What you need:

  • Borax
  • Boiling Water
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • String
  • Individual jars/glasses/etc.
  • Pencil or ruler

How to do it:

Materials needed for snowflakes
  • Have students make snowflakes out of their pipe cleaners (they may need scissors to cut). Tie a long piece of string around the snowflakes.
  • Boil some water in the microwave or on a burner. Fill the individual jars with boiling water.
  • Add about 3 tbsp Borax per cup of water.
  • Stir until mostly dissolved. It’s okay if some Borax settles at the bottom.
How to crystallize snowflakes
  • Tie the snowflakes to a pencil, ruler, etc. then place inside the jar. More than one ornament can go in the same container as long as they do not touch.
  • Let sit overnight and watch the crystals grow! Crystals should start forming after a couple of hours.
  • Remove ornaments from mixture and allow to dry on a paper towel for one to two hours. Tie string into a loop, and hang on the Christmas tree!
Crystallized snowflake ornaments

Alternatively, you can have students make different shapes other than snowflakes. Bring in some Christmas cookie cutters to wrap the pipe cleaners around to make different shapes!

This is a fun, easy, and low cost Christmas craft for your students. You can also experiment with using sugar, salt, or baking soda to make the crystals. However, Borax takes the least amount of time to crystallize. This Christmas science experiment is one your students are sure to love!

Dissolve a Candy Cane

Christmas science experiments: candy cane dissolving

One of the easiest Christmas science experiments you can do, all you need is a few candy canes and some items you already have in your pantry! Students will observe the effect that different liquids have on a candy cane.

What you need:

Materials for candy cane experiment
  • 4 candy canes
  • 4 glasses or jars
  • Hot water
  • Cold water
  • Vinegar
  • Oil

How to do it:

  • Fill each of your glasses or jars with equal amounts of the 4 liquids. Make sure to label what is in each container!
  • Set a candy cane in each jar, hooked over the edge.
  • Observe what happens to each candy cane.
Candy cane experiment results

The candy cane in the hot water should start dissolving almost immediately! The candy cane in oil will change hardly at all. Before starting the experiment, you may consider having students make predictions as to what they think will happen.

You can also do this experiment using peppermints in addition to the candy canes. Students can predict which candy will dissolve first!

Jingle Bell Maze

Christmas stem activity: jingle bell maze

Not so much an experiment as a Christmas STEM Challenge, students can put their engineering skills to the test and build a maze for a jingle bell out of candy canes!

What you need:

Materials for jingle bell maze
  • Mini candy canes
  • Tape
  • Jingle bells
  • Shoebox lids or sheets of cardboard

How to do it:

  1. Depending on the amount of materials you have, students can do this individually or in small groups.
  2. Give each student or group a shoebox lid or sheet of cardboard, a jingle bell, tape, and several small candy canes.
  3. Allow students time to plan out their design and test. I recommend 15 minutes.
  4. Students will tape the candy canes to the cardboard in order to create a maze for their jingle bell.

I found the best way to do this was to first map out the correct path and tape it down. Then, fill in with more candy canes.

Christmas science experiments: stem challenge for kids

It also works best to break the candy canes into smaller, straighter pieces. This way, you also have larger and smaller pieces to use.

Christmas science experiments for kids

Students can show off their maze to the class when they are finished! If desired, have students race to see who can complete their maze first. (If you are interested in more Christmas STEM challenges like this, click here!)

I hope these 3 Christmas science experiments have inspired you! If you would like to try out one or more of these projects, I have FREE instruction sheets and project pages for you! Fill out the information below to have this freebie sent straight to your inbox.

Free Christmas Science Experiments

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What Christmas activities will you be doing with your students?


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