7 Festive Christmas Science Experiments Your Kids Will Love (2023 Edition)

Do your kids love science experiments they can do at home? And are they excited for the Christmas activities that the holiday season brings?

If so, they're going to love these fun Christmas science experiments we've gathered for you. Without further ado, let's explore the magical world of holiday science activities.

The magic of Christmas and science

From ice ornaments, jingle bells, Christmas tree decorations, and Mariah Carey, to the anticipation of Santa's arrival, Christmas brings a special kind of enchantment into our lives.

But what if we told you that this magic extends beyond the realm of fairy tales and into the world of science? That's right; Christmas and simple science can go hand in hand to create unforgettable moments of discovery and joy for your kids.

Child with mom decorating a Christmas tree

For instance, imagine explaining to your child the science behind how Santa's sleigh can defy the laws of physics to deliver presents to every home, or why snowflakes are all unique.

These are just a couple of fun examples of how the holiday season offers a unique opportunity to spark curiosity and ignite a love for science in your children.

Why do these Christmas-themed science experiments with your kids?

Christmas science experiments for kids are a fantastic way to enrich the holidays with educational activities. During this time of the year, you get a chance to turn ordinary learning into super fun adventures that teach kids how the world around them works.

After a science experiment or two, your little ones will start reaping the following benefits:

  • Increased interest in STEM activities: Formulating hypotheses, observing chemical reactions, and practicing other STEM-related skills can open your kid's eyes and help them find the joy of discovery. As they work on more science projects, they'll develop a sense of curiosity for STEM, which is simply awesome.

  • Learning through hands-on activities: Traditional classroom learning can sometimes be abstract, but these fun science experiments for kids offer a hands-on approach. When children see and feel scientific concepts in action, they gain a deeper understanding of how the world works.

  • Encouraging problem solving: Each classic science experiment presents its own set of challenges and questions to explore. By encouraging your kid to think critically and find solutions, you'll help them develop essential problem-solving skills that are valuable in all areas of life.

  • Creating lasting memories: A candy cane will dissolve, Christmas slime will lose its stretch, and the twinkling lights of a homemade circuit may dim over time. However, the experiences and memories formed during these fun Christmas science experiments are the enduring gifts your family will cherish for years.

So, why not squeeze in a Christmas science session between festive movie marathons? It will be engaging, educational, and bring so much fun into your home!

7 most festive Christmas science activities for your young ones

Whether your kid is in preschool, in first grade, or in middle school, they'll enjoy working on these science experiments with a festive twist.

We'll guide you through seven of our favorite Christmas science experiments, give you lists of all the materials you'll need, and show what scientific concepts your kid will learn. Let's go!

#1 Instant Snow

Regardless of the weather out there, you can always turn your home into a winter wonderland. Using just a few materials, you can create fluffy, white snow in an instant, adding a touch of holiday magic to your festivities.

Instant snow - Christmas science experiment for kids

Image source: Elf on the Shelf

And if you're into minimalistic DIY activities like this one, make sure you check out this treasure trove of no-prep STEM projects, too.

Now, back to instant snow.

Materials needed

  • Baking soda

  • Shaving foam or hair conditioner

Step-by-step instructions

Pour some baking soda into a bowl and slowly add shaving gel or conditioner until you've reached the consistency you like.

Don't have any toiletries on hand? No problem; you can use water instead, but note that your snow will be a bit less fluffy.

And that's it, you're ready to decorate your home!

The science behind this experiment

The instant snow science project is a fun intro to Christmas chemistry.

Your kid will learn about solubility, which is a substance's ability to dissolve in another substance. In this science experiment, baking soda dissolves in the conditioner or shaving foam, demonstrating the concept of solubility and how it can lead to the formation of a new substance with unique properties.

#2 Fizzy Candy Canes

For the next experiment, your kid will have to raid your Christmas tree to grab a couple of candy canes.

But don't worry; it's all in the name of science, and the result is a fizzy, colorful, and fun experience that's perfect for the holiday season. We're trying out fizzy candy canes!

Kids making fizzy candy canes as a Christmas science experiment

Image source: Teaching Mama

Materials needed

  • A tray

  • Candy canes

  • Baking soda

  • Vinegar

  • Food coloring

  • A squeeze bottle

Step-by-step instructions

Sprinkle a layer of baking soda onto a tray and put candy canes on top. Next, take a cup and combine vinegar with food coloring. Red or green are wonderfully festive!

You'll then put the liquid into a squeeze bottle, and squirt colored vinegar over the canes.

Immediately, you'll see a fizzy reaction of vinegar and soda, but the canes won't change much. But within 30 minutes or so, the candy canes will gradually start to dissolve and exhibit a unique pattern of colorful streaks.

The science behind this experiment

When you combine colored vinegar with baking soda, a chemical reaction occurs. Baking soda reacts with vinegar to produce carbon dioxide gas. This gas creates a fizz that you can immediately see.

Also, since the candy canes dissolve gradually, your kid can learn about reaction rates—how quickly (or slowly) chemical changes take place.

Lastly, this science experiment lets your kid observe color mixing, watching how different colors blend and interact.

#3 Dancing Popcorn Kernels

Most of us associate popcorn with movies, but now it's time to make popcorn kernels dance. The next item on our list of Christmas science experiments for kids involves creating a lively performance where the dancing popcorn kernels take the stage.

Demonstration of dancing popocorn kernels experiment

Image source: LAB 360 on YouTube

Materials needed

  • A clear jar or glass

  • 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels

  • Two cups of water

  • Half a cup of vinegar

  • 1/4 cup of baking soda

Step-by-step instructions

Fill the jar with water. Add a tablespoon of baking soda and mix it thoroughly. As the Little Bins blog suggests, now is a good time to talk about which solids dissolve in water.

Then, add a spoonful of kernels to the jar. The next part is crucial for the experiment: you'll add your vinegar to the jar. Be prepared; there will be an eruption as vinegar and soda react.

After the eruption has settled, you'll see gas bubbles rising kernels to the top of the jar. When they reach the surface and the bubbles pop, kernels will sink down again, but new bubbles will lift them again. The cycle continues for quite some time!

The science behind this experiment

Similarly to the previous experiment with candy canes, this one also shows kids how a chemical reaction between two elements generates carbon dioxide.

And since gas bubbles adhere to the rough surface of kernels and make them float, you also have an opportunity to explore the concept of buoyancy, demonstrating how gas can lift objects.

#4 DIY Christmas Lights Circuits

What's Christmas without Christmas lights? If you want to get your little one interested in electronics, these sparkling decorations are the perfect opportunity to do so.

It's as easy as building DIY circuits with old, half-broken lights you've been meaning to throw away (and everyone seems to have these, whether we like it or not!)

Fully-assembled DIY Christmas lights circuit

Image source: Nitty Gritty Science

Materials needed

  • Old Christmas lights (fairy lights)

  • Sticky tape

  • Batteries (2 AAA batteries or one 9V battery)

  • A piece of paper

  • Aluminum foil

  • Scissors

Step-by-step instructions

Start by preparing the lights. You'll cut the cords a few centimeters below each light, and strip a centimeter of the plastic insulation from each of the two exposed wires at the cut end of the light cord. Three or four lights are enough for this fun science activity.

Then, cut two strips of foil and fold them in half. Tape them to the piece of paper so that they are parallel.

You'll next tape the exposed ends of Christmas light wires to the foil strips.

Now, it's time for the source of power. Tape the two AAA batteries together so that the positive end is touching the negative end.

Fold the ends of the aluminum strips (these are your conductors), lifting them from the paper, and place the ends of the battery pack against the aluminum strips. You've closed your circuit, and you'll see the lights shine!

The science behind this experiment

By connecting old Christmas lights to a simple circuit, you're closing the circuit and allowing electricity to flow, illuminating the lights.

This hands-on exploration helps kids understand electrical conductivity, circuit completion, and the basics of electronics in an engaging and fun way.

#5 Christmas lava lamp

DIY lava lamps are so simple and fun that they often make it to lists of the best science experiments for kids. However, have you ever thought about adding a Christmas flair to this classic science activity?

If not, now's the time to make a Christmas-inspired lava lamp.

DIY Christmas lava lamp experiment

Image source: Beyond the Playroom

Materials needed

  • A clear jar or glass

  • Vegetable oil

  • Water

  • Food coloring

  • Fizzy tablets / effervescent tablets

  • Glitter (optional)

Step-by-step instructions

To a jar, add three parts oil and one part water. The oil will float above water. Pour a few drops of green, red, or any other festive food coloring, along with some glitter, if you want.

Now comes the fun part: break a fizzy tablet into pieces and drop them into the jar one at a time. Bubbly, colorful blobs will appear and float up! If you have a flashlight, shine it through the bottom of the jar for an enchanting glow.

The science behind this experiment

The lava lamp experiment beautifully demonstrates the principles of density and chemical reactions. The vegetable oil and water, being different liquids, have different densities, which causes them to separate.

When the tablets react with water, they release carbon dioxide gas bubbles. These bubbles attach to the water, causing it to rise through the oil. When the bubbles pop at the top, the water sinks back down.

That's how you get a holiday display that's both educational and festive!

#6 Building a Gingerbread House

One of the most cherished Christmas activities is gingerbread house decorating. While it may seem like a purely artistic activity, it's actually a fantastic way for young kids to explore engineering and fundamental architecture principles.

Kids building a DIY gingerbread house for Christmas

Image source: People

Materials needed

  • Gingerbread panels (or Graham crackers)

  • Royal icing

  • Food coloring

  • Sandwich bags for icing

  • Decorations of choice (sprinkles, candy canes, cinnamon sticks, edible crystal ornaments, candy pebbles)

  • Scissors Pencil and paper for sketching the house

Step-by-step instructions

The scientific method here starts with planning. Use pencil and paper to sketch your gingerbread house design. If you need some ideas, you can find lovely templates here.

Take the gingerbread panels and use the royal icing in piping bags as glue to construct the gingerbread house according to your design.

Once the gingerbread house is standing, it's time for decoration. Use sandwich bags filled with colored icing to decorate the house's exterior. Before the icing dries, you can glue candies and decorations onto the gingerbread walls.

The science behind this experiment

Just like that, you've seen the principles of structural integrity in action. By building a gingerbread house, you've unwittingly tackled the subjects of load distribution, stability, and structural support.

What's more, assembling the walls, the roof, and gluing them together helps your kid's little hands develop fine motor skills. It's a win-win project across all domains.

#7 Homemade Snow Globe

The last item on our list is a super cool combination of crafts, science experiments, and maybe even Christmas gifts for your kid's grandparents—we're talking about homemade snow globes!

DIY snow globe in a jar for Christmas

Image source: Brisbane Kids

Materials needed

  • A jar with a lid, if possible with a rubber seal

  • Water

  • A few tablespoons of glycerin or baby oil

  • Glitter

  • Waterproof glue

  • Christmas ornaments, figurines, or a mini Christmas tree

Step-by-step instructions

Take a figurine and glue it to the inside of the jar's lid. Allow it to dry completely.

Pour water into the jar almost all the way to the brim, add glitter, and a few tablespoons of glycerin. Gently place the lid with the upside-down ornament onto the jar.

Close the lid. Bear in mind that there should be some spillage; you want your snow globe completely full. It's better to have an overflow (that you can clean up) than to have a gap at the top of the globe because it wasn't filled with water entirely.

And that's it: you can flip the jar, shake it, and watch glitter snow gently swirl and settle.

The science behind this experiment

This fun science activity teaches kids buoyancy and the suspension of particles in a liquid.

When you shake the snow globe, the glitter becomes suspended in the water-glycerin mixture due to the difference in density. As they slowly settle, they create the illusion of falling snow.

There's also a lesson in kinetic energy. As you vigorously shake the snow globe, you transfer kinetic energy to the liquid and the glitter, causing them to move and collide. When the energy decreases, the glitter particles lose their momentum and start settling due to gravity.

Aren't these great examples of fun, easy science experiments?

The best time to play and bond with your kids

There's no better time to engage in fun and educational activities with your kids than during holidays when everybody's feeling jolly.

These Christmas-themed science experiments provide the perfect opportunity to not only have a great time together but also learn and explore the wonders of science. As you dive into these hands-on projects, you'll create cherished memories and nurture your child's sense of wonder. So, why not make this holiday season extra special by mixing science with festive fun!

Create long-lasting memories with CircuitMess

The Christmas science projects we've seen are bound to show your kids how fun and easy science can be.

Be prepared; they'll probably want to continue their exploration. In that case, CircuitMess can help you keep your kids engaged while they play and learn with our STEM kits.

Our DIY robots and smart devices are designed to create an exciting learning experience for kids, making STEM activities enjoyable instead of intimidating. So, if you're looking for science experiments that are a bit less "vinegary" in scent but still packed with fun and learning, consider the CircuitMess kits.

We promise there won't be any unexpected kitchen eruptions, just a whole lot of innovative and fun STEM adventures for your curious young scientists. Merry Christmas, everyone!

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