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Making STEM Fun! 5 DIY Science Experiments to Try This Winter Break

Need some at-home activities to keep the kids busy this winter break? With these five hands-on science experiments, your little learners can sharpen their skills while still having a blast! Let your kids show off their STEM skills while learning basic science concepts like density and freezing point.

Check out these five exciting and educational science experiments—they’re all safe and only require everyday household items!

Rain Cloud in a Jar

Let it rain, let it pour—inside your house? Brew up a storm of fun with this experiment to help your kiddos visualize how rain clouds work!

• Shaving cream
• Water
• Glass jar
• Pipette or dropper
• Food coloring (any color!)


  1. Fill ¾ of your glass jar with cool water, then fill the rest with your shaving cream “cloud”.
  2. Create your “rain”: in a separate cup, mix a few drops of food coloring with some water.
  3. Get some “rain” in the pipette, then gently squirt it onto your shaving cream cloud. Carefully continue adding more rain as your cloud gets heavier.
  4. Within a few minutes, it’ll start raining from your cloud into the water below. Watch and enjoy!

Homemade Ice Cream in a Bag

What’s better than ice cream? Not much, but definitely ice cream you make yourself! Who knew science could taste so delicious?

• 1 cup half and half
• ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• ¼ cup salt
• Ice
• 1 gallon-size plastic bag
• 1 sandwich-size plastic bag
• 2 oven mitts


  1. Pour the half and half, sugar and vanilla into a plastic sandwich bag, then seal tightly, making sure there’s no excess air in the bag.
  2. Fill your gallon-size plastic bag halfway with ice, then add the salt. Place the sandwich bag with your ice cream mixture in the larger bag and tightly seal.
  3. Put on your oven mitts and shake the bag for about 7 minutes.
  4. Keeping your oven mitts on, take out your ice cream bag, rinse off any salt with cold water and check out your results. Add your favorite toppings and enjoy!

DIY Lava Lamp

Your kids will have a blast making this super simple (and nostalgic) lava lamp. The best part? It’s cheap and there’s no glass to risk breaking!

• Water
• Food coloring
• Vegetable oil
• Alka-Seltzer tablets
• Empty water bottle


  1. Fill half of your bottle with water, then stir in a few drops of food coloring.
  2. Fill the rest of the bottle with vegetable oil, leaving some space at the top.
  3. Break an Alka-Seltzer tablet into four pieces, drop them in the bottle and watch as your lava lamp erupts!

Magic Milk

Let your kids create their own “tie-dye” masterpiece with this simple yet fascinating trick!

• Whole milk
• Food coloring
• Dish soap
• Cotton swabs


  1. In a shallow dish, pour enough whole milk to cover the bottom and then some.
  2. Add some drops of food coloring to the surface of the milk—whatever colors or pattern you want! And don’t stir!
  3. Coat one end of a cotton swab with dish soap, then gently tap the milk’s surface and watch the magic unfold!

Layers of the Ocean Jar

Dive in and explore the deep blue sea with this fun yet realistic model of the five ocean layers! Then, research the sea creatures and features of each layer with your little ones!

• 1 cup corn syrup
• 5 large paper (or plastic) cups
• Blue and green food coloring
• 32 oz glass jar with lid
• ½ cup Dawn dish soap
• ¾ cup water
• ¾ vegetable oil
• 2 tablespoons rubbing alcohol


  1. Mix the ingredients in each layer (listed below) in separate cups and carefully pour into the glass jar in order (starting with Trench Zone and ending with Sunlight Zone).
  2. Trench Zone: 1 cup corn syrup + enough blue and green food coloring to turn the syrup black
  3. Abyss Zone: ½ cup Dawn dish soap
  4. Midnight Zone: ¾ cup water + enough blue food coloring to turn the water navy
  5. Twilight Zone: ¾ vegetable oil + a few drops of blue and green food coloring
  6. Sunlight Zone: 2 tablespoons rubbing alcohol + 1 drop of blue food coloring