Spring is right around the corner, and with it comes Easter. While you may celebrate with chocolate bunnies, egg hunts, or your own personal traditions, something you may not have considered is how to work STEM activities into your holiday.
- Quick & Easy: For Your Youngest
- Potentially Messy: For Slightly Older Kids
- A Little More Prep: For Older Kids
- Most Importantly, Have Fun
- Frequently Asked Questions
Related post: 32 Cool Science Experiments for Kids
How can I work STEM into my Easter activities with my kids?
We investigated fun, engaging activities for a variety of age and size groups, so no matter if you’re a parent or a teacher (or both!) we collected the best ones here. Spoiler alert: most of them, unsurprisingly, have to do with eggs.
Quick & Easy: For Your Youngest
If you’ve got a very small child, younger than five or six for example, we have a few easy activities that require minimal supplies and setup.
Put Together a Sensory Bin
This is the simplest activity that can provide a great deal of joy for your youngest. In an Easter basket (or any container, really) put a wide variety of Easter-themed items. The base can be the crinkle paper most commonly found in these baskets, as this provides an interesting texture and sound.
Other items you could include:
- Plastic eggs filled with a variety of objects (coins, small stuffed animals, chocolate, erasers, stickers, etc.)
- Easter-shaped bubble wands
- Peeps (if you don’t mind a bit of mess should your child decide to squish them)
This is an excellent activity that’s low-maintenance on your part — just put together the bin and let your smallest ones explore! It’s perfect for a day out in the yard so you can garden and they can inspect their bin.
Who knows, your youngster might find ways to play with the items you didn’t expect! Perhaps they’ll ask you to help build a ramp so they can roll the eggs down it, or tie the crinkle paper together to make a chain. The possibilities for them are limited only by the contents of the basket.
Walking on (Real) Eggs
This one is sure to delight your youngest but can also entertain older children as well. Real eggs are surprisingly strong, so give walking on them a try! Be sure the eggs are contained in a crate and that all the pointy tips are facing up. Then, if your children want to, have them place one foot evenly over the eggs, bracing on something stable for support and balance.
The important part is to distribute their (or your, if you’re participating too!) weight as evenly across the eggs as possible. If they put too much pressure on the balls or heels of their feet and it’s uneven, or if they don’t stand on as many eggs as possible, the eggs may break.
Be sure to conduct this experiment outside, in case the eggs do break. If they do, wash your hands and feet thoroughly to avoid E. coli.
This fun experiment teaches about force and pressure. With your youngest, it can seem like a neat magic trick. With older kids, you can talk with them about how distributing the force over a large area lessens the pressure (pressure = force/area).
Easter Egg Races
This activity can actually be done with a variety of ages, so if you have multiple children or a classroom, it’s adaptable. All you need are some plastic Easter eggs in a variety of sizes and something to race them down, like a piece of roof gutter or even a cardboard tube with sides to keep the eggs on track.
- Have a ramp for each child (or, if in a large group, have the kids take turns).
- On three, have each child let their egg go.
- See which one wins the race.
It’s that simple! Younger kids will be entertained by the race itself. You can also get the STEM conversation started with them using simple questions like, “What do you think will happen if…?”
Try different sizes, filling the eggs with something lighter or heavier, and raising and lowering the ramps. Ask your kids what they think will happen with each change. You can even add texture to the ramps, like taping a few toothpicks along the bottom or placing a piece of towel inside to see how that will affect the race.
With older kids, you can have discussions surrounding gravity and Newton’s Laws of Physics. Ask them what’s happening with the egg at rest and what happens with it in motion? This one activity can spark a variety of STEM-related discussions.
Potentially Messy: For Slightly Older Kids
Three of these experiments and activities involve a little bit of mess, so it’s best to do them outside or in an area that’s easily cleanable. Your kids are sure to love them, as they involve the classic baking soda and vinegar combination. This is the perfect time to talk about chemical reactions. We’ve also included one non-egg experiment with this batch that’s much less messy.
You’ll need an egg-shaped ice cube tray, food coloring, water, vinegar, and baking soda. Then get ready to fizz.
- Add food coloring to the water and about a tablespoon of baking soda.
- Fill the ice cube tray with the baking soda water and freeze.
- Once the eggs are frozen, remove them from the freezer.
- Pour vinegar over the tops and watch the frozen eggs fizz away.
That’s it! You can shake up this experiment by putting something inside the eggs before freezing them, and then challenging your children to figure out how to get it out without smashing the entire frozen egg. Or just let the chemical reaction reveal whatever you hid inside.
If you don’t want to wait for the water to freeze, you can do a very similar experiment with plastic Easter eggs. Place the plastic eggs in an old egg carton, add a drop or two of food coloring to each, and a pinch of baking soda. Then get a squeeze bottle or eyedropper and let your children add the vinegar.
They’ll be delighted at the color combinations from all that fizzing! It will overflow the plastic egg cups, so again, be sure to do this experiment somewhere you can clean easily.
Talk with your kids about chemical reactions and get them to try and analyze why baking soda and vinegar react the way they do. Once they figure out it’s because baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid (you can get into the details of protons here if you like), ask them if they can think of other bases and acids that may react the same way (baking soda and lemon juice, for example).
Our last baking soda and vinegar Easter STEM activity should definitely be done outside if possible. Also, we recommend protective eye gear and/or remaining a safe distance away while you conduct this experiment. You also need plastic eggs that stand up on their own.
Take the kids outside and give them each an egg, with the two halves split apart. Add the baking soda, then the vinegar, and quickly snap the halves back together. Place the egg on the ground and watch what happens!
The top of the egg should shoot off, and while it should only go a few inches up, your kids will be delighted at the “rocket.” This is a great time to talk not only about chemical reactions but also about pressure and why it shoots the top off of the egg.
Engineering with Jelly Beans
If you have a budding engineer on your hands, this easy-to-set-up activity is for you. All you need are a bag of jelly beans and some toothpicks and you’re ready to go.
Challenge your child to construct different shapes, buildings, features, and more. Can they build a bridge strong enough to hold weight, like books? A building that will withstand an “earthquake” as you shake the table? What shapes are the strongest?
This simple activity touches on engineering and geometry, as you can count the planes and vertices of each structure as you build. The best part is you get to eat the jelly beans when you’re done!
A Little More Prep: For Older Kids
Your oldest children may need more stimulating Easter STEM activities, so these two, while requiring a little more preparation on your part, can provide excellent educational entertainment.
Crystal Egg Crafts
Turn a simple pipe cleaner into a shimmering crystal decoration with this activity. What you need:
- Pipe cleaners in various colors
- Skewers (bamboo skewers, pencils, chopsticks, anything like that)
- Borax powder
- A glass jar with a wide opening
- Boiling water
Have your kids make Easter-themed shapes, like rabbits or eggs, out of the pipe cleaners. Encourage creativity here by mixing and matching colors. Once they’re done, use the string to attach their pipe cleaner creations to your chosen skewer.
Hang the pipe cleaners in the jars, resting the edges of the skewers on the lip of the jars, and completely submerge them with the boiling water. Be sure the bottom of the creations doesn’t touch the bottom of the jar.
Once the jars are full, add the Borax with a ratio of one cup Borax to every six cups of water (you need a large jar!). Stir a little bit, but don’t worry if the Borax doesn’t dissolve completely. Let the containers sit somewhere they won’t get jostled.
The longer you wait, the more crystals will form, so wait at least 24 hours. If your little ones are impatient to see the finished product, you can take it out then, but for the most crystal growth, wait two to three days. Then slowly remove their creations from the jars, let them dry on paper towels, and admire all the tiny sparkling crystals that have formed.
With this activity, you can dig into molecules and how they react to hot and cold water. Also, while borax itself isn’t harmful to people unless ingested in large doses, be sure not to let your children handle it and that they understand not to eat it.
Crack the Egg Code
As a twist on the traditional Easter egg hunt, try adding a bit of coding! Instead of having your kids simply search around the yard and find eggs by chance, have them crack a code to find out where the next egg is.
You can use a symbol to represent each letter of the alphabet or simply move the letters down by an amount (A becomes B, B becomes C, and so on). Try mixing different versions of code with each egg to keep it interesting.
When the kids have found all the eggs, talk about codes and how they connect with computing for a fun way to get them interested in programming.
Most Importantly, Have Fun
Easter is a time for growth, renewal, and especially fun. Whether your child is young or older, prefers indoors or outdoors, mess or cleanliness, these activities can help you work a little STEM into this special time of year.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why include STEM in Easter?
Of course, you don’t have to include STEM in your Easter celebrations if you want to keep it more focused. But we feel including some aspects of STEM into this time of year can help spark creativity, curiosity, and get children asking questions. It can also provide a new take on an old classic, like coding an egg hunt, to perhaps spark a little extra joy.
What if STEM isn’t for me?
That’s not a problem! You and your child can learn together. In fact, if you look at these activities, they don’t get in-depth into hard science or engineering concepts unless you want them to. With a little advanced Googling and a lot of willingness to learn, you can make these activities as focused on STEM as you’re comfortable with.
Are there other resources I should know about?
Absolutely, and we’re delighted you asked! Head on over to our STEM activities page for dozens of ideas on how to include STEM in your home, including for large groups, specific ages, and more. And if you still need help, let us know in the contact box below! We can guide you in the right direction.