Penn State Behrend’s Youth Education Outreach offers ideas to educate and entertain kids over winter
By Heather Cass, publications manager, Penn State Behrend
In a normal year, most of us would have a December calendar bulging with holiday events, activities, and to-dos. But, this year, of course, the majority of community events have been canceled, big holiday parties prohibited, and travel anywhere discouraged.
Add to this the fact that most schools are extending holiday break or going remote to control the spread of COVID and parents are working from home or working reduced hours.
All of this means that many of us will have a lot of family time on our hands in the next several weeks. As any parent will tell you, that is both wonderful and terrifying.
But Penn State Behrend’s Youth Education Outreach (YEO) program, the folks who work to engage thousands of kids on campus for weeks every summer in College for Kids, aren’t scared. They know a thing or two about educating young people with activities that are so much fun they don’t even realize they are learning important concepts in STEAM — Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math.
We asked the members of the YEO team to put together a little holiday/winter toolkit for parents, and they came through with lots of websites where you can find activities to while away many a winter day.
Sites to explore
We have provided a link to a specific activity or list of ideas, but each of these sites offers a wide variety of experiments, crafts, and fun. Just click around.
- Penn State Behrend’s Science Story Time: Fizzing planets experiment
- Little Bins for Little Hands: Winter science ideas
- Vivify Stem.com: 30 winter STEM activities
- Kitchen Counter Chronicle: 15 winter STEM activities for kids
- Steam Powered Family: 35 STEM winter activities
Build some (hot cocoa) bombs
Crafting with STEAM concepts
- DIY Joy: 35 winter crafts for kids
- Easy Peasy and Fun: How to build a paper snowman or cotton ball penguin
- The Best Ideas for Kids: Popsicle stick snowflakes
- Kitchen Counter Chronicle: Creative Christmas toilet roll crafts
- Team Cartwright: Flying reindeer: Christmas STEM for kids
- Literacy with the Littles: Build an igloo
- Little Bins for Little Hands: Snowstorm in a jar
- Mom Brite: Cotton ball snowman craft
Go on a wild GooseChase
Join Behrend’s Winter Wonderland GooseChase game, which runs through March. GooseChase is a free application for your smartphone. Create an account, join the game (code is JW1DB1), and start checking off the “missions” posted. Tasks include building a Nittany Lion snowman, er…snowlion; constructing a LEGO winter scene; making an ice lantern, and much more. As your family completes the missions, post a photo or video and then check that mission off as completed. More missions will be added throughout the duration of the game. You can find step-by-step instruction for joining and playing GooseChase here.