My boys are both very engineer-minded. They love to build and design. Both are getting more and more into art as well. I want to encourage them to keep practicing engineering, so we come up with activities like this Building a Snowman with Stocking Stuffers Winter STEAM Activity.
Now, when I say “Stocking Stuffer,” I just mean that often apples and oranges are placed in stockings for Christmas and this would be a fun way to use them. Another alternative would be to include all items as a stocking stuffer kit. However, this can be done all winter long without it having anything to do with stockings. You can even switch up the fruits (or vegetables) used–these just happen to be my boys’ favorites.
Stocking Stuffer Building a Snowman Winter STEAM Activity
This winter STEAM activity can be entirely or almost entirely kid made. My boys did all of it themselves and I just told them it was for building a snowman.
You can try this activity two ways (we have, as this is now a must for the boys each time we buy apples and oranges):
- Stacking Snowman
- Building a Snowman
Since the fruits are rounded, it could be a little difficult to balance these, so the Stacking Snowman winter STEAM activity makes for a fun challenge. Do they stack on their own? Do they need some support?
This activity is great for working on motor skills.
- Physics-gravity (if it falls)
- Weight and Size-which works best for stacking and why?
- Shapes and stacking-which shape works best on the bottom/can the rounded fruits balance on a flat surface?
Building a Snowman
My boys love this Building a Snowman winter STEAM activity. They need to alternate fruit/marshmallow with toothpicks. They put the toothpicks in partway so there is enough room for the item on top to stick in.
Let them stack them and figure out how to place the pieces so they stick. It took my toddler a few tries, but he got it all by himself.
This activity is also great for working on motor skills.
- Physics-this still requires some balancing skills
- Physics-gravity (if anything falls down)
- Weight and Size-what order do they stack the best in so the snowman can stand up on its own?
- Shapes and stacking-which shape is best on the bottom?
- Physics-pressure (how much pressure do you need for sticking the toothpick into the apple vs the orange vs the marshmallows?)
Read also: Ways to Encourage STEM Education at Home and Our Favorite Engineering and Math Manipulatives for Kids
Let the kids decorate the snowman to let out their creativity. You can even provide more items to decorate with (various edible ink pens, cloves, etc.).
S loved drawing on the face.
You can use any items you wish that are similar to these, but here’s what we used:
- 1 Medium-size apple
- 1 Small Clementine orange
- 1 Regular marshmallow
- 3 mini marshmallows
- 1 ROLO or other candy
- 1/2 an orange M&M candy (for the nose)
- Black edible ink marker
- 4 toothpicks
Some optional add-ons:
- 3 cloves for buttons
- Fruit roll for a scarf
- Small strawberry for a hat
Let the kids have fun with this. Keep these snack items on hand so the kids can try it different ways.