Welcome back to another Challenge and Discover – our monthly science challenge link up co-hosted with Science Sparks. Thanks so much to everyone that linked up to last month’s Halloween science challenge. The next challenge is Christmas science. In November and December, we are challenging you to do science with your kids with a Christmas theme. We will give you examples of projects for the theme on our blogs.
Exploring Pine Trees or Other Conifers
The typical Christmas tree in the U.S. is a pine tree or a fir tree. You might also find the occasional cedar or spruce depending on your location. A great Christmas science activity is to explore the Christmas tree. You can head outside and find some conifers (usually evergreens) in your area. Check out the habitat. Observe the trees. Our forest lessons post will give you some ideas for science explorations outside in the forest.
Take a pair of scissors with you on your trip to see the conifers. Cut a small sample to take with you and explore at home.
Once the live Christmas trees are out in the stores, many of them will have trimmings available. After the live Christmas trees arrive at the store, they are trimmed into a nice shape that people will want to buy. This leaves extra branches that they usually just throw away. Ask them, and they’ll surely give you as much as you’d like. (Making natural arrangements from the leftover branches is another great use for the cut branches.)
I set up an invitation to explore the pine needles for Aiden. I placed cuttings from different pine trees next to a magnifying glass, tweezers, and scissors.
**Messy note: sap may leak out from the cut branches, so you’ll want to cover your area accordingly or be aware that you could be washing sap off of things.**
Aiden and I talked about the difference in colors of the pine needles. Each of the trees had a slightly different coloration. We also discussed the sizes of the pine needles. I added a ruler to the table so Aiden could measure the branches or needles.
We talked about the smells of the pine needles. Aiden said they smelled like branches. I said they smelled like Christmas. We felt the pine needles and talked about their texture.
Next Aiden used his scissors to cut the pine needles. This was great fine motor practice and a fun way to work on scissors skills.
Overall, this was a lovely way to use our senses and make observations about the pine trees.
**Be sure to watch your hands after handling the pine needles and branches. Dish soap easily removed the sap from our hands, while our foaming hand soap did not.**
You could also use the pine needles in a sorting activity like our Sorting Leaves and Seeds activity.
If you want more invitations to explore like this one, subscribe to the Inspiration Laboratories newsletter. Each issue has exclusive hands-on science explorations for children, a recap of our latest activities, and special resources selected just for you!
More Christmas Science
Science Sparks has some great Christmas science ideas. Check these out:
- Make a Magnetic Christmas Tree – a super fun way to explore magnetism.
- Explore shadows and light while creating Christmas Shadow Puppets.
- Everyone loves goo or oobleck. Make it Christmas themed with Candy Cane Goo.
Stay tuned for even more Christmas science ideas from Inspiration Laboratories and Science Sparks all season long!
Challenge and Discover: Christmas Science
Link up posts about Christmas science activities you have done with your kids. By linking up, you are giving us permission to grab one picture and feature your projects on our blogs and social media sites. We’d love for you to grab a button and add it to your post.
<div align="center"><a href="http://inspirationlaboratories.com/category/challenge-and-discover/" title="Inspiration Laboratories" target="_blank"><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5527/9459245053_3b4a190abb_m.jpg" alt="Inspiration Laboratories" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
Link up your Christmas science activities starting today.
Thanks for sharing your Christmas science ideas!