Take advantage of the season with these Fall and Thanksgiving STEM activities. The supplies listed for these projects are probably already sitting around your house, waiting to be used. From making fresh butter in a jar to leaf chromatography with fall leaves, you will have plenty to keep your kids busy, especially during Thanksgiving break.
You could also set up an area for all of the kids on Thanksgiving day where they can conduct science experiments, build candy structures, or make an apple volcano. Set out supplies for a few different activities and find out just how fun STEM activities can be for kids of all ages.
Related post: Easy Ways To Add STEM To Your Homeschool
Easy and Affordable Fall and Thanksgiving STEM Activities
Whipped Test: Whipping Versus Shaking: A comparing activity making whipped cream in different ways.
Using sugar to calibrate your oven: This is a fun, tasty, way to talk about not only the science that is involved in cooking but also the states of matter and phase transitions!
Chemistry of Thanksgiving Food: The food on the Thanksgiving table doesn’t have to just be a tasty meal—it can teach us chemistry too. This site has several activities for the high school-aged learner.
Magic Dancing Corn Thanksgiving Science Activity: All you need is some popcorn, a glass jar, vinegar, and a few other household ingredients to perform this magic trick in your kitchen. A great activity that you everyone in the family can enjoy thanks to the chemical reaction between vinegar and baking soda.
Autumn STEM Tracing the Veins of a Leaf: Take a walk on Thanksgiving day and collect some of those colorful leaves. Once the leaves are back at home and the kids have picked their favorite ones, bring out the paint and crayons and let them trace the veins. It makes a very unique piece of art as well as teaching kids to take a closer look at everyday things around them. Take this activity a step further and use it to teach kids about the biology of a tree.
Butter in a Jar: Such a simple science experiment. It also gives the kids a chance to make something of their very own that they can serve at Thanksgiving dinner. Yum!
Apple Volcanoes: Turn apples into erupting volcanoes. Add a little dye to the vinegar and you will have a really colorful explosion.
Turkey Baster Relay Race: Use a turkey baster and some feathers to start a relay race with all of your guests. Give this activity a STEM spin by talking about force and energy.
Five Little Pumpkins STEM Activity: Keep the younger kiddos busy with this adorable pumpkin activity based on the nursery rhyme. I love this activity because it teaches kids about building and problem-solving.
Candy Corn Catapults: Fling candy through the air with a catapult that is built out of a few items laying around the house. Build one for each kid in the family and see who can get their candy corn to take the longest leap. So much fun!
Fall, Sink, or Float STEM Activity: Gather some pine cones, apples, and leaves to test in a bin of water. Do they fall, sink, or float?
Hot Chocolate Science Experiment: Turn hot cocoa into a science experiment without any extra supplies. All you need is some cocoa, water, mugs, and water.
Salt and Ice Activity: Does Salt Melt Ice?: Roads start to become icy this time of year as winter starts to roll in. Conduct this science experiment with frozen chunks of ice (made in the shape of hands thanks to some rubber gloves!) to find the answer to this question; Does salt melt ice?
Building with Candy Pumpkins: All you need is some gummy candies and toothpicks! Watch your little engineer come to life with such a simple set of supplies.
How to Make Fizzing Lemonade: Kids will have no problem using this STEM activity to turn their beverage into a science experiment.
Pumpkin Tunnel STEM Challenge: Use toy race tracks and carved pumpkin to make a tunnel for toy cars. What a simple way to get kids to think outside of the box.
Smashing Turkeys: the New Egg Drop Experiment: Using items found around the house, can the turkey (the egg) be protected?
SAVOR THE SCIENCE: THE POLYMERIZATION OF CRANBERRY SAUCE: This is a great opportunity during the holidays for kids to experience everyday science through cooking. This experiment can get your older kids involved in the meal preparation.
Cranberry Spy Juice: Add another bag of cranberries to the shopping list so the kids can decode secret messages of Thanks! This is a great, fun activity to incorporate science into your holiday!
Bending Turkey Bones: This is a cool experiment about the need for calcium.
Sweet Potato Investigation: Create a sweet potato jungle!
Cranberry Science: Cranberry pockets.
More Thanksgiving and Fall Science
I hold a master’s degree in child development and early education and am working on a post-baccalaureate in biology. I spent 15 years working for a biotechnology company developing IT systems in DNA testing laboratories across the US. I taught K4 in a private school, homeschooled my children, and have taught on the mission field in southern Asia. For 4 years, I served on our state’s FIRST Lego League tournament Board and served as the Judging Director. I own thehomeschoolscientist and also write a regular science column for Homeschooling Today Magazine. You’ll also find my writings on the CTCMath blog. Through this site, I have authored over 50 math and science resources.