LEGO STEM holiday building
LEGOs are one of my favorite STEM toys of all time (except if I happen to step on one, then cover your ears to avoid whatever may come out of my mouth).
Hopefully you have a bin of mixed LEGOs handy. If not, try to get them secondhand and wash them in soapy water a few times for good measure. It is always good practice to have your students wash their hands before building with LEGOs, and again when they are done.
I find it’s a lot of fun to just have a free build. Let your kids show what they associate with the holidays. Is it snowmen and chimneys, or trees and ornaments? Is it an angel or a Santa Claus hat? You may be surprised at the variety of creations they think up! You could even have them build one LEGO creation each day as part of a LEGO advent calendar. If your kids need some ideas to springboard off of, you might want to print some of these LEGO Christmas instructions.
What makes this a STEM activity, though, is the free build part of it. They will follow the Engineering Design Process (without even realizing it):
What LEGO Christmas object do I want to build?
Which color LEGOs will I need? Will I need specific sizes or any special pieces? Is the object I want to make symmetric (do I need to get 2 of each piece)? Do I need a base?
This is the step where it’s important to think about where pieces will need to go, and whether or not they will be adequately held together by using overlapping brick techniques, etc.
This step will take the longest, as your kids build, take apart, build, repeat.
Sometimes the first time a new creation is built, it doesn’t quite stay together. Sometimes it does, but maybe a few decorative touches can be added. My son added an angel on top of his Christmas tree below after his original tree creation. The snowman’s original arms made him look more like the abominable snowman than good old Frosty, so those were switched out for a small lever piece instead. That fire in the fireplace? It was an afterthought. This step tends to bring out the final touches that really make the piece special.
Here is a close up of some of the designs my kids created:
LEGO presents are always fun to make too!
More LEGO Christmas ideas
Last year I created a Minecraft LEGO Advent calender for my kids, and they adored it! I mixed Minecraft elements and traditional Christmas designs. You can read about it here:
Just for little ones
If you have little ones that aren’t quite able to manipulate LEGOs yet but want to have some Chrismtas DUPLO fun, aren’t these the sweetest from I Can Teach my Child?
Another great way to use LEGOs at Christmastime, especially at home, is to make ornaments with them! Hang the creations on your tree for the season, and be sure to snap a picture. When the tree comes down, just remove the ornament and disassemble. Happy holidays, and I hope you enjoy these STEM activities for kids.