Thanksgiving Day STEM

Thanksgiving Day STEM


by Rachel Wells

Looking for some exciting activities that combine learning with getting kids excited about Thanksgiving? You’ve come to the right place! The following STEM activities pack an educational punch, and best of all, you probably have everything you need to complete them already laying around your house.

If you are unfamiliar with STEM, it stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. Some of the benefits of STEM education include developing problem-solving skills, improving a child’s ability to work as a team, fostering ingenuity and creativity, and building resiliency by experimenting through trial and error.

Turkey balloon races, pumpkin pickers, floating Mayflowers, and dancing popcorn are just a few of the awesome STEM activities your whole family can do together this Thanksgiving holiday.


Dancing Popcorn

Supplies Needed: a tall glass jar, a plate or tray, popping corn, 2 tbsp. of baking soda, 1 cup of vinegar, and 2 cups of water.


  1. Place your jar on top of a plate or tray. Pour 2 cups of water into the jar.
  2. Add 2 tbsp. of baking soda and stir well to dissolve the baking soda.
  3. Add some popping corn. (You don’t need much!)
  4. Add vinegar slowly to the jar and watch the popcorn dance!


Mini Mayflower

Supplies Needed: Aluminum foil, straws, paper, tub or bin filled with water, pipe cleaners, tape, lots of pennies.

Challenge: To build a boat that can hold as much weight/capacity as possible.

Notes: Use the listed supplies to build a sailboat (like the mayflower). Put the boats in a pool of water and add pennies one at a time to see how many it can hold before it sinks.


Turkey Cage

Supplies Needed: Toothpicks, marshmallows, and a paper turkey cutout.

Challenge: Use toothpicks and marshmallows to build a cage around your turkey.

Notes: This activity goes along great with the book: How to Catch a Turkey by Adam Wallace


Turkey Races

Supplies Needed: Yarn, scissors, 1 straw, 1 balloon, construction paper, tape, and 1 binder clip.

Challenge: Blow up the balloon and use the binder clip to hold it closed. Cut out pieces of construction paper to decorate the balloon to look like a turkey. Next, cut a 6 inch piece of straw and string it onto the yarn. Attach the piece of yarn to two stationary objects (chairs or doorknobs work well). When you are ready to launch, tape the balloon to the straw, take off the binder clip, let go, and watch your turkey fly from one end of the string to the other.

Notes: Have each person in your family make their own yarn path, and race the turkeys to see who can make it to the other end first.


Pumpkin Picker

Supplies Needed: Candy corn pumpkins or orange craft pom-pom balls, a plate, a piece of paper, wooden craft sticks, plastic spoons, straws, and tape.

Challenge: Place the pumpkins on a piece of paper in rows. Using wooden craft sticks, plastic spoons, straws, and tape, construct a grabber that can be used to pick up each of the pumpkins off the paper and place them onto the plate.

Notes: You don’t need to use all of the supplies for your grabber.


Kitchen Helper

Supplies Needed: Tape, index cards, a can of vegetables.

Challenge: Using only tape and index cards, build a structure that can hold the can of vegetables at least 6 inches off the ground.


We would love to know – which one of these Thanksgiving STEM activities was your family’s favorite?


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