I want my boys to learn while they play – because isn’t that the best type of learning? When you don’t even know you’re doing it?! Jingle Bell Drop is a fun STEM Christmas activity for kids!
It began just like any amazing problem-solving activity would. I handed the painter’s tape, paper tubes, and jingle bells over to my five and seven-year-olds and asked them to build a jingle bell ball drop. Off the kids went, planning, taping, and designing.
Inquiry-based learning for the win! – a fancy term to acknowledge that children are investigating, problem-solving, and in charge of their learning. I really want to share this STEM activity with you. Read on for the materials you need and how to start (you won’t regret it!).
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How Do STEM Activities Encourage Children’s Development?
STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. This Christmas STEM activity here changes up the commonly played pom pom ramp and adds jingle bells to enhance the holiday spirit!
- Applies prior knowledge and expands it to create new learning paths – STEM is incredible for kids to experiment with what they already know and figure out new ways to build on that knowledge – plus, it’s a ton of fun!
- Communicate ideas – my boys had to talk to each other for this activity (shock, I know!). They would comment on what was happening, share ideas, and when things weren’t working, they had to figure it out together.
- Engages in hands-on learning – you learn by doing, right?! Instead of telling kids what happens if you do XYZ (boring!), they get to experience it for themselves.
- Engages in inquiry-based learning – STEM gets children asking questions. ‘Why isn’t it working? What happens if we do that? How come it gets stuck here but not there?’
- Inspires creativity with child-led learning – you can’t look at this jingle bell drop without seeing how creative it is! My boys added different-sized tubes, boxes, and whatever inspired their imagination.
- Problem-solving – securing things to walls and making cardboard fit together for the perfect jingle roll is…hard! But it’s a super fun way to figure it out. As the boys worked, jingle bells got caught in the tube, adjustments were made, and success was had!
- Rethink ideas that didn’t work – the bell stopped rolling there. Why? It’s those kinds of questions your kids will ask so they can figure out a different way to do things.
- Test hypothesis – science is all about experimenting, and part of experimentation is thinking of an idea that might work, then seeing if it does work.
- Work as a team – as children work on STEM activities, plans change, designs must be retested, and cooperation is necessary. We must work on all the life skills at school and home.
How to Help Kids with Math Anxiety
This helpful piece on how to help kids with math anxiety can be a great read before starting this activity because STEM activities are math related. Here, a child can play with angles and explore math concepts in a fun and playful way.
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How to Set Up Your Christmas STEM Activity
Step 1. Gather the materials!
Go around the house or dig through your recycling (that’s what I did!) to collect cardboard boxes and tubes.
Storing boxes as and when you get them is another nifty trick I use for rainy days. You can never have too much cardboard in the house for crafts – am I right?!
Step 2. Decide where you want to make your jingle bell drop.
This activity aims to see if your child can create a makeshift tunnel to drop the bells through.
We used the stair railing because it’s already on a slope – perfect for rolling!
Step 3. Show your little ones how to start.
You can begin the activity by taping a box to the wall and then asking your child to roll the jingle bell through.
Comment on whether it made it to the other side and what else you could add to make it even more epic!
Step 4. Give your children the boxes and painter’s tape.
Let your kid have free reign over the boxes and tape.
You’d be amazed what they come up with!
Help with securely taping boxes to the wall and railing, but make sure you step back and let them experiment.
Extra tip: stay out of the way of flying jingle bells!
- Child-friendly scissors – kids will want to cut the tape and change the shape of the boxes. So let them! These scissors do the job perfectly.
- Extra boxes – tissue boxes, cardboard boxes, whatever you have! It makes the jingle bell drop more exciting and gives it dimension.
- Painter’s tape – you want this so the kids can stick cardboard together and to the walls. I am listing delicate painter’s tape because regular tape took some of the paint off our railing. This doesn’t normally happen, but I wanted to give you the heads-up!
- Paper tubes – paper tubes are one of my favorite supplies! I even have an entire collection of 40+ ways to play with paper tubes. It is WILD how quickly a new collection will accumulate and be put to multiple uses. These are going to make the tunnels for the jingle bell creation.
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STEM Makes a Unique Christmas Activity
Making a jingle bell drop is the ultimate holiday activity – plus, it provides hours of fun. Remember, the kids determine this STEM setup! This Christmas season, let’s get our STEM on!
Craving a calmer morning?
Breakfast Invitations are simple learning games to begin the day with play.
Need more Christmas activities? You’re in luck!
- Cardboard Box Christmas Tree
- Christmas Color Matching
- Christmas Invitation to Play at the Tree Farm
- Christmas Lights Fine Motor Play
- Holiday Toy List
Frequently Asked Questions
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. We’ve included many of our favorite ways to inspire STEM at home in our Math toys for kids. This Christmas STEM activity changes the commonly played pom-pom ramp and adds jingle bells to enhance the holiday spirit!
STEM is fun when children begin with a problem and use supplies to come up with a solution. STEM is best when it is student-focused and student-led, with an adult guiding their higher-level thinking. Here is a list of our favorite STEM toys for kids.
Use delicate painter’s tape. I noticed the regular painter’s tape took some of the black paint off our railing. Create a jingle bell ball drop where you are okay with seeing some game reminders.
Try using ping pong balls and see if they can land on a target. Jingle balls work best because of their sound as they head down the tube.
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