This very simple STEM challenge is great for younger children to start to learn how different materials have different properties.
The idea is to cover each stocking with a different material, spray it with water and then check to see if the stocking is still dry.
Children can also spend time designing the stockings before starting the investigation.
We kept our designs quite simple, but you can make yours much fancier.
Different materials to test – kitchen foil, paper towel, plastic bag, paper, parchment paper, wax crayon etc
Tape – masking tape peels off nicely
Stocking printable sheet ( or draw your own )
Colour each stocking image with felt tip pens. The ink needs to be non-permanent or it won’t run when water is sprinkled on top.
Ask the children to feel and look at the different materials. It’s good to think about how each one is used in daily life. Make predictions as to which will be the most waterproof and write them down.
Cut out a rectangle big enough to fit over each stocking image.
Tape a different material over each stocking. Leave one uncovered, this is the control stocking and shows what happens when nothing is added over the top.
Drop a little water on each stocking. A water sprayer or pipette can be used or just sprinkle water with your fingers.
Look at each material. If it is waterproof, the water will be visible in beads on the surface. If the material isn’t waterproof it will absorb the water.
Carefully uncover the stockings to see if they are still dry.
We found the plastic bag and the parchment paper protected the stocking more than the gift wrap-covered stocking.
Questions to ask
Which stocking is the driest?
Was it the one you expected?
Why do you think that one stayed dry?
Can you think of any other materials to test?
Use your findings to design and create a food bag for Santa to keep his sandwiches dry on Christmas Eve.
If you enjoyed this, I also have a very similar dinosaur waterproofing experiment you might like!
More science for little ones
Staying on the waterproof theme, this design and build an umbrella for Incy Wincy Spider project is fun for a nursery rhyme topic.
Try one of my other easy science ideas for preschoolers.
If you’re looking for an activity for older children, give these Santa STEM challenges a go!
Last Updated on December 3, 2022 by Emma Vanstone