Marshmallow Challenge


Learning Objective

  • Uses imaginative skills to design building free hand
  • Utilizes mathematical knowledge to ensure the building stays upright
  • Leverages problem-solving skills to come up with solutions that arise during construction
  • Thinks creatively to construct buildings in a symmetrical manner
  • Uses pictures for inspiration and also to lead discussions
  • Learns about 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional shapes

Age Group

 2.5 year and above

Materials required

  1. 1-2 bags of toothpicks

  2.  1-2 bags of marshmallows

  3. Photos of buildings for inspiratio.

Activity guide

  1. Split the class into groups of three to four pupils each.
  2. For each group, set aside some marshmallows and toothpicks.
  3. Reserve the remaining marshmallows and toothpicks to be used as practice construction materials.
  4. Allowing the marshmallows you’ll be using for this exercise to get a little stale will make them a little simpler to work with. 
  5. Do not allow your students to consume the marshmallows. Instead, set aside a few marshmallows for treating them once they’ve completed the activity.
  6. Allow the kids to get some practice with the materials by constructing two-dimensional shapes.
  7. They can even have some fun before the challenge by writing their names in letters.
  8. Now, teach students how to make three-dimensional shapes like trapezoids and prisms.
  9. For that, place two marshmallows on your desk with their bases flat. Then, insert one end of a toothpick into the center of each marshmallow. To make a triangle, insert another toothpick at a 45-degree angle into each marshmallow. To finish the triangle, insert both raw ends of the toothpicks into another marshmallow.
  10. Insert a toothpick at a 45-degree angle into one of the first triangle’s base marshmallows and another toothpick into the side of the top marshmallow. Insert the ends of both toothpicks into a new marshmallow. This will result in the formation of an inverted triangle. Repeat until you get a 3-dimensional trapezoid.
  11. Challenge your students to build the tallest freestanding structure.
  12. Ask your students questions about what worked for them and what didn’t as you move around in the classroom. 
  13. Finally, measure each group’s construction vertically from the table to the tip.
  14. For reflection, discuss among yourselves which approaches worked and which did not.
  15. Recapitulate the concepts of 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional shapes at the end

Relevance of the activity

Your students will be encouraged to create a structure that can withstand gravity using only marshmallows and toothpicks. Thus, this hands-on activity will push them to put their thinking caps on and solve the challenge at hand.

Famous Buildings Handout

Instructions: Create a building that looks like a famous building from the list given below. You may also pick a building of your liking.


Cognitive Skill



Did the student construct the building on their own with little to no supervision?


Did the student understand the concept of 2-dimensional and 3–dimensional shapes?


Did the student engage with the concept of gravity?


Did the student learn how to obtain structural balance?


Did the student go back and fix an unstable structure?


Was the student able to create square and triangle structures?


Was the student able to create a trapezoid?


Did the student have fun building structures?


Did the student participate in activity closure and/or recapitulation?



Share the knowledge

Parents often dismiss children creating things with building blocks as ‘all fun and games’. However, latest studies have shown that unstructured play time positively impacts the child. It is equally important for any parent to look back at important milestones in their child’s life, like when they create their first building from scratch, to gauge the progress they have made. Here’s where Illumine comes to your rescue. Our daycare app has a user-friendly parent dashboard where they can keep track of the activities children indulge themselves in, along with what are the learning objectives of the activity. There’s something for teachers too. EYFS educators can use the lesson planning software to give parents an overview of what the child is learning in the daycare. If you’re a daycare owner, you shouldn’t leave this opportunity to get a free 11-day trial of the app and avail all these features offered by us, at Illumine, to create a stimulating environment for the children. 

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