Do you want to build a snowman? The tallest one that you can?
This simple and fun winter STEM challenge asks your kids to build a snowman with just marshmallows and toothpicks. They can do whatever design they want, but they have a limited amount of time and marshmallows and toothpicks to build as tall of a snowman as possible.
How to Set Up the Tallest Snowman Challenge
- 20-30 toothpicks
- 20-30 regular marshmallows
- 10-20 mini marshmallows (for arms and extra support)
- Black and orange food coloring or markers
- Measuring tape or ruler
- Free tallest snowman challenge worksheet
1. Give your kids the marshmallows and toothpicks and challenge them to build the tallest snowman with the materials given. They can work as a team or work separately (in that case, each kid gets a set of materials).
2. Set a time limit for your kids to design and build their snowman. I recommend around 5-10 minutes for planning and 20-30 minutes for construction.
3. Start the challenge! For younger kids, I would monitor the planning process to make sure they are on the right track. They should draw the design of their snowman on the free worksheet. For older kids, I would leave them alone to do their thing!
4. After the time is up, use the measuring tape or ruler to determine the height of the snowman! Record the result on the worksheet.
5. Optional: You can make the snowman’s head so that the marshmallow structure will actually look like a snowman! To make the snowman’s head, you have two options.
- With food coloring (edible option): Use a toothpick and dip it in the black food coloring and gently draw the eyes and mouths on a regular marshmallow with the toothpick. Then dip a separate toothpick in the orange food coloring to draw the nose.
- With markers: If your kids are not going to eat the marshmallow head, then you can just draw the face with black and orange markers.
6. Optional: Repeat the experiment after analyzing the first trial and implement improvements to the design. Can you build an even taller snowman?
This winter STEM challenge was so fun. My kids love open-ended challenges like this one where they can decide how to build their snowman without instructions from me. In case your kids get stuck, here is an example of our snowman:
Make sure you download the free tallest snowman challenge printable so that your kids can draw their design and reflect on the results after the time is up!
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