Creative Child

Engineer a Gumdrop Structure

by Deborah Song

STEM Activities For Kids

4.  Build structure:

For younger children, guide them through the building process by asking them to build the structure first in the shape of a square, triangle and diamond. Children 8 years and up might not need any guidance.  Encourage them instead to sketch their ideas first.

The challenge can vary in level of difficulty by limiting the number of gumdrops and toothpicks or choosing a lighter or heavier book.  Since the gumdrops can be sticky, you may want to work on top of a disposable surface like a piece of paper. 

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5.  Pause and reflect:

After each attempt at a shape, take a moment to ruminate with your child.  The cube is the shape most children attempt first, but squares are weak and will not likely hold weight of a textbook.

Ask questions like ‘what can be done to strengthen it?’ The big takeaway ideas from this exercise are that triangles are strong and a larger base provides sturdier support.    

6.  Try again: 

Encourage your child to add toothpicks or gumdrops to an existing shape or make a structure using a different shape altogether. 

Check out these fun 15 Science Activities for Preschoolers afterwards! Or if you're looking for a fun summer activity, go on a Playtime Edventure!

Deborah Song is the founder of, a cruelty-free company committed to creating travel accessories that help travelers journey with ease, efficiency and elegance. She loves to travel the globe in pursuit of good food, wider life perspectives and great adventure stories with her kids. Deborah is a Canadian-born, mompreneur and Los Angeles-based writer, who obtained her master’s in journalism from New York University. You can find her travel stories at

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