Introduce children to a novel way of construction play! Marshmallows and straws can be surprisingly effective at making interesting and elaborate constructions. Practice planning, building and refining projects. This is also an opportunity for children to work with partners or small groups.

set up ideas
Marshmallows and straws are surprisingly versatile materials. Before working with the children, you may want to create a few of your own creations to display and offer inspiration for the children.

let's get started

For this unique construction project, you'll need to gather a bag of large marshmallows, sturdy plastic straws (note: bendy straws do not work well for this activity), a clean work surface or a large piece of butcher paper to work on.

step 1
Before the children begin creating for themselves, demonstrate how to insert a straw into a marshmallow and then begin to create your sample structure.
step 2
Challenge the children to think of what they would like to build with their materials. Discuss how planning ahead is an important part of the engineering process.
step 3
Distribute the marshmallows and straws and have the children begin working to create the structures that they've planned.
step 4
Once the children have completed their structures, provide time and space for them to analyze their structures and come up with ideas for improvements and changes.

Reinforce engineering language by having the children plan or hypothesize about what they can make from the provided materials. Also, allow them time to improve their projects for height or stability. Use engineering vocabulary throughout this activity to help establish the foundations of engineering skills.
Tips and Tricks Tips and Tricks
Want to make this activity a little more colorful? Use a pack of multi-colored marshmallows for children to use. Also, you may want to save some for a snack (but be conscious of children who follow vegetarian, vegan or kosher diets.)
Follow Up ActivityFollow up Activity
After the children have analyzed their structures and considered possible changes, give them additional time to make those changes. You may even provide additional materials for further experimentation.