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Marshmallows and toothpicks help youth practice teamwork, communication and leadership

Did you know that you can use marshmallows and toothpicks to teach
youth about teamwork, communication, leadership and so much more? These
important topics are considered life skills. According to Michigan State University Extension, life skills help youth become successful in their everyday life and
help them succeed into the future. A simple and fun way to teach life
skills is by using marshmallows and toothpicks to build a tower. Check
out the instructions below!

Supplies needed: toothpicks (1 box per team) and small marshmallows (1 bag per team)

Preparation: Give each team one box of toothpicks and one bag of
marshmallows. You might also want to cover the tables or floors from
falling marshmallows.


  • Pass out one box of toothpicks and one bag of marshmallows to each
    team. Make sure they don’t open their materials until it’s time to
  • Explain that they are going to try and build the tallest,
    free-standing tower they can with only the marshmallows and toothpicks.
    They can use no other materials.

    • The tower must be able to stand on its own without helping hands or
      other objects (it must be free-standing). This means no holding the
      tower or leaning it against another object. It must stand on its own for
      10 seconds to be measured.
    • To measure the tower’s height, it will be measured from the highest point to the base of the tower.
    • Once the youth are clear on the instructions, give them a set time
      to work as a group on their towers. Give them reminders of the amount of
      time they have left to complete their towers. Then once the time is up,
      measure the towers!