Here’s a fun STEM challenge for kids to do during Valentine’s Day (or anytime of year). Have them build 3-dimensional structures with toothpicks and jellybeans! This activity is easily adaptable for all different age groups.
See also: Toothpick and Marshmallow Constellations
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3D Structures Supplies and Prep
- jellybeans (or alternative)
You can use heart shaped jelly beans, such as these Jolly Rancher Jelly Hearts, or marshmallow hearts. Or use regular jelly beans and marshmallows to make it not tied into a specific holiday.
Place the jelly beans and toothpicks in a dish or on a plate so that they are easily accessible for each child doing the challenge.
Optional: Challenge the kids to create their designs on paper first. They can think about the following questions or ideas:
- How many toothpicks will they need? How many jellybeans?
- Will they make their own unique structure or will it resemble something such as a house or pyramid? Maybe something more complex such as bridge or a tall tower?
Valentine’s Day STEM/STEAM Challenge for Kids
Instruct the children to create 3-dimensional structures by pushing the jellybean hearts into the toothpicks. Then they can add onto that with another toothpick. The jelly beans are used as connectors to hold the toothpicks. Kids can create any shapes or sizes. It could be something simple or more complex.
When creating their 3D structures, they will have to make sure to get the balance right which will get them think creatively and problem solve when it doesn’t stay in place.
Skills Used Creating with Toothpicks and Jellybeans
- thinking outside the box
- hands-on geometry
If doing this STEM activity with younger children, you may wish to have them create simple 2D shapes instead or just let them create open-ended art sculptures without a specific design.
We’d love to see your structures made with toothpicks and jellybeans! Tag us on Instagram and we will reshare in our stories!