The marshmallow challenge is a popular team building activity used in workshops and seminars to foster collaboration, creativity, and problem-solving skills in groups.
Purpose of the Marshmallow Challenge
The purpose of the marshmallow challenge is to have teams compete to build the tallest freestanding structure using spaghetti sticks, tape, string, and marshmallows in a set time limit. This activity highlights the importance of planning, communication, dividing tasks, and working together effectively in teams. It allows participants to experience firsthand the frustrations and successes of teamwork.
- Gather materials: 20 sticks of spaghetti, 1 yard of tape, 1 yard of string, 1 marshmallow per team.
- Form teams of 3-5 people.
- Explain that teams have 18 minutes to build the tallest freestanding structure using only the provided materials that can support a marshmallow at the top.
- Say “Go” to start the challenge. Circulate to observe team dynamics.
- Stop teams at 18 minutes. Measure each structure and determine a winner.
Cost: Under $10 for materials per team.
Resources Needed: Spaghetti sticks, tape, string, marshmallows, timer, measuring tape.
Time Required: 30-45 minutes total. 18 minutes for the build, 10+ minutes for debrief.
Ideal Number of Participants: Groups of 3-5 people work best. Can accommodate up to 100 people.
Best Suited For: All employees at any level or students age 12 and up. Works for both established and newly formed teams.
Facilitator’s Role: Explains the activity, divides people into teams, times the challenge, measures structures, facilitates discussion. Does not assist teams during the build.
Participants’ Role: Collaborate, plan, divide tasks, communicate, problem-solve, have fun!
- How did your team plan and divide up tasks? What worked well or was challenging?
- What communication strategies did you use? Were they effective?
- How did you handle disagreements or conflicts?
- What leadership emerged? How were decisions made?
- What would you do differently if you did it again?
- What lessons about teamwork can be applied to your real work?
The marshmallow challenge is an engaging and insightful team building activity that fosters creativity and brings out the dynamics of teamwork. With minimal materials and time required, it can easily be incorporated into workshops and classes for people of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy. The activity provides valuable lessons that can be applied to improve collaboration, planning, and communication in real work settings.