What kid doesn’t like candy? How about building with it! Candy like gumdrops or marshmallows is ideal for building structures and sculptures of all kinds. Building gumdrop structures are also a perfect use of all that extra candy you might have leftover from a holiday {think Halloween, Christmas, and Easter}! We love easy engineering activities for kids!


Simple Engineering With Gumdrops

If you are looking for a screen-free, boredom buster but still an educational learning activity, this one is it! Simple setup, simple supplies, and simple fun!

Building structures is a great activity to incorporate STEM into play by encouraging science, engineering, and math skills to design and build gumdrop structures.

Building gumdrop structures is also a unique way to practice fine motor skills without over-emphasizing the practice part. Naturally, to build the structures, your kid needs to push a toothpick into the gumdrop and fit it together with others. They think they are just building cool structures, but we know they are practicing finger grasp, finger dexterity, coordination, and more!

Also check out: LEGO Landmark Building Challenges

Building gumdrop structures can be whatever you want, whether they look more like abstract sculptures, a dome, the Leaning Tower Of Pizza, or simple shapes.

You can add some technology to this activity and look up structures to build. We made this gumdrop bridge the last time we used gumdrops for engineering.

gumdrops and toothpicks in a pilePin

What Is STEM For Kids?

So you might ask, what does STEM actually stand for? STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. The most important thing you can take away from this, is that STEM is for everyone!

Yes, kids of all ages can work on STEM projects and enjoy STEM lessons. STEM activities are great for group work, too! You can read more about the valuable life lessons that STEM can provide kids here.

STEM is everywhere! Just look around. The simple fact that STEM surrounds us is why it’s so important for kids to be a part of, use, and understand STEM.

Try our Real World STEM Project Guide in the classroom or at home!

From the buildings you see in town, the bridges that connect places, the computers we use, the software programs that go with them, and to the air we breathe, STEM is what makes it all possible.

Interested in STEM plus ART? Check out all our STEAM Activities!

Engineering is an important part of STEM. What is engineering in kindergarten and elementary? Well, it’s putting together simple structures and other items and learning about the science behind them. Essentially, it’s a whole lot of doing! 

Helpful STEM Resources To Get You Started

Here are a few resources to help you introduce STEM more effectively to your kiddos or students and feel confident when presenting materials. You’ll find helpful free printables throughout.

Grab these free cards to add to your building activities!

Gumdrop Structures

Want more fun ideas for things to do with candy? Check out our candy science experiments.


  • Gumdrops
  • Toothpicks
  • Shape Building Cards (Optional)


STEP 1. Set out a pile of toothpicks and gumdrops.

STEP 2. Poke a toothpick into the middle of the gumdrop. Attach more gumdrops and toothpicks to build your structure.


Gumdrop Tower Challenge

We like building tall things with candy structures like a gumdrop tower. Challenge your kids to build the tallest tower with their supply of gumdrops and toothpicks. Set a time limit if you like—a fun STEM challenge for individuals, pairs, or small groups.

Whether you use gumdrops, marshmallows, pool noodles, or anything else that you can poke a toothpick into, building structures is an awesome STEM activity that encourages fine motor skills, problem-solving, evaluating, and re-building!


More Fun Things To Build

Check out more fun building activities for kids, and tons of easy engineering projects! Here are a few of our favorites…

Printable STEM Activities Pack for Kids

80+ Doable Engineering Projects in one convenient pack!

  • Full instructions with sample images
  • Activity-specific instruction sheets
  • Data Collection Sheets
  • Questions for Reflection
  • Architecture Building Cards: Try the tallest tower challenge
  • Bridge Building Cards: Explore different types of bridges to build your own.
  • Paper Chain STEM Challenge: Who can make the longest chain? Great icebreaker or quick challenge!
  • 3 Little Pigs Architectural Pack: Design a house that won’t blow away!
  • Great marshmallow challenge: A classic challenge kids love!
  • Real-world STEM challenge lesson but don’t know where to start? Our easy-to-follow template shows the steps!
  • What’s the difference between a scientist and an engineer?
  • Crossword and word search with engineering vocabulary.
  • Engineering vocabulary cards
  • Design a one-of-a-kind invention and write about it with this 5-page activity!


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