This is a seriously fun and totally easy STEM challenge for kids to set up this holiday season. We all need a few tricks up our sleeves with all the hustle and bustle that is going on! Get your kids off the screens and into Christmas building games with this Christmas tree cup game. The challenge is to build a Christmas tree with just 100 cups.


Explore STEM This Holiday Season

Cups, cups, and lots of cups! That’s all you need to get started with this simple and fun Christmas STEM Challenge. Challenge your kids to use as many of the cups as they can to build their own Christmas tree.

Simple STEM activities are a great way to combine engineering and science activities for kids with a ton of holiday and Christmas fun as well! Finding the best Christmas activities for kids doesn’t have to be hard!

You can easily use this Christmas STEM challenge at home, in the classroom, or with a youth group for an awesome holiday activity. Also keep in mind that it’s perfect for individuals, 2 person teams, or small groups to work on together!

Use The Engineering Design Process For Christmas STEM

This season, why not pair the engineering design process with fun holiday themes including candy canes, gumdrops, Christmas trees… you get the picture!

Engineers often follow a design process. There are many different design processes that all engineers use but each one includes the same basic steps to identify and solve problems.

An example of the process is “ask, imagine, plan, create, and improve”. This process is flexible and maybe completed in any order.

READ MORE: STEM for Elementary Age kids

Helpful STEM Resources To Get You Started

Here are a few resources that will help you introduce STEM activities and challenges more effectively to your kiddos or students and feel confident yourself when presenting materials.

You’ll find tons of free printables, templates, and journal sheets throughout all of our activities or join us in the Library Club for instant access all year long!

Get your FREE printable Christmas STEM activities guide!

Christmas Tree Cup Challenge

The Task: Build the tallest Christmas tree using 100 cups.


  • 100 Plastic Party Cups {or whatever you can get}
  • Imagination and Determination {free and unlimited}

Add these free printable Christmas STEM Challenge worksheets

Extend the activity for older kiddos by adding these design process worksheets to guide your kids.

Plan | Build | Problem Solve

Hand out cups to individuals or groups. Allow for 5 minutes planning time before building starts. Add a time limit for building if you wish, 15 minute to 20 minutes works well!

This Christmas cup tower STEM is a great science experiment for kids! One of the simplest experiments for kids to try this holiday season! Pin

Decorate your Christmas tree cup tower with pompoms or even crumpled tissue paper as Christmas tree decorations.

Our STEM challenges are a great to way to engage kids even with simple supplies like these plastic party cups. We have a whole list of STEM supplies on a budget to check out.

This Christmas cup tower STEM is a great science experiment for kids! One of the simplest experiments for kids to try this holiday season! Pin

There’s nothing better than building a huge cup tower Christmas tree and then knocking it down! Your kids will love this fun and addictive Christmas cup stacking challenge!

A simple and fun Christmas STEM activity for any time any day that all the kids can enjoy together. Go screen-free your next indoor or stuck-inside day. The kids will have a blast. If you have Nerf guns, snowball shooters, or even rolled-up socks, use them too for knocking down the towers.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: 25 Indoor Energy Busters For Kids

This Christmas cup tower STEM is a great science experiment for kids! One of the simplest experiments for kids to try this holiday season! Pin

More Fun Christmas STEM Challenges

Santa’s Chimney Challenge: Soft candy and toothpicks are a winning combination for building structures for STEM. Build a chimney for Santa. How high can you make it?

Christmas Card STEM Challenge: The best way to recycle all those Christmas cards! What kind of structures can you build with a heap of Christmas cards?

Jingle Bell STEM Challenge: This is our version of the classic egg drop challenge with a more Christmasy theme. Can you quiet a jingle bell so it doesn’t make any noise?

Santa’s Sleigh Challenge: Santa needs a sleigh in order to make his rounds. But what happens if Santa’s sleigh is down for repairs with no time to spare? It’s up to you to design and build Santa a new sleigh with this Christmas STEM challenge complete with free printable worksheets.

Check out more fun Christmas STEM projects here.

More Christmas Activities For Kids

Printable Christmas STEM Project Pack


  • 25+ Christmas theme science and STEM activities with printable sheets, instructions, and useful information all using easy-to-source materials perfect for limited-time needs. Includes a holiday theme engineering pack with fun, problem-based challenges for kids to solve! NEW observation sheets included.
  • Try a Santa’s Letter airplane challenge or take the gingerbread house-building challenge! 
  • Explore the five senses with a specially designed Santa’s Lab pack.
  • Try a mini nature study with your favorite type of Christmas tree.
  • Try your hand at building shapes with gumdrop structure challenge cards or build shapes with jingle bells. Or try the Christmas-themed paper chain challenge!
  • Christmas Screen-free Coding activities include algorithm games, binary code ornaments, and more!
  • Explore 6+ Christmas Art Projects with famous artist-inspired activities that combine art history, process art techniques, and more with simple to-do ideas. 


  1. I love this idea! What a great way to encourage cooperation, creative thinking, and patience. This will be so much fun to do!

  2. Love the idea!!!! I have looked all over for the green clear cups. Any suggestions on where to look for them. Thank you in advance

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