What kid wouldn’t want to play with candy? Our gumdrop bridge STEM challenge is perfect for using up those sweets that you might have hanging around the house. Or it simply makes a fun afternoon activity to keep everyone busy. Add a challenge and have your kids try out their gumdrop bridge building skills! We love fun and easy STEM activities for kids.

Gumdrop Bridge Building STEM candy structures activityPin

Easy Building Activities For Kids

Building a bridge with gumdrops and toothpicks is a perfect STEM {science, technology, engineering, and math} activity for kids! We have been trying out more and more STEM building projects this season.

Building with gumdrops offers many learning opportunities for kids. Problem-solving, designing, planning, and building all come into play when you start building with gumdrops and toothpicks. You have to create supports, balance weight evenly, and determine the size and shape.

Building structures or 3-D shapes with gumdrops is another fun activity to try!

Very simple set up! All you need are two materials; gumdrops and toothpicks for this bridge building activity. We chose gumdrops but the possibilities are endless {marshmallows, apple pieces, cheese, styrofoam, playdough, etc!}

We added an technology component as we watched a Magic School Bus episode about construction and bridge building. My son often needs to see a concept in practice order to understand the idea better.

We checked out our special bridge building Magic School Bus episode first. Then I paused it on the construction of the suspension bridge and we talked about the shapes we saw, how many gumdrops and toothpicks we would need, and how bridges work.

Gumdrop bridge building STEM engineering activity iPad set upPin

Gumdrop Bridge Challenge

Supplies Needed:

  • Gumdrops
  • toothpicks
  • Lego minifigures {optional for crossing bridge)
  • containers {optional for providing challenges to rescue lego men}
  • video of bridge building {optional}


  1. Prepare a variety of gumdrops and toothpicks in equal quantities for each participant or group. You can also provide other materials like construction paper or cardboard for additional support or decoration.
  2. Set up a designated building area with enough space for each participant or group to work comfortably.
  3. Optionally, set up a testing area where participants can test the strength and stability of their bridges.


STEP 1. Introduce the challenge to the participants, explaining that their task is to design and build a bridge using gumdrops and toothpicks.

STEP 2. Discuss the criteria for the challenge, such as the length, strength, and stability of the bridge.

STEP 3. Encourage kids to brainstorm and plan their bridge designs before starting construction. They can sketch their designs on paper and consider factors like the arrangement of gumdrops, the length of the bridge, and the use of support structures.

STEP 4. Allow time for kids to build their bridges according to their designs. Remind them to use toothpicks as the support beams and gumdrops as the connectors.

STEP 5. Once the bridges are built, invite individuals or groups to test their bridges by placing small weights (e.g., coins) on top of them. Measure the maximum weight each bridge can support before collapsing.

STEP 6. After testing, make sure to discuss their experiences, challenges faced, and lessons learned from the activity.


Tips For Building A Gumdrop Bridge

  • Encourage teamwork and collaboration among kids, especially if they are working in groups.
  • Emphasize the importance of planning and testing in the engineering design process.
  • Provide guidance and support as needed, but allow kids to explore and problem-solve independently.
  • Consider incorporating additional challenges or constraints, such as building a bridge with a specific span or using limited materials, to make the activity more engaging and challenging.

Option: Make It A Tall Bridge

After we had made our initial bridge, I suggested we build whatever with the remaining gumdrops and toothpicks! He chose another bridge building activity but wanted to make it a tall bridge.

I think 4 levels are pretty good! I helped too and added stabilizers while showing him how they worked.

TIP: Learn about bridges around the world with our famous landmark worksheets!

 We even enjoyed a small taste test. Apparently the large ones aren’t very tasty! This is a great holiday candy activity too! He was quite pleased with his gumdrop bridge building projects. See what you can build today!


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.

Try More Fun Building Challenges

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

Straw Boats Challenge – Design a boat made from nothing but straws and tape, and see how many items it can hold before it sinks.

Strong Spaghetti – Get out the pasta and test our your spaghetti bridge designs. Which one will hold the most weight?

Paper Bridges – Similar to our strong spaghetti challenge. Design a paper bridge with folded paper. Which one will hold the most coins?

Strong Paper – Experiment with folding paper in different ways to test its strength, and learn about what shapes make the strongest structures.

Marshmallow Toothpick Tower – Build the tallest tower using only marshmallows and toothpicks.

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!


  1. Love the bridges! Bridges are one of our favorite things to build at our house.

  2. Great tasty fun! We’ve made our bridge with marshmallows but it came down. Gum drops seem a little more sturdy so I am now going to try it wit the gumdrops instead.

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