The Family Tower Building Challenge

The Family Tower Building Challenge was the grand finale at a recent STEM event where 20+ teams of 4 people built the tallest tower they could in 6 minutes. It was an exciting contest as teams constructed towers out of 5 sheets of paper, 4 popsicle sticks, 3 straws, 3 feet of masking tape, and a pipe cleaner. The tallest tower reached 68 inches and won a prize of 6 deluxe museum tickets.

Although gathering 20 to 30 teams in your home might be unrealistic, you can create the same excitement and energy with your family. Gather a few supplies:

  • Masking tape
  • Paper – used letter-sized sheets ready for recycling are great
  • Odds and ends – pipe cleaners, straws, popsicle sticks, disposable chopsticks, anything long and relatively sturdy
  • Tape measure

If you use the same supplies we did, try to beat the 68″ tower. Of course, you can set up the rules however you like including:

  • Set a time limit – 5 to 10 minutes is a good length
  • Limit the amount of tape to 3 feet or use as much as you like
  • Allot a certain amount of supplies

Get ready, set, build! See how high your family can build. Afterwards, measure your tower. For an added challenge, talk about how you could make it even taller and try again. Another option is to you use all of the supplies you have to build the tallest tower possible without a time limit.


  • Skills: Fine motor, patience, problem solving, creativity
  • Preparation: No preparation is needed just gather supplies that you probably already have around the house
  • Cost: Probably $0 – you can limit your supplies to paper and masking tape
  • Time & Energy: ~10 minutes per round of building
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