Building Structures with Candy Pumpkins

“When I grow up, I’m going to build buildings taller than a roller coaster”

While I stirred my coffee, my four-year-old was telling me all of the things she would do when she was just a bit bigger.

“You can definitely build buildings taller than a roller coaster. You can do anything!”

“Could I build a building… Today?” she asked so sweetly that I had to find some way to make her grown-up dream come true.

Thankfully, I remembered this super fun STEM challenge I did with her brothers, and I knew it would be just the thing for my future architect! So we pulled out our supplies and started building structures with candy pumpkins.

Building with Candy Pumpkins STEM Challenge for Fall

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Have you ever seen the Marshmallow challenge? It’s one of my favorite STEM challenges around. That’s why I thought it would be really fun to take that challenge and make it seasonal with these cute little pumpkin candies!

Building with Candy Pumpkins STEM Challenge for Fall

STEM building with candy

What You Need for Building Structures with Candy Pumpkins

The set up for this Halloween STEM challenge is super simple.

I just put out a small bowl of pumpkins and a jar of toothpicks and let her go to town.

I should admit that we tried this with candy corn pumpkins (like the ones we dissolved in this experiment) but it didn’t work.

Building with Candy Pumpkins STEM Challenge for Fall

We had to go back to the drawing board and try something new. (This is why I love STEM challenges!)

How to Build Structures with Candy Pumpkins for a Halloween STEM Challenge

For this experiment, I let the kids choose how they wanted to explore.

Option 1: build the tallest tower you can with a set number of toothpicks and candy pumpkins.

Option 2: build structures with candy pumpkins and toothpicks.

Building with Candy Pumpkins STEM Challenge for Fall

They decided that for this first exposure, they wanted free building and engineering. I have to tell you, I was pretty impressed by their creations!

STEM Building Activity with CandyIt’s funny, when you let the kids take the lead you might be surprised with what they design. In my head, we should definitely only build up and build towers, but the kids had totally different plans.

Building with Candy Pumpkins STEM Challenge for Fall

Legoman told me he wanted to make a pumpkin and a witches hat, I thought he was crazy. I even told him “that might be really hard.”

Now I feel bad that I limited him. Look what he created!

Building with candy Science ActivityAs he built, he counted and measured, using tons of math without even realizing it.  There was so much trial and error involved that was great for his scientific thinking.

Building with Candy Pumpkins STEM Challenge for Fall

Once he finished, he was so proud that he had created his pumpkin. He loved the way everything turned out and the shapes that he used to create it.

Now, on to the next challenge… making a witches hat with pumpkin candies.

Witches Hat STEM activity

One of the coolest things he realized is that he could not make a round object without changing the pattern on the base. He needed to make a square-triangle pattern.

When I asked him about it, he said “Look, if I make squares it just goes straight. If I want to turn it I have to do this pattern. It makes the edges round. “

Patterns and Building Activity for Halloween

Honestly, not sure I would have figured that out on my own. I love watching children think!

Building with Candy Pumpkins STEM Challenge for Fall

Building Towers with Candy Pumpkins

Now, on the flip-side Bones and Super B wanted to build towers. They started out with a different plan and thought he would just stick the sticks in the candies and see what happens.

 

Building with Candy Pumpkins STEM Challenge for Fall

After playing with the materials more, they realized that they could build a tower if they connected the candies with toothpicks and made squares.

Building towers with candy and toothpicks

” If I connect these like this they are stronger and won’t fall over.”

Building with Candy Pumpkins STEM Challenge for Fall

With some more trial and error, the poor kid started having his tower fall over. He had to problem solve! That is when he decided to expand his base and make it wider at the bottom.

Tower Building Activity

Presto! The tower was stronger.

Turning STEM into STEAM

The traditional “STEM” activity includes science, technology, engineering, and math. However, if you add in some art, you now have STEAM. For this activity, the kids decided it would be really cool to make “blueprints” of their structures. They also decided that their structures were art themselves.

Building with Candy Pumpkins STEM Challenge for Fall

As an extension, we have talked about recreating these models with clay and toothpicks to make them a little more permanent. Maybe this week we will try this!

Building with Candy Pumpkins STEM Challenge for Fall

What is your favorite Fall STEM challenge? Make sure you check out the STEM challenge in action here!


Looking for more STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) projects and inspiration?

Looking for some more STEAM inspiration that use can use right now for the holidays? Instant gratification style? Check out the STEAM Kids Halloween Bundle! You can grab the STEAM Kids Book with 50+ Hands-on STEAM Activities AND STEAM Kids Halloween with fun and spooky STEAM activities to do all October long! It’s packed full of a year’s worth fun learning activities that will wow the boredom right out of your kids!


65 thoughts on “Building Structures with Candy Pumpkins”

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      They did! It was so much fun! They want to do it again!

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  2. So much learning going on here – and so much fun!

  3. lej

    looks so yummy…no I mean smart…so STEMy.and yummy get in my tummy fun!

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Very cute! Thank you!

  4. Christine

    What kind of pumpkin candy did you use? You said that you didn’t use the candy corn pumpkins, but I don’t know that I have ever seen another kind.

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      We used jelly candies. They were in the candy isle at our grocery store. Sorry I don’t know the brand. I think “branchers” makes some.

    2. Emily Williams

      I found these jelly candies at Dollar General.

  5. Leah

    Looks like so much fun! Quick question, where did you find the gummy pumpkins? I can’t seem to find them. Thanks!

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      We got them from our local grocery store.

  6. Love the idea of making this traditional STEM challenge seasonal! This will be great to do with my students the week of Halloween or the short week leading up to Thanksgiving! Thanks for sharing.

    Tara
    The Math Maniac

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Can’t wait to see how your students projects turn out! Don’t forget to share with us!

  7. This is so fun and such a great way to apply STEM! I am featuring this in a Halloween activity roundup on my blog this week 🙂

  8. Alison

    What didn’t work about the candy corn pumpkins? I’ve looked everywhere for the gummies and just ended up buying the candy corn kind.

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      The candy corn pumpkins just kept breaking. 🙁 Hopefully you will have better luck. I’d love to see pics!

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Let us know how it turns out! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Shannon

    I love your website! Thank you for all of the great ideas! I just tried the pumpkin building activity with the candy pumpkins and they did keep breaking… I can’t find the jelly pumpkins anywhere…. any suggestions?

    Thanks so much!
    ~Shannon

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Oh man, I am so sorry. We found ours in the halloween isle at the supermarket. They were near gumdrops. (Which might give you a clue what we will use for the next season!

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  11. Kim

    Where can you buy the candy pumpkins? I am a librarian and I would love to do this with the kids, but I can’t find them anywhere! Any suggestions on what store/supermarket sells them?

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      I got them at the grocery store last year. I saw them there this year too!

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  21. Can you tell me if there is a good number of pumpkins & toothpicks to use for the experiment? I have a class of 26 kids.
    Thanks

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      You can limit the challenge to 10 toothpicks and 10 pumpkins each if you want. We like to try 10, then 20, then unlimited free play in a center. Hope that helps.

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  24. Jennifer

    Would love to do this! Has anyone been able to find these pumpkins this year?

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