Marshmallow Tower Icebreaker Game

by Ged

For this game, you need 1 packet of marshmallows, 1 packet of spaghetti. The idea is to have 2 or more teams in competition to see who builds the highest tower using only the items provided. The towers must be safe - no points for them toppling over!!

It is fun but covers many competencies i.e. team work, communication, problem solving, leadership. It allows participants to use negotiating skills and improve their general communication...they also learn the benefit of planning.

As a twist I have swapped members between teams after 10-15 minutes. This can disrupt the teams but generally strengthens them.

The greater the numbers, the more spaghetti and marshmallows needed.

Comments for Marshmallow Tower Icebreaker Game

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Nov 12, 2009
great at any age
by: Anonymous

I recently done this exercise at our community service worker class, it was interesting I didnt explain they could work as a team just that they were to build a tower. After a few failed with a sticky mess, they formed a group and built a tower together. It was amazing to see this group aged 19-64 work together to achieve the final product

Jun 20, 2008
by: Anonymous

We used this in a staff meeting, it was great!

Nov 08, 2007
great idea
by: Anonymous

I will definately try this as I train quite heavy subjects that needs to be lightned up at times, cheers.


Oct 31, 2007
An Update
by: Lyndsay, author of

I liked this icebreaker so much I gave it a go recently.

Our small group made the classic split of girls against boys, each armed with a bag of marshmallows and a packet of spaghetti. We set a 15 minute time limit to design and construct a tower, with the highest being the winner. Easy peasy we all thought. Having an engineering background (as did someone in the boy's team), I was confident we were going to win. So, the girls agreed a design and got busy building.

Hang on a minute we thought, let's just do a test build, just in case we need to make any changes. But it was too late, we had already made our fundamental error (which I won't share, in case you want to try this for yourself). There was no going back. We did the test build and it held for a grand 45 seconds before gracefully collapsing into a sticky heap.

Oh dear, time is running out, let's re-think and see if we can salvage anything. Unbeknownst to us, it was the exact same scenario in the boy's team. We then descended into a frenzy of propping and sticking and more propping, but it wasn't to be. We had failed. Luckily, so had the boys.

This was a fantastic condensed version of a project from start to finish, and we experienced the highs and lows accordingly. Luckily, both teams were well practiced at working together so no blood was spilt, but I could see this icebreaker being a valuable learning opportunity to flush out bad behaviour and discuss it afterwords. If this was the case, I'd suggest the whole exercise was repeated so that any learning points could be practiced immediately. In short, a beauty.

Sep 07, 2007
Fun icebreaker!
by: Lyndsay Swinton

This sounds like a really fun game, obviously calling on peoples' creativity.

I find that if you're considering using an icebreaker game like this you need to spend almost as much time reviewing how people carried out the game as you did actually doing the game, or else you can miss out on the learnings from it. Thanks Ged, I'm sure lots of people will be using this one!

Oh - send over your email address and I'll get your free icebreaker book to you!

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