Straw Tower

Straw Tower - Have the young people compete in teams to see who can create the tallest free standing tower out of the given resources!

Age Range
Number of Participants
15-20 minutes

Quick overview

Have the young people compete in teams to see who can create the tallest free standing tower out of the given resources. Useful to help young people learn to accept others ideas, give their own and come up with a compromise in the end.

Supplies you’ll need

Ball of string, drinking straws, paper clips, scissors, pipe cleaners (enough of each item for every group).


Collect the required resources and, depending how easy/hard you want to make the task, give the group less or more of each item.

Leading the Activity

Have the group divide into equal teams of 2-10. Depending on the size of the teams the more of each resource they will require.

Provide each group with a pile of straws, paper clips, pipe cleaners and a pair of scissors with a ball of string.

Inform the teams they must create the tallest tower out of the given resources, within a given time limit (5-10 minutes). The tower must be able to be free-standing for at least five seconds after they have finished building it.

There are many different ways of doing this task which will mean the young people will probably at first be divided on how best to go about the task. As leader, its best to completely step back and give no hints about how to make a tall tower as this will make them have to negotiate more amongst themselves and develop these useful life skills.

For an additional challenge you may want to challenge them to make the tower able to hold an egg or small ball at the top without it dropping.

Group discussion

Once you’ve done the task you may want to have a large group or small group discussion on how they did. Here are some prompts you make want to ask:

  • How did your group get started with this project?
  • Did everyone agree with how to do the task? If not, how did you decide?
  • What ways do you think are useful for a group to make decisions together?
  • Why is it important to be able to work well with others and make decisions as a member of a group?


This is the hardest variation of this game and helps to generate good discussion and compromise. If you are working with younger groups, or those with special educational needs, two easier forms of this game require you to replace the equipment you used with the following:

  • Newspaper & Sticky tape (Easiest)
  • Marshmallows & Spaghetti

God Links

You may like to use this as an activity to link into themes such as:

  • Life journey/vocation – Both building the tower and following our vocation take planning and discernment and once we’d asked the right questions and the right people (God) we are able to fulfil the challenge well. Jeremiah 29:11, John 15:16.
  • Body of Christ – Both the tower and the Church are made up of many parts and requires them all to be successful. Romans 12:5, 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, Ephesians 3:6 and 5:23, Colossians 1:18 and Colossians 1:24.
  • Bible study on the tower of Babel – Both are towers and if young people get too ambitious the tower falls down. Genesis 11:1-9.