Before the challenge starts, prepare the items for each team. For convenience, place them in a simple paper bag; this will help you distribute everything and add a surprise factor to the exercise.

Items for Each Team

1 marshmallow

Any marshmallow brand should be fine as long as they are standard size, measuring around an inch and a half across. Jumbo or mini marshmallows don’t work very well, so avoid those. Also, use fresh marshmallows as stale ones are likely not to have the same fluffiness.

20 sticks of spaghetti

Obviously, the spaghetti should be uncooked. Use regular spaghetti instead of thicker or thinner types. As a hint, there are about 380 sticks of spaghetti in a one-pound box (or 420 sticks in a 500g box).

1 yard of string

The participants will use the string to connect the spaghetti sticks. The string should be reasonably flexible and easy to break with hand. For more rigid strings, you can include a pair of scissors.

1 yard of masking tape

Typically, people tape the spaghetti sticks to the table to stabilize the structure. Some use it to bind sticks together. Any standard masking tape should do the job. Similarly to the string, it should be easy to break the tape with hand, but feel free to include scissors.

Paper bag (optional)

A letter-size manila envelope or regular size lunch bags should do the trick. You should be able to place all the other items in the bag.

Items for the Organizer

It would help if you also had the following tools nearby as they are helpful to instruct, drive and judge the exercise.

Stopwatch or countdown timer

18 minutes is the recommended time for the marshmallow challenge. It just seems to be the right length, not too short and not too long. You should use a stopwatch or, better still, project an online countdown timer on a screen so every team can see how much time they’ve got left.

Measuring tape

You would need a measuring tape, preferably a retractable measuring tape, to measure the height of each team’s structure at the end of the challenge.

Projector and sound system (optional)

You can deliver the marshmallow challenge presentation using a video projector and get a sound system for music during the challenge. Aim to create a playlist that is exactly 18 minutes long so that the end of the last song coincides with the challenge’s conclusion.

Next: Step Three: Explain The Rules