I love fostering independence in my kids through activities, watching them problem solve and try things new ways.

by Rachel

Brain Building through play!

There are two activities that are super simple and will keep your kids engaged for hours:

1) Building with plastic cups. They create towers, bridges, walls, forts, etc.

2) Blowing straws… I think the kids were four before they figured out on their own accord what a spit wad was… and the classic battle weapon of childhood was reborn in another generation.

Combine them and channel those fascinations… say no to spit by encouraging the kids to use cotton swabs. Add some cups and you have a target that is *not* mom… and hours of brain building fun.


All you need are:

  • Straws (narrow ones are best)
  • Handful of Q-tips
  • Plastic cups – the more the better

How to play:

Kids build a tower – if you have multiple kiddos who love competition you can have them each create towers and then “attack” the other team… my girls tend to get their feelings hurt easily, so they built their tower together, and then knocked it down together too!

Put a q-tip inside the straw and blow the straw at your target (aka, the wall of cups). It is harder than it looks – and hours of fun!

The cups do not fall down easily. Kids have to build the walls with gaps close enough that the tower is stable, but big enough gaps that the cups will fall down when the darts hit them.

What activities have kept your kids going for hours??

There is a variation of this blow-dart game that is perfect for younger preschoolers – or if you don’t want to sacrifice a ton of plastic cups (yes, they will be bent and ruined in the above activity). Check out the straw game over at That’s What She Said.

​Rachel is the founder of the blog, One Crazy House. She is the co-author of 101 Kids Activities that are the Bestest, Funnest Ever! and The 101 Coolest Simple Science Experiments. She lives in Fort Worth, Texas with her husband and six children.

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Kanwal Khan
Kanwal Khan

Great Idea, we expanded on this by putting up digits and numbers on cups and asking kids to hit a particular cup to teach them alphabets & numbers.