indoor activity for kids, cup stacking,

Getting Kids Active Indoors

Mad Cup Stacking for Indoor Fun

PickyKidPix came home from school the other day and announced, “I have mad cup stacking skills.”

I was like, “What?”

She repeated, “I have mad cup stacking skills. Only Ethan beat me and only by a fraction of a second.”

She proceeded to collect every disposable cup in the house and went off with her friend Charlotte to practice cup stacking. Acquiring mad cup stacking skills apparently requires practice. My other kids had to join in. Cup stacking is irresistible!

It turns out that the school Book Fair fundraiser took place in the gym and usually the weather is nice so the kids can do Physical Education outside. But it rained one of the days, so P.E. was moved to the lunch room, and mad cup stacking was the activity of the day. The kids loved it!

indoor activity for kids, cup stacking,

Cup stacking can be played for speed or height. It can be a tool to design architecturally sound structures too! The best part is that you probably have disposable cups in your house. Any size will work. Mixing cups makes it more interesting and challenging.

mad cup stacking skills, cup stacking as indoor kid activity, keeping kids active inside,  indoor fun for kids

Here are some variations to tie in math with mad cup stacking skills:

  • Time It! Clock how fact you can stack a certain number of cups. Record it and note your fastest and slowest times. What is the difference between them?
  • Count It! How many cups can you stack before your structure falls down? Can you count by 2s?
  • Engineer It! Can you stack higher with particular size cups? Will paper cups stack higher than plastic? Why do you think? Does size matter? Do smaller or bigger cups build a pyramid with more cups?
  • Shape It! What other shapes can you build with cups besides a pyramid? Try experimenting.
  • Build It and Take It Down! Give each child the same number of cups. Then race to see who can build it and take it down the fastest.

I personally like how the cup stacking can be done individually or as a team or both! It’s a fun and inexpensive way to spend an afternoon. And the best part is that when your kids are done playing, you can use the cups again for their intended purpose!

What other games can you think of with cups? Send me your mad cup stacking photos and I’ll post them here! Thanks!

p.s. Here’s an amazing kid, William Polly, with mad cup stacking skills:

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. jeanette from Artchoo

    Indoor fun! Fen came home one day all excited about cup-stacking. I’ll have to stock up on plastic cups for the winter. It’s pretty fun to watch, too.
    jeanette from Artchoo recently posted…Toys of the 1950′sMy Profile

  2. Monise

    I like this idea…I’m thinking we could incorporate this into a multiplication game. Any suggestions on games to get laundry done or dusting??? Lol
    Monise recently posted…Confession from a Homeschool Mom: Singapore Math Stumped Me TodayMy Profile

  3. Fun! Maybe you could use the cups to set up an obstacle course if you have a room or hallway large enough? I’m thinking soccer dribbling cones 🙂
    maryanne recently posted…Fun With HP: Printer + Snapfish Giveaway!My Profile

  4. Ann

    Not quite sure of how my daughter found out about this but she is always begging me to buy cups. Maybe I will pick some up today!
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  5. Andrew

    Good idea.Maybe you could use the cups to set up an obstacle course if you have a room or hallway large enough? I’m thinking soccer dribbling
    Andrew recently posted…Tally peacocking like a twatMy Profile

  6. Oh, this looks like so much fun. I am going to try this with my active kiddos.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing on the After School Link Up. My daughter feel in love with this when we played it on new years eve last year. It’s fun for family get together too! Can’t wait to see what activity you’re up to this week!
    Kim recently posted…Ways to Develop Obedience with Kids: Snapshot of Parenting with PurposeMy Profile

  8. Cup Stacking is so much fun! I’m featuring your post this week at the Sunday Showcase. Thanks for linking up!
    Trisha recently posted…Cardboard Box Maze and Play TunnelMy Profile

  9. Nikki Schwartz

    I love cup stacking! I remember when it was all the rage with huge televised competitions several years ago. It looks so cool when the cups seem to, um, flow out from one another. I even remember really expensive “professional” stacking cups at sporting goods stores!

    I laughed when I read, “I have mad cup stacking skills.” Awesome! 🙂
    Nikki Schwartz recently posted…25 Awesome Ideas for Light Table Play from Dollar Tree!My Profile

    • Hi Nikki,
      What a great reminder of the professional cup stacking. I am remembering them from way back in my childhood on TV!

      My daughter was so proud to come in 2nd in her class. It was so funny to me too! I immediately thought to grab a photo for a post and usually I miss these type of opportunities because it just doesn’t occur to me. She is still working on her mad cup stacking skills. I wonder if she will ever get a rematch against that little boy! If so, he should be warned that she has been practicing! 🙂
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Ninjago on YouTube Lego Channel!My Profile

      • Nikki Schwartz

        I still can’t get over, “mad cup stacking skills”. It’s giving me the giggles. I had an young client tell me recently about her “arch enemy” at school. Another came the other day from a friend, her three year old son left the living room with his coat on and mom asked him where he was going, “To WalMart, Mom, be right back.”

        I love kids, they say the greatest things. A video of her mad cup stacking skills would be awesome. 🙂
        Nikki Schwartz recently posted…Got Attention?: An ADHD Community Pinterest BoardMy Profile

        • That phrase “mad cup stacking skills” did it for me too! I should have taken video! Darn it! I finally bought a new video camera, a bloggie, because my iPhone only would transfer over less than 2 minutes of video. I think I didn’t have that new video camera when she was a mad cup stacker. Maybe I’ll leave some cups lying around … I have to buy some though. We used her cup stacking cups for a party and they are all gone.

          Thanks Nikki for your comments. I am laughing too as I think of her phrase. Kids are sooo funny!
          Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Ninjago on YouTube Lego Channel!My Profile

  10. My kids would love this! The simple things are the best, aren’t they? Our linky is live again for Play Based Learning hope you will link up again!
    Lora/Kids Creative Chaos recently posted…Play Based Learning Linky full of Sensory Ideas for kidsMy Profile

  11. Jennifer-MommyLifeAfterPhD

    What a GREAT idea! Need to tuck this one away for rainy day activities myself. Thanks for sharing!
    Jennifer-MommyLifeAfterPhD recently posted…The 8-Fold Path to Ensuring Your Kids Will Act the Fool at Sunday LunchMy Profile

  12. Brittnei

    Wow this looks like so much fun. I’ve seen this kid on the Steve Harvey show a while ago who was able to do this as well as professionals. I had no idea people were professional at something like this. It seems to be lots of fun though! Thanks for sharing this with us at Countdown in Style!
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  13. I’ve seen this before. I never thought about having my children do it for fun. That’s a good idea for speed and dexterity. This kids are really cool. Thanks for sharing with Countdown in Style.
    April recently posted…#AskAwayFriday with Danielle {Cozycakes Cottage}My Profile

  14. Glennis Brown

    Hi there. I was looking for something to do with my nieces and nephew next weekend when I do respite for my sister. All 3 could do this altho the middle one has autism so she wont be as fast as the others I still think that they will have so much fun. Off to buy my supplies this afternoon

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