The joys of peas and toothpicks for all ages!

Translation of this post by Jane Kats.

A building set from peas and toothpicks is a simple and winning proposition. I can keep building from it myself again and again, inventing new structures every time.

You can make platonic solids, or you build a house or a rocket, a bird or an animal.

This is my favorite setup – where a free-style creative activity provides “development” on its own, without additional directions or instructions.

If you decide to build a cube, you will figure out the angles at which you have to put in the toothpick into the pea in the process of building. If you want to build an octahedron like the kid next to you, you will have to study it carefully, understand the shape of its faces and count its edges, figure out the angles at which the toothpicks connect.

For our math festivals, we soak 9-11 pounds of peas and buy more than 20 thousand toothpicks!

And like with any other building material or construction set, if there is a lot of it and many builders, then the buildings turn out more interesting than when there are only one or two builders.

When one person starts building a multistory building, her neighbors also get inspired to build something similar.


the buildings are growing


building houses is a good place to start!


some windmills appear


and rockets


and dinosaurs!


a tetrahedron and an octahedron


a crown


Parents are also excited to build with the kids.



The structures aren’t fitting on the dedicated tables and shelves anymore!


We have had this station at many of our math festivals and we aren’t tired of it! Some children stay with the toothpicks and chickpeas for over an hour. The parents get tired and try to move on, but the child continues his experiments with shapes and angles. Don’t rush them, they are learning math!


About aofradkin

I enjoy thinking about presenting mathematical concepts to young children in exciting and engaging ways.
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