Collaboration – Build a tower with a surprise

In this variation of 'Building Towers', the children get the opportunity to make themselves adaptable and come up with creative ideas when building a tower with a surprise during the building.
The task

Together, we build one tower. After approximately 10 minutes, there is a moment of surprise for the standards of the tower. The aim of the activity is to create room for rethinking ideas and finding more ways to build.

Collaboration – Building Towers We create a motivating framework for the children. 



Suggestion for introduction

We create a motivating framework for the children. 

For example, we can say: ”The activity is about building a tower together that is both tall and pretty. So, we build a tower as tall as we can while it also becomes a pretty tower.”

After (for example) 10 minutes: “Now, we have a new standard for the tower. It has to be stable enough to get through a storm. Maybe we build it different than before and learn new ways to build a tall, pretty, and stable tower. If we want, we can take turns finding new standards for the tower.”


The activity can be adapted to the framework of one lesson and varied according to the time available and the children’s prerequisites.


We need some building materials appropriate for building towers. We can choose one kind of material the children like or a mix of building materials, for example Lego, Bakoba, or wooden bricks.

During the activity

During the play session, the children encounter challenges and successes, where we can stop and help spot what is difficult or what is going well. We can do this in several ways:

Reflection routines 

When we get the opportunity to reflect together with the children on what challenges or discoveries arise along the way, we can use one or more reflection routines. It could be, for example, a learning metaphor with a social strategy that we practice, an emoji that describes the feeling we have right now, or a rating of how well we think the building is going. In this way, a reflection routine can help to show and put into words the experiences that the children have during the play session.

Facilitating questions

We can ask facilitating questions to the children along the way, as they naturally arise in the building process. In this way, we facilitate the play session so that we continue the play and at the same time learn something from it. For example: 

  • I see that you have stopped building. I wonder how we can continue from here? 
  • I see that you have encountered a challenge. Should we try to solve it together? 
  • Try to notice what you are doing right now. Do you think this is a collaborative strategy? 
Show and Tell

Finally, in the play session, we give a Show and Tell of our construction, so that we have the opportunity to share our experiences, reflections, and feelings about the construction process.

First, we talk about our model and the process of building it. During the Show and Tell, we can use reflection routines and reflective questions to support the discoveries that have been made. For example:

  • What went well? 
  • What was difficult?
  • Is there anything that you want to do differently the next time we build towers?
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