There’s a new challenge going viral on TikTok that has people pouring water into a cup and trying to get as much in without spilling over. The “water cup challenge” is not dangerous like some previous trends, does not create a huge, life-altering mess, and participating in this challenge actually has some benefits, particularly for kids’ fine motor skills, though toddlers might be doing it on a different skill level than, say, a group of young adults. Here’s what you need to know.
What is the water cup challenge that’s going viral?
The water cup challenge has been called the Gen-Z version of Jenga. It’s similar to the block game, except it uses water instead of wood, but it’s equally fun to play – and even more low-tech. All you need, after all, is a cup, some water, and probably a place far away from any of your electronics.
The challenge hit TikTok when NFL player JuJu Smith-Schuster gave it a go on with a group of people and shared the video on social media.
Now everyone’s trying their hand at it.
@thefbhouse WATER CUP CHALLENGE 😈🏈 @juju @realdockery @ ajgreene15 @jobdockery #football #nfl #SmellLikeIrishSpring ♬ Rackz got me – Yeat
The game can either be played by yourself or with a group of unlimited people. To play, a drinking glass is filled to the top with water, as close as it can go without spilling over. The goal of the challenge is to continue filling the cup up with water, seeing how much can fit in before it’s spilled over. It’s not only cool for fine motor skills, then, but also because it teaches kids about cool water stuff like surface tension. After all, the water begins to form a bubble over the edge of the cup before it spills over.
When the water spills over, the challenge has been lost by whoever poured the fatal splash. It’s fun to play and watch because when the more water that’s poured into the cup, the harder we hold our breath. Who’s going to lose? How much is too much? Those questions are why watching is so much fun.
The secret is to pour really slowly because water has incredibly high surface tension which allows it to hold more than we ever thought possible.
Why parents should try the water cup challenge with their kids
There are some TikTok challenges that have gone viral over the past year that, whether they are legit or not, is terrifying for parents because it puts their kids at risk of harm if they were to participate. But the water cup challenge is not harmful at all. On a quiet, or bored Saturday afternoon, it’s actually a great, low-tech, screen-free, and low-mess challenge to test with your kiddos because it offers a lot of learning and skill development. Plus, it makes for a pretty fun game.
“Water pouring activities can help build a child’s concentration, control of body movement, and fine motor control,” Reach for Montessori writes. The site says that pouring skills (which can also include dry pouring stuff like uncooked rice or dry beans) are offer foundational skills that will strengthen both school subjects and other real-life tasks.
Trying this challenge out with the kids may not be as impressive as how JuJu completed the challenge. (Just think about @theyeetbaby, one of TikTok’s most beloved toddlers otherwise known as Marleigh, whose slow and painstaking work at pouring juice and water has made her a seasoned pro. It took time!) They’re adults so they’ve had more practice than the fine movements which is what makes this one perfect for kids to practice while they play.