A game centered on stacking plastic cups and tearing them down as fast as you can—sounds silly, right? It began as a way to keep kids entertained: stacking dixie cups into a pyramid, running a relay, then coming back and disassembling the stack. Well, here we are nearly 20 years after the sport’s introduction into the mainstream, and it’s now enjoyed in over 27,000 schools throughout the United States and 56 countries in total. Cup stacking games are so beloved that we even have a World Sport Stacking Association (WSSA) for the best of the best cup stacking players.
Why buy stacking cups?
If you’re looking for a new, fun game to try, or if you’re entranced by the popular TikToks involving cup stacking, why not give it a try? Cup stacking isn’t just entertaining; it’s a fun challenge for kids and adults that can lead to friendship building within leagues, both in schools or community centers and online. Cup stacking is also a game that non-athletic people can master, and it helps to build confidence and self-esteem.
What should you consider in stacking cups?
- The Single Set: As far as basics go, it all starts with the cup set. You want your set to have the standard amount of cups to alternate between the most popular cup stacking structures: sets of three, six, and 12. Buying from a notable brand ensures you get your money’s worth, between providing the appropriate amount of cups to build with and cups that are built to withstand a bit of beating after all of that speedy stacking.
- The Kit: Beyond a single set, there are also bundle packages you can consider when buying a cup stacking game for the first time. Bundles typically include the appropriate amount of cups in addition to game-changing accessories that take your cup stacking excitement to new heights (e.g., professional building mats, timers, challenge cards).
- The Educational Game: Cup stacking has always been centered on keen hand-eye coordination. While the game has largely been played by crowds of older kids who have a knack for speed, there are also plenty of cup stacking games designed specifically to develop young children’s motor skills. If you have a younger child, then consider an option that provides them with daily learning moments in addition to ample fun.
How does cup stacking work?
First, you take the cups and arrange them into a pyramid. Then, you tear the pyramid down. The key is to do it as quickly as possible and continue to build your skills. Cup stacking takes a lot of practice, balance, and patience, and it’s a fun activity to try with friends and family.
Speed Stacks Official Sport Stacking Set, Blue
These stacking cups are designed to allow for efficient building, and they're a perfect introductory set for beginners.
Pros: There are so many things we love about these stacking cups. For one thing, this set comes in several brilliant colors, so you can choose your favorite. The carrying stick is handy, not just because it keeps your set secure while traveling, but because it’s less bulky than a bag. This set is also WSSA-approved if you plan to take your game to the next level.
Cons: It’s not the best set for young kids just learning.
Bottom Line: This is a great set for beginners, intermediate players, and TikTokers. These cups offer non-friction stacking and are sturdy and durable, so they should last through fierce competition.
hahaland Baby Stacking Cups
Help your little ones build essential fine motor skills with these cute and colorful stacking cups.
Pros: Little ones love this versatile set, but they especially enjoy the cat on top that lights up and plays music. Parents love this set because it’s made from BPA-free, chemical-free, safe and sturdy plastics. The set is colorful, and it features different shapes and numbers, which are great learning tools for little ones. Also, this set is water-safe and perfect for bath time. In fact, it can go from the playroom to the tub to the beach or sandbox, too.
Cons: This set isn’t for speed stacking like the other ones. It’s specifically for toddlers developing motor skills.
Bottom Line: This set of stacking cups for little ones helps to stimulate the imagination while increasing motor function. It also has the benefit of teaching kids about colors, numbers, and a variety of shapes. Plus, your little one will get a kick out of the little cat on top.
Speed Stacks Sport Stacking Competitor, Blue
For the fierce competitor, this timed set gets kids and adults racing against the competition for expert-level play.
Pros: First, we love that this set is built to prevent friction for users, so they glide easily for fast stacking and building. This is another WSSA-supported set, and it comes with access to the online community for gaming tips and instructions. It also comes with a DVD to help you through your cup stacking journey. Finally, this is a complete set with everything you need to play competitively, including the timer and mat and a clip for keeping the cups together when not in use.
Cons: Unfortunately, the packaging isn’t great. If you’re planning on giving this set as a gift, you’ll need to re-box it.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a complete set of stacking cups with all the accessories for competitive play, this may be the best set for you. Kids love it, and if they’re into the game at school or a community center, this is a great kit for at-home practice. Plus, this makes a fantastic gift for families who enjoy game nights.
Gamie Stacking Cups Game with 18 Fun Challenges
Have a blast with the many head-to-head challenges offered by this brightly-colored set of stacking cups.
Pros: This is a great game for kids and adults of all ages, so it makes a fantastic gift any time of year. The bubble timer is so cute, and kids love to play with it. This set also offers various challenges, giving it a leg-up compared to some other sets. Plus, this makes a great travel game or backyard game.
Cons: The gaming instructions may be a little complicated.
Bottom Line: Brightly colored and all-inclusive, this set of stacking cups is one of our favorite picks for families. The different gaming options vary between simple and challenging, so it will grow with your family. Plus, the cups in this set are made from sturdy, quality plastics.
DEWEL Stacking Cup Game
Improve your agility and concentration with this multi-game set of 12 stacking cups.
Pros: One thing we love about this set of stacking cups is the included carrying bag. Not only is the bag convenient, but it also helps keep your cups safe from damage. We also love that these cups come in various colors, including clear. If you have small children who love this game, you can feel good about the nontoxic, BPA-free materials. Plus, they come with easy-to-follow instructions.
Cons: These cups are a fraction smaller than the official stacking cups.
Bottom Line: This set of stacking cups is a fantastic value. It’s a great set for kids with smaller hands as they’re lighter than regulation stacking cups. Overall, this set makes a nice gift for cup-stacking beginners.
Why not challenge yourself to something new this year? Playing with stacking cups is a fun way to improve your agility, ambidexterity, and fine motor skills.