+
upworthy
Pop Culture

TikTok's kid-friendly 'water cup challenge' is a fascinating science lesson in disguise

Behold, the new Jenga.

water cup challenge tiktok

Jenga took that Bruce Lee quote seriously.

Many are likening TikTok’s new “water cup challenge” to a game of liquid Jenga, only trading in the wooden blocks for rounds of pours. But that’s not entirely accurate.

For one thing, it’s even more intense.

As a Jenga aficionado (I have my own giant set at home and have yet to lose), this was hard to believe. But it’s true.



With Jenga, each round gets more and more difficult. As the tower—and the anxiety—gets higher, even breathing ceases to be an option. But the game at least has the built-in mercy of the really big wobble that signals “mayday, we’re going down!”

Such is not the case with the water cup challenge. There is no warning. Just … splash. Game over.

But that’s the really great thing about it too. You see, the water cup challenge might appear to be a game of chance, but there’s way more to it than that.

To really understand, one must know the principles of surface tension.


Surface tension happens when water molecules on the surface don’t have other water molecules on all sides of them. There are simply fewer of them swimming around up there. As a result, they will connect even more strongly to the other water molecules directly next to them.

You see, water molecules like to stick together, thanks to a natural property called cohesion—Mother Nature’s version of clinginess, if you will. Cohesion is what makes a water droplet stay a droplet, or what helps objects to float despite being heavy or dense.

It’s also what keeps the water cup challenge so riveting.

@gracemagerz Yikesss 😬 @holar_dipo #watercup #challenge #african #nigerian #kenyan #gracemagerz ♬ Dior Her - Seabee Ferarri

The game, like Jenga, is simple: Take turns pouring small amounts of water into a clear cup that’s already mostly filled. Whoever causes the inevitable spill is the loser. The end.

But man, you can pour an insane amount of water onto the top. And as that bubble gets bigger and bigger, the suspense increases. Though one trick is to pour slowly, that’s easier said than done once the hands start shaking. Either way, it’s incredibly fun to play and fun to watch.

Compared to Jenga, losing is a bit less painful, as there are no bricks to pick up. Although some people like to raise the stakes by soaking the loser with ice cold water.

William Hof must be so proud.

And in a way, the water cup challenge is even more kid-friendly than its brick counterpart.

There’s not just the cool surface tension lesson. It can be great hands-on practice for developing motor skills. Montessori schools will often introduce children as young as two-and-a-half years old to the practical life lesson of pouring as it can “help build a child’s concentration, control of body movement, and fine motor control.”

But clearly this is not just a game for children. Just ask NFL player JuJu Smith-Schuster (above), who really helped the trend make a splash.

All in all, the water cup challenge is a safe, engaging and all around wholesome form of H2O entertainment, no matter what age.

Good luck. And remember, pour slowly!

All GIFs and images via Exposure Labs.


Photographer James Balog and his crew were hanging out near a glacier when their camera captured something extraordinary.

They were in Greenland, gathering footage from the time-lapse they'd positioned all around the Arctic Circle for the last several years.

Keep ReadingShow less

A woman working out at the gym wearing headphones.

In 2018, author James Clear released “Atomic Habits,” a book about making significant changes through building small habits. The book's takeaway is that you don’t have to commit to drastic, overnight changes to improve yourself. You can do so by slowly working your way towards a goal.

"All big things come from small beginnings,” Clear writes in the book. “The seed of every habit is a single, tiny decision. But as that decision is repeated, a habit sprouts and grows stronger. Roots entrench themselves and branches grow. The task of breaking a bad habit is like uprooting a powerful oak within us. And the task of building a good habit is like cultivating a delicate flower one day at a time."

TikTokker Ashie Adams has a similar theory she calls the Lazy Girl Fitness hack. She says people can create a regular fitness routine by breaking a trip to the gym down into 2 distinct events instead of one that feels overwhelming.

Keep ReadingShow less

Albert Einstein

One of the strangest things about being human is that people of lesser intelligence tend to overestimate how smart they are and people who are highly intelligent tend to underestimate how smart they are.

This is called the Dunning-Kruger effect and it’s proven every time you log onto Facebook and see someone from high school who thinks they know more about vaccines than a doctor.

The interesting thing is that even though people are poor judges of their own smarts, we’ve evolved to be pretty good at judging the intelligence of others.

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Creator shares strange animal facts, weirds people out with jacana bird

Sometimes we see things that simply cannot be unseen. TikTok creator Mamadou Ndiaye who goes by the screen name mndiaye_97, has made his career out of educating people about weird animal facts that he finds fascinating. In most of his videos people walk away feeling more knowledgable on what animals to stay away from and which are actually as cuddly as they look.

But sometimes his videos makes the internet collectively gasp as they hear these untold facts. Recently, Ndiaye shared a video about the Jacana bird, who at first glance looks like an average bird with abnormally large feet. Viewers quickly realize the video is taking an hilariously uncomfortable turn when the next fact he drops involves a picture of the bird appearing to have eight sets of legs. Or maybe claws? No matter what it resembles, it's what nightmares are made of.

One viewer called it, "Birdie Kruger," and they're not wrong because the facts about this bird just kept getting more disturbing.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Woman sets up an adorable 'date night' with her elderly dog

More than 1.5 million have watched the dog's unforgettable birthday dinner.

Representative Image from Canva

Spoil your pets every chance you get.

It’s one of the most bittersweet experiences that life has to offer—watching our fur babies grow old. No matter how much time we are blessed with such lovely creatures, it’s never enough time.

But, even during our pet’s golden years, when energy wanes and things tend to slow down, we can still spoil them and give them the greatest life possible. And if you’re in need of some inspo—or just a good reason to have a happy cry—look no further.

Dog mom Vicki had the brilliant idea of giving her elderly, but still so handsome Lab the most adorable ‘date night’ for his 16th birthday. He even got his own tux!

Keep ReadingShow less

Artist's apartment gains protected status after his death

You move into an apartment and can't wait to decorate it however you'd like but unfortunately you're pretty limited on what you can do. Most apartments don't approve anything that can't be easily removed, some don't even allow you to paint. One man in England decided that he was going to make his apartment his own by decorating it with his artwork.

Ron Gittins was an artist that lived in the same apartment for over 30 years before his death. During his time in the apartment, the artist had created art all over the walls. Not just elaborate paintings but huge sculptures affixed to the walls that took up the wall's entirety. His family visited the home after Gittins passed away, they were shocked to find such massive elaborate art pieces throughout the home.

The artist died in September 2019 according to CNN, but if you stepped into the home now, you'd see everything still in its place.

Keep ReadingShow less