The Grabbing Hand

A Grabbing Hand automaton made by a child
A Grabbing Hand automaton made by a child

Construction instructions and pedagogical guidelines

The Grabbing Hand is a toy that is a mechanical hand. The AutoSTEM Grabbing Hand is made from a standard paper cup, threads, straws and sticky tape. It will move depending on the movement caused by pulling the ropes. It results in a toy that can be used by the children in many ways and opens up a number of subject areas for further learning. Grabbing hands are very motivating and exciting toys for children. It is fun for the children to be allowed to play with their Grabbing Hands once they have made them.

Target group

The Grabbing Hand example described here is designed for children from 4 to 7 years old. Teachers can adapt the proposal to other ages. Depending on the children’s knowledge, the teacher can decide whether they should work in groups or individually.

Learning goals

  • To learn mathematical concepts within the construction and assembly process, including shapes and numbers
  • To practice measuring
  • To use a ruler for measuring
  • To know about human body parts, namely, the hand
  • To develop engineering competencies of analysis and construction
  • Other soft-learning goals like problem solving and creativity can be included


How to make and use the Grabbing Hand – Download the step by step guide in English here

Hvordan du kan lage og bruke den gripende hånda – Download the step by step guide in Norwegian here

Mão articulada – Download the Step by step guide in Portuguese here

Хващаща ръка – Инструкции за изграждане

The video shows how children made the Grabbing Hand at a workshop “What are hands good for?”
This video shows an advanced version of the Grabbing Hand developed by a Norwegian teacher student