With the Kids

Kids STEAM Craft: Climbing Critters

Needing an indoor activity to try with your kiddos? Here’s a fun “craftivity” to try with your kids – paper animals that climb. These climbing critters are just what you need for a creative STEAM activity!

Create a Few Fun Climbing Critters

Well, we’ve got you covered with this fun, creative, and entertaining idea. Not only are these a fun paper craft to make, kids can work on STEM and STEAM goals as well. There’s a lot of learning going into making and using these climbing critters! Give it a try this week – your kids will love it!

Create a Few Fun Climbing Critters


  • yarn or string (~3 ft. piece for each)
  • plastic drinking straw, cut into 1″ pieces
  • tape
  • pennies
  • beads (bigger than straw opening – we used pony beads)
  • heavy paper or thin cardboard

 Climbing Critters Supplies


1. The first step is deciding what kind of critter to make. These look especially cute if you draw your animal as if you’re looking down on it – that way it really looks like it’s climbing. We spent some time practicing our animal drawing – we found turtles, butterflies, ladybugs, caterpillars, and fish to be the easiest to draw.

2. Draw, color and cut out your critter on heavy paper (card stock) or thin cardboard (cereal box).

Drawing Climbing Critters Supplies

3. Once you have your critter cut out, flip it over and tape two straw pieces in the middle. Tape a penny to the bottom, also – that little bit of extra weight will help your critter climb better.

Creating Climbing Critters Supplies

4. Thread your piece of yarn through the straws, so you have a loop at the top and the ends hanging down. Tie a bead to the bottom of each end of the yarn, so they don’t slip back through the straws.

Creating Climbing Critters Supplies

Now your climbing critter is finished and ready for action!

Climbing Critters

To make your critter climb, hang it from a door knob and pull the yarn tails. Pull the yarn to the sides, so they make contact with the inside of the straws. Experiment with different ways to make your critter climb, such as pulling the yarn with alternating hands, pulling both sides at one time, or pulling only one piece of yarn.  Which way makes your critter climb the fastest?

When you drop the yarn, your critter will zoom back down to the bottom, ready for another climb.

Create Fun Climbing Critters

If you want to throw-in some science, talk a bit about friction. When you pull the yarn pieces, they press against the straws and create friction. The friction keeps your critter from sliding down. When you let go of the yarn, there is less friction and the critter slides down. Science at play!

Happy crafting and playing!

*Originally posted: 6/11/12



  1. Thank you so much for the fun project idea! We didn’t have any beads so we used a small piece of straw instead. The kids, toddler and preschool age, had so much fun making and playing with their critters!

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