Exploratory Play

Exploratory Play

Learn how to build shapes with Strawbees through free play!



Duration: 2 x 45-minute Periods

Class Size: 30 Students

Group Size: Individuals or 2 Students

Explore the world of Strawbees and the world of possibilities as a tool for building anything from your imagination. Students will become familiar with the different types of Strawbees connectors and explore building through designing wearables for role play.

Learning Objectives

  • Introduced to free building with Strawbees.
  • Creates connection with others by sharing feelings and projects for a collaborative storytelling.
  • Fine-tune motor skills with tools and assembling materials together.
  • Building the spatial reasoning capacity to visualize objects in three dimensions and beginning to draw conclusions about those objects from limited information.
  • Learn to express feelings and needs to others with spoken language.


  • 200 - Construction pipes (24 cm)
  • 100 - 1-Legged Strawbee
  • 300 - 2-Legged Strawbee
  • 300 - 3-Legged Strawbee
  • 300 - 5-Legged Strawbee


  1. Have additional small caddies or bowls around the room on desks or the floor to collect cut or broken construction pipes pieces to save for future projects and help with cleanup.
  2. Place containers of materials to the side of the room until students are ready to build.

Lesson Steps

1. Introduction

5 minutes

Ask your students if they have ever tried to make something from their imagination or an idea. Then ask if creating something from their imagination is hard sometimes. Explain to your students that creating something is a process and might have to redo it. Inventors go through this process often with their ideas and keep building inventions until they make something that works.

  • Share examples of things you have made from your imagination: a drawing of a scene from a dream, a new kind of animal made out of cardboard, etc.

2. Introduction to Strawbees

5 minutes


Introduce the building materials your students will use for creating prototypes in class: construction pipes and Strawbees!

  • Introduce the different types of connectors: 1, 2, 3, & 5-legged Strawbees.

Show a premade 2D triangle and square in front of the class to show as an example, then a cube and pyramid. To make these shapes you will have to demonstrate the best way to insert a Strawbee leg into a construction pipe.

  • Hold the head of the Strawbee in your hand with the leg pointing up. Then pinch the end of the construction pipe and push down.
  • The Strawbee will slip in easier and won't cause the construction pipe to bend.
  • Encourage students to bend Strawbees' legs if they need to as they are very flexible!
  • Share with students that you can also stick Strawbees into each other and listen for the click!

3. Building Warm-up

30 minutes


Pass out a few Strawbees and construction pipes to everyone to practice slipping a construction pipe on a Strawbee. Encourage your students to build a magic wand to wave around the room! At the end of the warm-up have students lift up their creations to share for everyone to see, then lift up yours. Let your students know that sometimes they figure out how to build something by experimenting and trying many different ways to build.

  • Emphasize that there is no wrong way to build with Strawbees because there are different ways to build shapes using different Strawbee pieces together.
  • For students that slide construction pipes through the hole in the head of the Strawbees, encourage them to insert a Strawbee on each end of the construction pipe to contain them.

4. Building Wearable Bases

20 minutes


Challenge your students to create a hat to wear with their wands. To start, students will have to build a pyramid base to wear on their head. You may need use a combination of full-sized and trimmed construction pipes for different head sizes.

  • Have students practice wearing on their heads to make sure everything fits!
  • If the pyramid is too big, exchange some of the construction pipes for trimmed ones.
  • Attached at the bottom of this lesson is the Strawbees Booklet for instructions on how to build a few geometric shapes.

5. Modifying the Hats

15 minutes


Challenge your students to modify their wearable hat.

  • They can build something they wear that lets them travel to a new place, a type of helmet for an adventure, a crown for a kingdom, etc.

6. Fashion Show


When your students are finished with their projects, have a wearable fashion show! Have students lineup and start a parade in your space or the hallway to share with others!