The best activities are ones you can do with inexpensive supplies (or stuff you already have at home). Drinking straws fit that bill perfectly. So we’ve rounded up some of our favorite straw activities, STEM challenges, and crafts. Try them in the classroom or at home … they’re fun everywhere! (Eco-tip: If you’re looking to avoid plastic straws, you’ll find that most of these activities work perfectly with paper straws too.)
1. Spin and spell with straws
Use two different sizes of straws to make this easy straw learning tool. Switch letters in and out and spin to spell new word combinations.
Learn more: Still Playing School
2. Launch straw rockets
This is one of those straw activities kids will play with over and over again. Get the free printable and instructions at the link.
Learn more: Buggy and Buddy/Launch Straw Rocket
3. Build a straw tower
You can do some pretty cool STEM challenges with straws. Ask kids to build a bridge or the tallest tower they can. For a real challenge, make a tower that can support the weight of a bucket of coins.
Learn more: Teachers Are Terrific
4. Combine straws with a colander for fine motor practice
Little ones will love this straw activity, and it couldn’t be easier to set up. Simply give them a colander and some straws (make sure the straws fit through the holes). Wee fingers will get terrific fine motor skills practice threading the straws in and out.
Learn more: Kids Activities Blog
5. Create a colorful straw scene
Cut colored straws into pieces and use them to make pictures. When you find one you like, use a little glue to fix it in place on a piece of paper.
Learn more: Raising Whasians
6. Make a marble maze
This is one of the most popular straw activities out there, and we can see why! Craft a marble maze inside a cardboard box, then roll the marble or tilt the box to complete the puzzle.
Learn more: Teach Preschool
7. Play a pan flute
Here’s a sweet activity for budding musicians! Blow across the tops of the different lengths of straws to make different tones and compose your own song.
Learn more: Buggy and Buddy/Pan Flute
8. Use straws to blow paint
You might make a little bit of a mess, but kids will get such a kick out of this fun activity. Make abstract art, or wait until it’s dry and add details with markers.
Learn more: Artful Parent
9. Fly straw gliders
This is a cool twist on traditional paper airplanes. Kids can experiment with the size of the paper hoops, the length of the straw, and more to find the best flyers.
Learn more: Momtastic
10. Build with straws and Play-Doh
A little Play-Doh plus some straws give kids building tools for hours! Straw activities like this one really encourage creativity.
Learn more: Fireflies and Mudpies
11. Separate salt and pepper with a straw
Harness the power of static electricity and use a plastic straw to separate salt from pepper. It seems like magic, but it’s really science!
Learn more: Life With Moore Learning
12. Construct a straw roller coaster
Who wouldn’t want to build one of these? Sturdy straws make an incredible ping pong ball roller coaster, and kids will love experimenting with different arrangements.
Learn more: Frugal Fun For Boys and Girls
13. Lace up shapes
This is a smart variation on lacing cards. Kids learn their shapes and get some fine motor skills practice too.
Learn more: Planning Playtime
14. Craft a moving hand
Not only is this project incredibly cool, but it also teaches kids about the way muscles and tendons work. So fun!
Learn more: Vivify STEM
15. Put together geometric shapes
When you combine straws with pipe cleaners, you can make all sorts of geometric shapes. This is a fun STEM challenge for kids—see how many they can come up with on their own.
Learn more: The Tiny Funnel
16. Then make geometric bubbles
You can use those geometric straw shapes to create totally amazing bubbles too!
Learn more: Babble Dabble Do
17. Build a straw house
While you’ve got the pipe cleaners and straws out, turn them into building tools. Create buildings, animal models, or interesting abstract sculptures.
Learn more: Deceptively Educational
18. Hang a straw wreath
These make a fun classroom decoration, or a craft for kids to take home. All you need is glue and lots and lots of straws.
Learn more: Lorrie Everitt Studio
19. Wear a straw bracelet
Snip straws into pieces and string them on pipe cleaners or yarn. Add sparkly beads too for even more glamorous fun!
Learn more: Penguins in Pink
20. Use straws to paint with bubbles
Kids love to blow into their straws to create bubbles in their milk. Turn that impulse into a masterpiece! (This is a good activity to do outside since it tends to get pretty messy.)
Learn more: Our Little House in the Country
21. Make a straw skeleton
The leg bone’s connected to the hip bone, and they’re all made out of straws! This one is fun for Halloween or as an intro to an anatomy unit.
Learn more: Education.com
Like these straw activities? Try these 30 Clever and Colorful Pipe Cleaner Crafts and Learning Activities.
Plus, 26 Wood Craft Stick Projects and Ideas for the Classroom.