Grabbers are handheld tools used to aid a person’s reach and pick up items. Grabbers are often mechanical, meaning they have moving parts that the user can control, but there are lots of different types of grabbers. As the name suggests, the mechanism on these designs will be used for grabbing things! In addition to creating with simple machines, building a grabber will give you a practical tool you can use around your house!  

Design Challenge

Design a device that can pick up three different objects from at least three feet away. 


Check out the suggested materials to get started, but don’t limit yourself to what is here. Look around your home and think about what items could fit in the categories on the next page. In addition to what you're picking up, you will also need to think about how to extend the reach of your grabber to at least three feet.


Design Thinking




45+ minutes

Key Concepts

Mechanics, motion, structure, simple machines 

Want a challenge?


Do you know someone who needs a grabber? Ask them how they would use it, and what kind of challenges they might have. Then draw a design!

Want a challenge?


Build a grabber from household items.

Want a challenge?


How many different objects can your grabber pick up?

If you think this looks fun, wait ‘til you try these!

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