Articulated Hands


In school, the hand dissection was one of my favorites. I’m not sure what it was, but I was facinated by every tendon, muscle, joint, flexion, extension, etc.  You catch my drift. So complicated yet efficient. It’s an amazing thing!

I was giddy with excitement when the boys expressed an interest in learning human anatomy. The maxim, “see one, do one, teach one,” immediately came to mind. Here was my opportunity to teach what I spent years learning. Filed away in my brain (and Pinterest files), was a project about making an articulated hand.  Not a Netter-worthy model, but one that works for elementary aged kids.


Initially, we followed the instructions on the All For The Boys blog including the clipart of the hand, but it created freakishly long fingers that curled past the wrist when we pulled on the strings/tendons. Weird. Most likely a user error on Mom OKAZOO’s part.

Next, we traced our hands on construction paper and repeated the process with the straws, string and hot glue. Cool!

Supplies: Construction paper (or hand printable), pencil, hot glue (with adult supervision), string, scissors and paper straws.

In this activity, the strings represent the tendons (connecting muscle to bone) and the straws represent the tendons sheaths.


Fun Facts about the Hand

  • Humans have 5 digits per hand. We have 4 fingers and an opposable thumb on each hand (opposable means it can move toward the other fingers and help them do work)
  • Each finger has 3 bones and the thumb has 2 bones (phalanges)
  • Each hand has 27 bones in total (phalanges, metacarpals, carpals)
  • Two main sets of muscles and tendons that run from the forearm to the fingers: Flexors and Extensors.  Flexors move the fingers and thumb toward the palm. Extensors straighten out the fingers and thumb.

Max Edit

This activity was so weird and freaky.

Jack Edit

This activity was fun because you could move the fingers.

Grow Your Brain


All For The Boys DIY Articulated Skeleton Hand

Go Science Girls How to Make an Articulated Hand

The Scientific Mom Take A Trip Through The Skeletal System With Articulated Hands

Scientific American Build an Artificial Hand

Mystery Science Robot Finger

Kids Health Your Wonderful Hands

Sick Kids Anatomy of the Hand Bones


Kids Learning Tube Hand Song

Go Noodle Bones!Bones!Bones! – Awesome Sauce

Sportology The Basic Science of Tendons & Tendonitis

Kids Learning Tube The Human Body for Kids/Learn about the Human Body for Children/Skeleton

SciShow Kids Your Super Skeleton!

SciShow Kids How Do Our Bodies Move?




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