Christine Nguyen sent me these pictures of her kids racing the climbing creatures...
...and they redesigned them. In fact, you can use any shape, as long as the straws are separated and taped at the correct angle. There's no functional reason why the straws must be at the end of arms. They could be in the middle of a lady bug, for example.
The classic folk toy gets easier
This creature that mysteriously climbs up and up as you alternately pull the strings down is one of the first science toys I set to figuring out as a kid. The only problem was that it was cut and drilled from wood--too hard for kids to make. So I have developed an easy-to-make version that uses thin cardboard and straws that even young elementary students can make with a little help.