Cat's Cradle

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Practice giving and following directions. Work on clear and concise communication.

Group Size


Cat's Cradle handout

String, yarn, thin rope, or a shoe lace

Set Up

Cut string into pieces that are ~ 6' long and tie a knot so they form a loop. Draw a cat's cradle on a piece of paper.


Please help improve these directions. This is the rough idea. Have partners sit back to back. Give one person the handout with images of cat's cradle (attached) and the other person the string. The partner with the handout should do their best to explain step-by-step how to make the string into the image, but can't turn around and look at the other persons hands to actually see what they are doing.


What was difficult about this task? What worked well? How is this like other times you are giving or receiving directions? How is this different?


If they are really struggling, you can give them hints (see full instructions here: If it is too easy, you can blindfold the partner with the string, or tell them to try again, this time without using the words, "string" "finger" or "hand."

  • Another option would be to have groups of three people. With the same piece of string, one person uses their right hand, another person uses their left hand, and they can't talk, but have to take directions from the third person about what to do.
  • Another option is to do this on a large scale with a big piece of rope and each participant acts as finger on one of the hands (this would require at least 10 people).