Cat’s cradle string game

Cat’s cradle is a string game you may remember from childhood. It requires two people to pass the string back and forth to make your string figure. See below for instructions – better yet – check out our how-to video.

What you need:

  • 1 x piece of string or wool (about 120cm in length, looped and tied together at the ends.)

Number of players:


Here’s how to play the cat’s cradle string game with two people.



Step 1: The first person loops the string over each hand, running between the thumb and forefinger and behind the palms.

Step 2: The second person loops the string once around the first person’s palm.

Step 3: The first person uses each middle finger to hook the string that runs across each opposing palm.  This is the opening figure for cat’s cradle.

Step 4: Now there are two X figures on each side. The second person comes in from each side, pinches the two X figures with her thumb and forefinger, pulls the string outward, dips under and comes back up through the centre so that the string ends up on her thumb and forefinger. Now she will have a figure like an X on her fingers.

Step 5: There will be two outer X figures. The first person will now pinch those two X figures from above, then pull the string outward, dip down under and come back up through with the string on HER thumb and forefingers.

Step 6: Now you will have the tram tracks figure: essentially four parallel lines. The second person will now use her pinkies to hook the two inner strings- she should hook the closest string to her first, pull it away from her and then hook the furthest string and pull it toward her so that she forms a diamond.

Step 7: Second person pulls each pinkie outward so that there will be two large triangles on either side of the figure. Without letting go of the string on her pinkies, she will now point her thumb and forefingers down into each triangle and then come back up through the figure hooking the straight line that runs on each side.

Step 8: This is the cat’s cradle figure. Now you can keep playing the same way: by grabbing the X figures each time, pulling it outward and then coming back up through the figure so that you pass it between you like that.


  • Thanks to our sister company Kidspot Australia for creating the instructional video.

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