String game: Butterfly

String game: Butterfly

String games are a great way to develop a child’s fine motor skills. This fun string activity originated in Native American culture, where they call it ‘'the moth". We think calling it "'the butterfly" is a much prettier.

What you need:

  • 100cm long piece of string or wool, looped and tied together at the ends

Number of players:


Watch the video to see how you can create a butterfly or moth string figure.


Step 1: First do "Opening A" with the string by using your forefingers to reach across and hook the string that runs across each opposing palm.

Step 2: Release the thumbs.

Step 3: Move your thumbs over the forefinger strings and pick up the nearest pinkie string.

Step 4: Release the pinkies.

Step 5: Duck your thumbs under the first forefinger string and pick up the near forefinger string, pulling it back towards you.

Step 6: You will now have two loops on each thumb.

Step 7: Now use your thumb and forefinger to reach across to the opposite hand and lift the lower thumb string up and off the thumb.  This is called, "passing over".

Step 8: Be careful to leave the upper thumb strings in place.

Step 9: Look at the strings that loop around your thumbs, there is a pattern of five triangular openings there.  Focus on the middle two triangles – the two that sit mirrored on either side of the central triangular hole. Now hook your forefingers down into these two middle triangles. You will be grabbing the top string that is looped around the thumb.

Step 10: Hook down and then extend your palms out and away from you.

Step 11: You’ve made a butterfly string figure (or, if you prefer, a Native American moth).


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

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