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LEADER RESOURCE 1: Playing Cat's Cradle

Cat's Cradle images and text come from The Project Gutenberg eBook, My Book of Indoor Games, by Clarence Squareman.

To play Cat's Cradle, two or more people make shapes out of a loop of string as they pass the string back and forth between their hands.

One person takes the loop of string and places it around the fingers of both hands while leaving the thumbs free. Loop the string back around so that it goes all the way around each hand while still keeping the thumbs free. Using the middle finger of one hand, slide it inside the loop of string across the palm of the opposite hand. Do the same thing with the middle finger of the other hand. When you pull both hands apart, the string stretches to form the Cat's Cradle.

The second person should locate the two places in the cradle where the string makes an "X." With a thumb and forefinger, the second person pinches together those "X" shaped parts of the string. Keeping it pinched, the second person moves their hands farther apart until the string is taut, points their fingers down to gather the string, then scoops the string up through the middle. As they pull, the first person should let the Cat's Cradle slide off their hands. If it is done correctly, the string will keep the Cat's Cradle shape on the second person's hands.

Step-by-step instructions

Take a piece of string and knot the ends together to make a loop. Then, slip it over your hands:

Next wind the string around your palms, not including the thumbs:

Slip the second fingers through the string on your hands and you have your cat's cradle:

You must now ask a second person to pinch the "X" on the sides of the cradle, using their thumbs and first fingers...

... dive inside the middle from below, and pull the strings away:

Now curl the little fingers around the two, inside "X"s, slipping hands under the outside strings as shown to draw the string sideways and take it under the cradle:

Now curl the little fingers around the inside strings, slipping hands under the outside strings as shown, and draw out the side pieces:

Slip the thumb and first fingers under the side string, bring them up the middle, and you have your original cat's cradle again:

Printing This Leader Resource

The images on this page are a preview of those which are included (in a higher resolution) at the end of the downloadable versions of this session.

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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

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