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    Some children still learn the skills attached to the traditional string games

Miscellaneous Physical Play String figures

Hand and Finger Play
Alternative Names
  • Cat's Cradle
  • Cup and Saucer
  • Eiffel Tower
  • Elastics
  • Witches Broom

Players use a piece of string or wool to make a variety of chapes and figures.


At School 12

Players: 1
Age: 11 -12

  • Cup and Saucer,
  • Eiffel Tower,
  • Witch's Broom

This girl demonstrated three string figures, using a loop of string provided by the researcher. She had several tries, and then made 'Cup and Saucer' successfully, and went on to make the other two figures.

She hesitated before making the 'Eiffel Tower' because she had to hold the string in her teeth to make it, but when she was assured that the string was clean she finished the figure.
She said she learned these string figures from a book.

The way this girl makes the 'Witch's Broom' is identical to the Aboriginal string figure 'Fish Spear', which has a twist in the string at the beginning.


Players: 2
Age: 11 -12

Cat's Cradle

Two girls demonstrated how they play 'Cat's Cradle', the string game where players take turns to take the string from the other person's fingers in a certain way, with the string making a different shape each time. The aim of the game is to keep going for as long as possible.


Some of the girls use rubber bands to make the same shapes that are usually made with string, e.g. Cup and Saucer, Mini Eiffel Tower, the Hand Trap trick.

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