For thousands of years, String Games have been enjoyed and played by children and adults all over the world. Long before there were books or television, string games have been used to tell stories, to build eye-hand coordination, and to entertain people of all ages!

String games can be played anytime and anywhere; around a campfire, in a car, at school, or any place you have a few minutes to make a string figure.

In researching string games, it was amazing to find how many different games are played using some type of string. The games will be introduced on this website, and different links will also be sited.

When you finish visiting that link, come back to our website and discover other kinds of string games!

String Games – using only a string

A good length to cut your string is 58 inches (147 cm). Make sure you tie a square knot or another type of knot that will not come untied. It helps to trim off the loose ends about an inch (2 cm) from the knot.

This website will give you short videos to help make seven different string figures: Cat’s Cradle; The Soldier’s Bed; Candles; The Manger; Diamonds; The Cat’s Eye; and Ending The Game.

Take the time to videos below for many different string games and activities:

How to do Cup and Saucer with string

How to do Cats Whiskers with string

How to do Jacobs Ladder

How to Play Cat’s Cradle with string


If seeing pictures and reading instructions is the best way for you to learn new skills, then visit this website. It has simple instructions to help you learn the names of the different string wrapping moves; and find success making string figures. At the end of the instructions for each string figure, there is a video link you can also watch.


This string game is played with two cones joined with a metal axel and metal or plastic hubs. The diabolo spins and balances on a string or a cord that is connected to two sticks. These sticks are held in each hand, and are used to move the string to get the diabolo spinning; and to throw and catch it. Thus creating different movements and tricks.

There are many different types of diabolos, from beginner to professional level, and many different websites to examine. Here are three websites that will be helpful to you as you researched diabolos:

This is a great tutorial to help you choose a diabolo that is right for you

Balero – Cup and Ball Game

Diablo gameA Balero is a traditional toy that is played by the children and adults of Mexico. There are three parts to a balero – the stick, with a narrow top and a handle; the string; and a thick, colorful wooden cup. The string is tied to both the stick and the top of the cup.

The object of the game is to swing the cup in the air, and then catch the opening of the cup on the narrow end of the stick.

This game takes practice, but once you see how to swing the cup so that the opening lines up with the stick; it will get easier to do.

Another type of balero has the cup hooked to the stick, with a string and a wooden disk. The disk swings in the air, and is caught in the cup.

Baleros can be purchased online or at Mexican-type markets. They are a lot of fun to use! The website listed below is a place to purchase either type of balero.  

If you are searching for good, quality toys, and string toys, check out this website. These products look like they will last for many years.

Yo-Yo Tricks

String games would not be complete without mentioning yo-yos. They have been around since the 1950s, and are still popular today around the world. There are yo-yos to fit every budget and every skill level. Here are some good websites to get you started buying the right yo-yo, and some basic beginner tricks you can learn.

Yoyo – which one is right for me?

Beginning yo-yo tricks: Sleep; Walk the Dog; Rock the Baby in the Cradle

Simple String Games to Make Yourself

Simple String Games

Old Time Telephone

Materials Needed: A string that is about 12-15 feet (3.65 – 4.57 m.) long, and two paper or plastic cups.

How to make the telephone:  Gently poke a small hole in the bottom of each of the two cups. Thread the string through the hole in each cup. Pull the string out from the cup so you are able to tie a knot in the end of the string to keep it from coming out of the cup. Gently pull on the string until the knot is at the bottom inside the cup.

These knots will be hidden inside each cup, Each person can talk into their cup, while the other person has the cup up to an ear;  talking and listening like an old telephone!

Cup and Ball Game

Materials Needed: A small paper or plastic cup, a small ball (a ping-pong ball, or a small rubber ball), that is able to fit inside the cup, and string cut about 15-18 inches (38-45 cm) long, and tape.

How to make the ball and cup:  Make a knot at each end of the string. Take one end of the string and lay it inside the cup, at the bottom. Tape it to the bottom of the cup, with the knot outside of the tape. This will prevent the knot from slipping through the tape. Tape the other string to the ball with the knot slightly out of the tape.

You can decorate your cup with stickers, and draw a face on your ball if you have a permanent marker; or just use them the way they are.

Hold the cup in one hand, with the ball hanging down. Swing the ball so that it goes up in the air above the cup. Catch the ball in the cup.

You might enjoy these books about String Games:

  • “Fun With String” by Joseph Leeming  – a collection of string games, braiding and weaving, knot work, and magic with string and rope.
  • “String Games” by Richard Darsie – available at WalMart or on $6.92 USD

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