Cat's Cradle is a traditional game that is thought to have arrived in Europe from Asia in the 18th century. In America it is also known as "Cratch Cradle," and it is one of the earliest string games that arrived from overseas. The game involves two people; one wraps string around her fingers, while the other pulls the strings to create different patterns. Cat's Cradle is the basic string form, while other string shapes are given different names.
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Pick up a loop of string. Now, with your hands vertical and your palms vertical, position the loop of string around the back of your four fingers. Then, thread the fingers of your left hand underneath the horizontal length of string in front of you. Pull the hand back to its original position. Repeat this step for right hand. You now have a length of string running across the palm of your hand. Next, thread the middle finger of your left hand underneath the length of string on the right hand, and pull back. Repeat with the opposite hand. You now have the basic Cat's Cradle shape.
This simple Cat's Cradle trick transfers the string to your partner to create a cross shape. Person A supports the Cat's Cradle strings around his fingers. Person B then inserts her thumb and index finger in the intersection of the "X" shape, which is visible at either side of the cradle. Then, person B twists her fingers and lifts the cradle upward, off Person A's fingers. As this happens, the Cat's Cradle twists and forms a "X" shape made of double lines.
The original Cat's Cradle can be manipulated to create a tall grandfather clock shape. From the Cat's Cradle position, Person B pulls the centre of the "X" shape out with her little finger. Then, Person B grips the second "X" shape from above. The final step is to pick up the diagonal strings with your thumbs and forefingers by rotating them up through the centre of the cradle. Person B pulls the strings off Person A's fingers, and pulls her hands apart. This creates an elongated clock shape.
The Manager is performed as follows: Holding his little finger next to Person A's forefinger side, Person B reaches over to pick up the strings next to Person A's far thumb string. He then pulls them back over diagonally. Then, Person B moves his thumb and forefinger beneath the nearest and farthest straight strings on Person A's hands to pick them up. This creates an inverted cradle, known as The Manager.
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