Spaghetti Box Kids

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5 Games with String

December 14th, 2011 · 6 Comments

Games with string are an old-time favorite for kids. Most classic games consist of making designs using your fingers and a loop of string. But there’s lots of other fun things you can do, like make a fishing pole with a magnet, make a kid’s crane, measure things, etc. Here are some string games you’ve probably never heard of that use an easy fling-device you hang from a doorway.

What You Need:

Kite string (or yarn, etc.)
Two rubber bands
Masking tape

What to Do:

The first thing is to identify a doorway or arch in your house–one that has some open floor space beneath. You’ll be attaching your fling device to the top of the doorway and extending it to the floor. Here’s how:

games with string for kids

1. Knot two or more rubber bands together. How many depends on the strength of the rubber bands. Start with two and see how that goes–then make adjustments as necessary. Use a simple Prusik Knot to attach the rubber bands to one another. (Figures 1, 2 and 3)

2. Cut a piece of string a couple feet longer than the height of your doorway opening.activities with string

3. Tie one end of your string to the rubber bands. (figure 4)

4. To attach rubber bands to top of doorway, cut four pieces of masking tape: 1 inch, 2 inches, 3 inches and 4 inches. (figure 5)around the house games for kids

5. Make sure the tape does not peel off paint (or stain) by testing a piece first. Simply apply then remove a small piece of tape at the top of your doorway. If problem occurs, switch to blue painter’s tape or find another doorway.

6. Attach rubber bands to top of doorway using the 1 inch piece of tape. (figure6)

games with string7. Apply the 2 inch strip of tape (over the 1 inch strip). Next apply the 3 inch strip, and lastly the 4 inch strip.

(Note: an alternate method of securing rubber bands is to screw in a small hook, then attach rubber bands to that.)

8. Let the string hang to the floor, then allow twelve inches of surplus. Cut the string.

(The total length of the string–like a capital “L”– should reach straight down to the floor, plus twelve inches.)

9. Tape a nickel to the end of the string.

How to Fling the Nickel:

The nickel is flung from a seated position. Where to sit: Pull the string on an angle away from the doorway until the nickle is approximately twelve inches or so off the floor. Sit there. Now pull the nickel towards you and release. The nickel will fly through the doorway.

Games to Play:

1. Each player flings the nickel ten times at a large cardboard box (sitting on the floor through the doorway). The player who makes it into the box the most times wins.

2. Create an imaginary line directly at the bottom of the doorway. Player one flings the nickel with the goal of making it return past the imaginary line. Player one continues flinging the nickel until it misfires and does not return past the imaginary line. Player one’s score is the number of successful launches. Each player repeats the procedure. The player with the highest score wins.

3. Use a small magnet instead of a nickel. Set up canned goods with points assigned to each. Fling the magnet five times, then add your score. Each player does the same thing. The player with the most points wins.

The following games require a “tennis net” in your doorway. The easiest way to do this is simply to tape a piece of string directly across the doorway.

4. Player one flings the nickel over the tennis net, and repeats the procedure until the nickel does not make it over the net. (Adjust the height of the net to accommodate skill level.) Player one’s score is the number of successful launches. Each player repeats the procedure. The player with the highest score wins.

5. Simulate a high jump event: set the height of the bar (the “tennis net”) in an easy position, approximately two or three feet high. Each player has three tries to fling the nickel over the bar. If each player is successful, raise the bar by five or six inches. Now each player has three more attempts. Keep adjusting the bar higher until only one player is able able to make it over the top. That player is the winner. Keep track of “the record” for future play.

(Note: Each time you’re finished playing, take down the fling device so the tape doesn’t become too sticky on the paint or stain.)

Games with string offer unique around the house activities you can play anytime. The games, which use everyday household materials, are a great alternative to electronic gadgets. With electronic games, all the outcomes and possibilities have already been established. There’s nothing creative left for the user to do; no new variations, materials, rules or results can be invented. String games, on the other hand, offer countless, open-ended possibilities. The objects are real, so you can trade them in and out based on your own ideas. And, of course, you can expand, replace, tweak or invent game rules. Best of all, you built the thing, so you know how it works!

Have fun!

Tags: Kids’ Activities

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 jp // Dec 14, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    what’s your record in game 2, i just got 86 in a row!!!!!!

  • 2 Spaghetti Box Kids // Dec 15, 2011 at 1:50 am

    jp- I don’t think I’ve ever come anywhere near that many in a row. I think that’s the web-site record. Congratulations! -AV

  • 3 Sam // Dec 15, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Great wholesome activity. Nice job distinguishing these real world games from the ether wold of video games. It’s true, with electronic games somebody else did all the work, and so–as you said: ‘There’s nothing creative left for the user to do.’

  • 4 Spaghetti Box Kids // Dec 16, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Sam, Good point about video games: somebody else did all the work. All that’s left is passive stimulation.

  • 5 Ashley // Dec 17, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    There’s a well written article that discusses the immediate gratification provided by electronic devices…and kids’ diminishing ability to cope with frustration:

  • 6 Spaghetti Box Kids // Dec 19, 2011 at 2:24 am

    Ashley- Thanks for sharing that article. It’s very informative and very well written, as you point out. I think I’ll put the link in the right sidebar of this site. Thanks again!

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