Cat’s Cradle


Recently, I have developed a sense of nostalgia and fascination surrounding a game I played at school when I was younger. Although it is a rudimentary game, Cat’s Cradle and its simple nature somehow stuck with me throughout my life. My tendency to fiddle with things such as hair bands or headphones seems to have started earlier than I know. But I wonder how this simple game came to be and how long it has survived.

The first known mention of the Cat’s Cradle is in “The Light of Nature Pursued” by Abraham Tucker in 1786. This book references Cats Cradles as a thing already in existence so it is clear that this is not where the title of the game originated but rather just the first known instance of it within recorded history. Different cultures called them different things, such as in the US, the game is referred to as Jack in the Pulpit. It really is simple. A small piece of string made into patterns occasionally passed from player to player. Looking around there are many different patterns with many different iterations and names.

The games we play, even the most simple of them, have passed through many different hands. New games or ways to play come about all the time, without many people even noticing. 


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