Cup and Ball

Cup and Ball

Try to get the ball in the cup: harder than it looks! A wonderful toy that can be easily made and adapted for any age.

Please download the pdfs for the latest version of the instructions.


Making the toy

1) Make a small cup, maybe cut from a plastic bottle or a woven basket.

Cutting a plastic bottle to make a cup


2) Cut a thread no longer than half the person's height.

Tie it to the cup.

Tie the string to the cup


3) Find a small ‘ball’. Anything will do, an unripe fruit or piece of wood is good. Make a hole if necessary.

Tie it to the end of the string.

Connect the ball to the cup with string


Playing with the toy

Swing the ‘ball’ and try to catch it in the cup.


Problem solving

Stiffness in the string pushes on the ball and makes it hard to meet the cup.

Ball wont move to the cup--string is too stiff.

Ball wont stay in the cup--- keep trying!


Developing this toy

Try longer and shorter string.

Have a smaller cup or bigger ball.

Have a shallower cup.

Try catching the ball on the bottom of the cup.

Use non round ‘balls’

Shut one eye.


Why it works

The ball is moving when you swing, it will jump out of the cup if the ball is still moving relative to the cup.

Age range: 
10 and up