Cup and String Challenge

Summary: This game is played in small teams and is good for encouraging players to work together as a team. Variations can be used to examine the role of leaders.


  • String
  • Rubber Bands
  • Cups


  1. Before playing, make the “rubber band tools” for each team — each team should be made of four players. Make the rubber band tolls by tying four pieces of string to a rubber band. Each player should be able to hold a string and partial control the opening and closing of the rubber band (see photo).
  2. It’s usually easiest to explain the game by demonstration. Lay out six cups on the floor. Have a volunteer team of four take the four strings of the rubber band tool. The team should try to stack the cups into a tower using only the rubber band tool.
  3. After the demonstration, make teams of four and distribute supplies. Whichever team builds a tower first wins!


  • Designate one leader per team. All other team members must close their eyes. The leader should guide their team members to create the tower.
  • As an added challenge, have teams make a tower without talking to each other.

Debrief Questions: 

  • Was this a hard game? What was hard about it?
  • Did you and your teammates come up with a strategy? What was it?
  • How do you be a good teammate in this game?

Activity Length: Long (>30 minutes)

Energy Level: Medium

Grade Level: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th & Up

Group Size: Large (10+), Medium (5-9), Small (2-4)