Play Telephone With Dixie Cups!

Trying to think of fun things to do with the kids as you spend more time at home together? This craft idea has been around for ages, but it's still fun for small children, affordable and it's an opportunity to inject a little science into playtime!

What you need:

  • 2 Dixie® Cups
  • Yarn or string (Make the length as long as you would like it to be.)
  • Pen or paper clip


  1. Use your pen or paper clip to poke a small hole in the bottom of each Dixie® cup (just small enough to string the yarn through it).
  2. Tie a knot in the yarn to secure it to the cup.
  3. Put the cups as far apart as the yarn will go and have one person speak into one cup while you listen through the other.
  4. Try with an even longer piece of yarn/string to see how far apart the telephone works! (Pull the yarn taut for best results)
Try experimenting with speaking through the cups when the string is taut and when it is loose to explore the differences in sound. Can you hear the person's voice better than you could when speaking normally?

The Science:
When we speak, our vocal cords cause vibrations in air particles. These air particles cause other particles to vibrate, which transfers through the air as sound waves . A guitar string, when pulled taut, creates sound through vibration. Similarly, a piece of yarn can carry sound because it is denser than air and can transfer the sound over a greater distance. Our voice causes the air in the cup to vibrate, which vibrates the string, which then vibrates the air in the other cup, allowing the sound to travel to the other person's ear!

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