Can Even “Cut the Rope” be Used for Promoting Language Skills?


This post is a follow up post on a very popular write up I did a few months back called ” Can even Angry Birds be used to promote language skills?“. If you are curious about the answer I would say about the popular game Angry birds and its relation to language skills, you can access the link and read it. For now, the task at hand is to introduce some of you to a new game I have caught myself playing many times throughout the week called “Cut the Rope”.

If you are not yet familiar with the game, cut the rope reminds me very much of Angry birds, as they are both apps that have a specific goal and a user can have many different strategies to reach the same goal. In Angry Birds, the goal is to remove all “pigs” from the scene with the least amount of birds; the goal on Cut the Rope is to use elements of physics to move a candy ball to a green monster’s mouth. Do not worry, this is a cute monster. Here is a video that shows what cut the rope is all about.

I am a big fan of utilizing fun, engaging activities to target any skills, of course as a speech therapist, I like it even more to use them to promote language skills. The best is that as kids are playing games, they won’t even necessarily need to know they are educational in any way. Cut the rope currently offers nine levels, each with 25 different activities that increase in complexity as you go. Since each new level, ads new tools you have new language, vocabulary and skills you can target with each new level. You can do all that by planning your sessions, envisioning all the great possibilities for learning, and just by being an professional who knows how to promote language learning.

As I played with the game I tried to identify potential goals and activities that can be implemented with cut the rope. Some are similar to what I have discussed on my post about Angry Birds, others are new and directly related to the items on the game.

Possible Activities/ Goals

1. Goal: use vocabulary to clearly describe  ideas, feelings, and experiences.

The vocabulary found on cut the rope increases with the levels. Here are some of the vocabulary that I was able to collect as I went through the different levels:

Verbs: cut, pull, drag, shoot, eat, release, move, point, wait, circling,

Nouns: candy, monster, rope, stars,length, level, strategy, air, circle, wheel, plunger.

Adjective: Long, short, hungry,  wrapped

The list of vocabulary is just a sample of possible words that can clearly be found on each level. You will be using the words often throughout reveal scenes, as your students also would as they play each level.

As for the activities… oh, this is my favorite part! You could have students describe each scene before completing them. Here is an example of all the language that could be used by your student to describe one of the scenes and steps to complete it:

 As the candy is moving up the screen wrapped in a bubble and it passes through the wheels I can tap on the wheel to shoot the plunger. When the plunger attaches to the candy and it can pop the bubble and let it fall to catch the stars on the way to the monster’s mouth.

Here the student was able to use vocabulary to clearly describe the level and you, a successful SLP!

2. Goal: Give, restate, and follow simple two-step directions.

There are several ways to work on this goal. The therapist can give students steps to complete the levels and the student has to follow the directions given orally to complete the level. It would be fun if sometimes you give wrong directions to double check that the student is really following your directions, not the intuitive  way to complete the level. If you have a group of students they can take turns giving each other one or two step directions, so while one student is working on following directions the other is working on giving directions.

3. Goal: Tell experiences in a logical order (chronological order, order of importance, spatial order).

This is one of the best app styles to work on telling experiences in a logical order as it offers several ways to reach the same end, and students can even talk about the different strategies they used to reach the same goal.

These are just three possible goals (also state standards) that can be targeted with Cut the Rope. I hope you enjoyed!

(This post originally appeared on GeekSLP)


Barbara Fernandes is a trilingual Speech- Language pathologist, a geek  and an app developer. She is the founder and CEO of Smarty Ears Apps , a company that creates apps for speech therapy. Barbara is also the face behind GeekSLP TV, a blog and video podcast focusing on the use of technology in speech therapy. Barbara has also been a practicing speech therapist both in Brazil and in the United States. Barbara has created over 21 applications for the mobile devices for speech therapists.


  1. says

    At a more fundamental level, Barbara’s post raises the issue of how we can measure the answer to questions such as “Can X be used to promote language?” A good clinician is likely to be able to turn any “X” into a way of promoting language, whether that’s an app, a book, a situation, a piece of cake… anything. I dare say I could use “God of War” as a tool for reinforcing therapy with clients but the two underlying questions should be (a) how do I measure “improvement?” and (b) how does this intervention work better, or worse, than any other? For example, there are claims being made for the value of “Equine,” “Canine” and “Dolphin” therapies that suggest bringing Fido to the clinic improves a client’s articulation skills, but (a) how does we measure the improvement, and (b) would “Angry Birds/cake/just playing” be any better/different?

    SLPs are some of the most creative folks on the planet and can turn any situation into a language session but teasing apart the variables that make such therapy successful is always a challenge. Barbara’s method of (a) identifying vocabulary and (b) having the child verbally explain a process has measurement variables (the vocabulary) and an outcome (presumably spontaneous use of the target words) is basically a mini-experiment for the hypothesis “My therapy using ‘Cut the Rope’ will measurably improve my client’s use of the word A,B, and C within a time period of X days/weeks/months.”

    The general takeaway, I suggest, from this article is that provided you establish a set of behavioral or linguistic targets prior to using some piece of software, you can demonstrate real change so long as you stick to those mini-measures of performance.

    I’m not sure exactly what vocabulary I’d be targeting with “God of War” but “blood,” “violence” and “profanity” are probably in there!