Snakes in a Box

Snakes in a Box

Not everyone likes to play with creatures that slither, so here’s a way to play with virtual snakes - it’s a mind puzzle without the danger of getting bitten. Get a box of matches and nine coins and you’re ready to go.

Guide lines
Ready, Steady, Go!

Have your coins and matches ready on a flat table surface, then call someone over.


Do you like playing with snakes? They don’t bite.

Lend me your ears

Place the coins in grids of three like in the photo. Use as many matches as you like to make a big box around the coins.


So each of these nine coins are snakes, but don’t worry, we’ve fenced them into a box with these matches.

Get the person to help set up with you.


Here’s the tricky part… we want to keep each of these snakes away from each other, to stop them from fighting… but you can only make use of two more boxes inside the main box to separate them from each other… can you do it?

Seal the Deal and Reveal

They’ll try out a few options, which probably won’t solve the puzzle.


You can have as many goes as you like, but those snakes aren’t happy all together like that…

Using some matches, reveal the two new boxes as per photo.

Some extra lines you can try

  • Sometimes you need to look at the answer from a different angle.
  • That’s what I call thinking outside the box… of snakes.
  • Forget snakes on a plane, this is snakes in a box.
Alternative ending

If you’re on a budget and don’t have coins or matches, draw the same snake grid setup on a piece of paper. It takes a bit longer to redraw the grid after each try, so draw a few grids to save time.

Anticipated responses and retorts

Do the snakes like to be boxed in?

I am not sure, they are not talking snakes.

Do snakes think outside of the box?

I am not sure again, they don’t speak English.

Is this what is meant by “boxing clever”?

Smart snakes we are.
Good follow ups
When & where
When to use it
  • When you want to get people thinking outside of the box.
  • When you want to interact with people in a social setting.
  • When you need to get people involved.
Where to use it
  • the canteen
  • informal gatherings
  • team building events
  • mentoring
  • socializing at the bar
Getting ready
Items required
  • A box of matches and 9 coins
  • Place the 9 coins on a flat surface to form a grid (like in the photo) and then put a box around the coins by using the matches.
Training required
  • Do this once and you will be a snake charmer.
Watch out (potential unexpected effects)
  • You may be called a snake in the grass.

type type

Do It Yourself (DIY)

material material

9 coins and a box of matches

size size

the coins and matchbox should fit in your pants pocket

durability durability

if you don’t feed the parking meter the coins should last

source source

the ether

time to impact time to impact

pretty much there and then

size of audience size of audience

one-on-one or a small group

possible health risk possible health risk

don’t get bitten by a virtual snake

reusable how many times you can use it

probably just once

training needed training needed

do it once and you will never forget how

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