Turning Heads

Turning Heads

The best puzzles aren’t complicated, revealing their simple twist to solve the equation. Try this out with some matches to create what may or may not look like a cow.

Guide lines
Ready, Steady, Go!

Call someone over. Arrange your matches to look like a cow as per the photo. Some people may think it looks like a dog or a reindeer. You decide what to call it.

Lend me your ears


The cow has a head, horns, body, legs and a tail. It’s looking to the left. Now … can you move only two matches so that the whole cow is looking to the right?

Give them time to try out options.

Seal the Deal and Reveal

Point out the body parts again, like they’ve missed something. Then simply move the two face matches from pointing left to pointing right, as per the photo.


You need to think 3D, not 2D …

Some extra lines you can try

  • Solved… in two simple moooves.
  • The solution to this always turns heads.
  • Hang on, is that a cow or a dog?
Alternative ending

Try the same puzzle out with as many different animals as you can get away with. How many animals can you pass this design off as?

Or if you want to get elaborate, place the cow design between two pieces of glass and rotate it around to face the other way.


There, I did it in only one move.

Anticipated responses and retorts

What do cows drink?

You almost got me there… water.

Is this what is meant by match making a cow?

I can see I have met my match once again.

What else can you do that is moooving with matches?

Check out the Coolfidence site – there are lots of cool matchstick ideas to try out.
Good follow ups
When & where
When to use it
  • When you want to mooove people.
  • When you want to make people smile.
  • When you want to have some good ‘ol cow fun.
Where to use it
  • The breakfast table
  • The office canteen
  • Team building events
  • Mentoring
  • Socializing at the pub
Getting ready
Items required
  • A box of matches and a flat surface
  • Lay your matches on the table and create your cow, looking left.
Training required
  • Practice keeping a straight face.
Watch out (potential unexpected effects)
  • Just have fun.

type type

Do It Yourself (DIY)

material material

some matches and a table

size size

matches fit in your pocket

durability durability

don’t go burning any sacred cows and this will last a while

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

you could get a few curious looks

reusable how many times you can use it

just once

training needed training needed

piece of cake

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