All you need to play Pooh Sticks is a stream, a bridge and a couple of twigs. It’s a brilliantly daft game that’s great fun for kids and overly-competitive adults (I know this one because I am one).
Invented by a cartoon bear and as much fun now as it was when A.A. Milne first wrote about it in the 1920s, Pooh Sticks is an awesome and extremely simple game to play with your family. It basically involves finding a bridge over some flowing water, chucking a stick off one side of the bridge, then running to the other side to see whose stick comes out first.
I’ve loved this game since I first saw it in the Winnie-the-Pooh cartoons when I was a kid. We used to play it in the woods near our house when I was growing up, and even now when I’m out walking the dog by myself I often chuck a stick off a bridge then watch it idly float out of the other side. Maybe it’s because it’s so beautifully simple and connected to nature, or maybe it’s because I’m slightly simple and easy to please, and maybe it just doesn’t matter. All I know is I’m glad that big yellow bear invented it!
Yesterday we introduced our 22-month-old boy Sonny to Pooh Sticks for the first time and surprise, surprise – he absolutely loved it. I’m not totally sure he understood why the sticks were flowing down the little stream near our house, then out the other side of the bridge we were standing on, but he squealed with excitement every time his little twig hit the water, then giggled like a madman when he rushed to the other side and watched it reappear.
And I’m not sure if this makes me sound like a bad parent, but the fact Sonny cried when we eventually decided to head back home proved how much he loved it!
If you want to play Pooh Sticks yourself, here are some great tips from the National Trust’s ’50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ campaign on how to create the perfect game.
What you need:
- Two or more players, each armed with a stick of their choosing
- A bridge over moving water
What to do:
- Stand on the bridge over moving water
- Check which way the water is flowing so you throw your sticks on the right side and they get carried underneath the bridge with the current
- On the count of three, everyone must throw their pooh stick into the water below
- The stick that floats underneath the bridge fastest wins!
Top Pooh Sticks tip:
Try to get a place on the bridge above the fastest flowing water. This way you’ll have an advantage over the other players.