‘Pooh sticks’ is the game that Winnie the Pooh invented in AA Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner. As is fitting for our beloved Pooh, it’s a simple game with very few rules, best played with friends.
The real beauty of pooh sticks is finding a suitable place to play it. You need a bridge over running water (preferably not nearly as ‘running’ as the water in these photos – the boys were really kept on their toes!). The great things is that a bridge over running water is invariably set somewhere that feels like a beautiful escape from the world. Be sure to leave plenty of time to explore after playing.
How to play
Find each player a stick, any old stick will do but the bigger the stick, the easier it will be to see it in the water below.
Line up along a bridge on the upstream side of the water (make sure it is not a busy bridge; a bridge over a creek in a playground is ideal, but you will know the right bridge when you see it).
Find another stick and have another go.
- If you can’t find a bridge, no matter. You can play pooh sticks from the bank, racing your sticks to a set point like a branch or rock.
- You can play pooh sticks in the gutter after a downpour.
- Attach a leaf sail to your stick to have a sailing race. Does the leaf help your stick move faster?
- Make a lot of sticks into a raft and float favourite toys along the gutter (but not down the river!)
- Decorate your stick with found materials or try some basic carving.
- If your creek or gutter is not too deep, try making an obstacle course for your stick by heaping stones to form a path.
- While you’re down at the river or creek, don’t forget to skip some stones to count the skips or just throw stones in and count the ripples.
- You could also have some fun building a dam out of natural materials. Don’t forget to collapse the dam after you’ve had your fun.
- We absolutely loved heading out to the creek in the wet, just be careful of leeches. Take the salt!
When did you last visit your local creek or river? Do you have one?