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  • Rev. Lorrie-Daly-Price

Giant Pick-Up Sticks and a Water Balloon Piñata

How cool is that? Your parents might remember this old-fashioned game? The one where you try to pick up your colour sticks without moving the others? Supplies: 24-36 Bamboo yard stakes. – you want the number of stakes to be divisible by the number of colours you want to have, plus 1 black stick. So if you had 4 colours with 8 sticks per colour…32. Plus the black stick…33 stakes. – wooden dowels also work, as do any variety of stakes. Be very sure that you don’t choose any variety with a pointy end…that would be quite dangerous to play! Spray Paint in the colour choices you wish. And a black. – You could chose to go with the traditional red, yellow, blue, and green. But, the options are open! Be sure to grab a black for your black stick! Clear Spray Paint -A coat of clear spray over your stakes will help the paint last much, much longer.


1. Paint the stakes your chosen different colours, seal with clear primer. How you choose to get paint on those stakes is up to you. You might consider pushing them in the ground and spraying them.

2. Then when they dry, flip them over and repeat. However, I would recommend not spray painting multiple colours on a windy day unless you want to look a bit like a Rembrandt painting. Okay, a LOT like a Rembrandt painting!

How to Play:

- Player one begins the game by holding all of the sticks in their hand and then dropping them to the ground, scattering them across the grass or driveway.

- The player then proceeds to pick up the sticks, one by one, without moving any sticks other than the stick they are attempting to pick up. If any of the other sticks are moved, the players turn ends, and play continues to the left.

- The next player may choose to pick up a stick from the scattered sticks or scoop up all of the sticks and drop them again prior to attempting to pick them up.

- Players continue picking up sticks until their turn ends, and if a player picks up all the sticks, they retoss them and continue the process until their turn ends. Make sure to keep track of your score before tossing the sticks.

According to the Pick Up Sticks rules, if a player successfully picks up the black stick, known as the “Master Stick,” the player may use the “Master Stick” to move the sticks around in the playing area, separating sticks that are close together and isolating sticks so they are easier to pick up. No other stick can be used in this way.

The game ends when a player reaches the agreed upon end-score. Starting at 500 to 1000 points is standard.

Pick Up Sticks Scoring Rules: After each players turn, calculate the score before proceeding. The sticks have the following values:

  • Black = 25 points

  • Red = 10 points

  • Blue = 5 points

  • Green = 2 points

  • Yellow = 1 point

Water Balloon Piñata

The only prep is to fill and hang balloons. Then break them! Set a timer to see who can break the most balloons the fastest or do it one-at-a-time, blindfolded. Make your own rules, and play over and over again.

What a great combination of two backyard favourites, and a great way to cool off.

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