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Heard of the 'Pick Up the Sticks' Game? Here's How You Play It

How to Play the Pick Up Sticks Game
Many of us know of a childhood nursery rhyme, "... five, six, pick up the sticks!" Like the rhyme itself, there exists a game with the same name called "Pick Up Sticks" that is simple and fun to play with friends and family. Plentifun outlines the rules of the game for you.
Rucha Phatak
Last Updated: Sep 25, 2017
Game History
A very popular game, Pick Up Sticks is thought to have originated in China. In the early 18th century, the sticks used in the game were made of either ivory or bone.
For many years, games like Pick Up Sticks have entertained children as well as adults. This game surely makes everyone take active part in the race towards collecting all the sticks.

With the festive season around the corner, this game will be an amusing option to entertain your family members. Children and older people can participate in the game too. The best part is that you can play the game in the comfort of your house. A little healthy competition will strengthen your family bond for sure. Now all that remains is to get acquainted with rules of the game, which we have explained below.
How to Play "Pick Up Sticks"
Setup for the Game
Pick Up Game Sticks
➥ Choose a smooth and flat surface like a tabletop for the game.
➥ Remove everything on it so that the game area is clear.
➥ Get different-colored game sticks from any play store. You will need approximately 1 black stick, 7 red sticks, 7 blue sticks, 8 green sticks, and 7 yellow sticks.
➥ Hold them together vertically in your hand.
➥ Gently drop them on the flat surface that you have arranged for.
➥ The colored sticks will be mixed but don't go on to rearrange them. Just let them be so.
➥ Choose the first player to start the game. You can roll a dice to decide the first player.
Instructions for Playing Pick Up Sticks Game
Choosing Pick Up Game Stick
➥ Pick up one stick from the heap.
➥ Be careful not to move any other stick as you pick one up.
➥ After picking up one stick, you can go ahead and pick up another stick.
➥ If you disturb the other sticks while picking up one, then the next player gets his/her turn to play, while you lose your turn.
➥ The game continues till all the sticks have been collected.
➥ After collecting all the sticks, count the points. The player with the maximum points, wins.
Pick Up Sticks Game Scoring
➥ Points are allotted to the sticks that should be counted after the game.
➥ You can calculate the points with the help of the following chart-
  • Black stick = 25 points
  • Red stick = 10 points
  • Blue stick = 5 points
  • Green stick = 2 points
  • Yellow stick = 1 point

➥ All players can refer to this chart and count their points to decide the winner.
Game Variations
The game can be played with variations in the rules. Decide among all the players which of these rules are comfortable to follow and then begin the game.

➥ You can use 25-30 sticks while playing the game. Add more sticks if you want to make the game trickier.
➥ You can play the game in teams as well. For example, make a team of two people and add the points earned by each to the group score.
➥ After successfully collecting the black stick, you can use it as a support to pick up other sticks. For example, you are permitted to use the black stick to separate the sticks laying together or move a stick resting on another. However, keep in mind not to use any other stick for this purpose.
➥ If you pick the sticks in an order of red, blue, and green, your points will be doubled up.
➥ In some versions of the game, a hooked stick is included. It aids you while picking up a stick. However, the game can be played with hands as well.
Make Your Own Set of Sticks
➥ You can make your own sticks at home. All you need is a bunch of wooden skewers. Clip off the sharp ends of the skewers, and rub them smooth with a sandpaper. You will need to paint 1 stick black, 7 sticks red, 7 sticks blue, 8 sticks green, and 7 sticks in yellow color. Let the paint dry completely before using the sticks.
➥ You can use chopsticks too instead of wooden skewers. Toothpicks can be used as mini game sticks as well. Remember to paint all the sticks according to the game requirement.
Who thought that a few simple sticks can become a source of merriment! However, the most important aspect of the game is spending quality time with your loved ones!