Play Pick up Sticks


A game of physical and mental skill, pick up sticks is a fun reminder of childhood.  It’s simple rules are easy to remember (or to repeat as many times as necessary) during game play.  For those of you who might be a little rusty, the game is played as follows.

1. Bundle up all the sticks and release them onto the playing surface, resulting in a tangled pile.

2.  The first player attempts to remove a stick from the pile without moving any of the other sticks (in some versions the player uses their hands, in others they are allowed to use already picked-up sticks to help). 

3.  The first player’s  continues to pick up sticks until he causes a secondary stick to move.

4.  The second player’s turn begins.  Some versions of the game allow this player to choose between re-bundling and dropping the sticks, causing a new pile, or playing the existing pile.  Others state the player simply continues with the existing pile.

5.  Play continues, with each player taking turns, until all the sticks are picked up.

6.  Winning.  Some versions of the game assign point values to different colored sticks.  The person with the highest point value wins.  Other versions simply states whoever picked up the most sticks wins.


For those in the more moderate stages of the disease, simplifying game play by reducing the number of sticks, or having players only attempt to move one stick per turn may be easier. It may also be wise to determine  the “winner” by number of sticks rather than point values, which may be harder for the person to remember and therefore strategize correctly.  Lastly, using fatter pick up sticks (yes, they exist) or even pencils may be easier to grasp than the more traditional version.

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