Colorful DIY Pick Up Sticks

July 5, 2015Allison Murray
Such a simple kid's game! Loved pick up sticks when I was a kid. And now I can make the littles a set too!

Such a simple kid's game! Loved pick up sticks when I was a kid. And now I can make the littles a set too!

Don’t get me wrong, I occasionally enjoy playing a video game BUT I tend to take issue when I hear kids playing them. The constant (and often way too loud) beeps, boops and generally annoying sounds drives me nuts. It especially drives me crazy when something else could be done instead. I mean, stuck in the car? Maybe I’ll be cool with it but when at home and it’s a wonderful day with the people you love around? Put that hunk of electronic junk down, kid!

Games aren’t what they used to be. There was no credit card to play Monopoly you had to deal with piles of paper cash that would get mixed up with on another sometimes causing great frustration (and teach you a thing or two about counting money and change and all of that).

My favorite games were Hi Ho Cherry O, Clue (my sister and I slay at that game!), Chinese checkers, jacks and pick up sticks. Sometimes I’m amazed at the games my nephews have no clue about. When they were introduced to marbles last summer they both about wigged and I was constantly sitting on my calves and pushing my face and chest up on the ground to figure out my best next move. Constantly!

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Such a simple kid's game! Loved pick up sticks when I was a kid. And now I can make the littles a set too!

In an effort to help everybody unplug a bit, I’ve been working on DIY games and activities for the kiddos. A while back ago I shared with you how to make paper kites and today we’re rocking out a fun game!

For this project you will need:

  • Wood skewers
  • Several colors of dye
  • Sandpaper

Such a simple kid's game! Loved pick up sticks when I was a kid. And now I can make the littles a set too!

Here are my wood skewers. I have 50 to trim and cut for my set. They are way too long and pointy enough to be dangerous for kids…

Such a simple kid's game! Loved pick up sticks when I was a kid. And now I can make the littles a set too!To fix that simply snip the tips off to make flat instead of pointy. They still need a bit of a point so that they can be used to pick up others so just trim enough off to make them safe.

Such a simple kid's game! Loved pick up sticks when I was a kid. And now I can make the littles a set too!

First cut one to the length you prefer. Since I have packed mine up for the move, I’m not sure exactly what length I made mine but it I’m going to guess around 7 to 8 inches. Use that first one as a guide to help you quickly measure out and trim the rest of your skewers.

Such a simple kid's game! Loved pick up sticks when I was a kid. And now I can make the littles a set too!

Bundle the sticks together and double check none are tons longer than the others. If you do find a few, trim them up. Bundle the sticks together and carefully the “fat” side of the sticks.

IF you don’t feel like doing this whole bit, you can also purchase 8 inch wood skewers from Amazon and skip trimming them to size altogether!

Such a simple kid's game! Loved pick up sticks when I was a kid. And now I can make the littles a set too!

Now to dye these fun sticks in fun colors. Take your dye, powdered, or liquid and mix it up with a high ration of dye to water and just a tiny bit all together.

Such a simple kid's game! Loved pick up sticks when I was a kid. And now I can make the littles a set too!

Pour the dye and sticks (I did 10 eacg in 5 different colors) into something where the sticks can be entirely covered by the dye. I’m using a plastic shoe box I get for like a buck in the storage tubs aisle.

Such a simple kid's game! Loved pick up sticks when I was a kid. And now I can make the littles a set too!

Allow to sit for a good while. My sticks are bamboo and they took a while to take the dye but eventually they did. Just keep an eye out and remove once the color is nice and bright. Mine took about 20 minutes per color. Set out to completely dry.

Such a simple kid's game! Loved pick up sticks when I was a kid. And now I can make the littles a set too!

To play hold the sticks bunched together and drop from a few inches off of a tabletop or the floor. The sticks will scatter. The closer to the playing surface the less they will scatter for a more difficult game and up higher will make them spread out more for an easier game.

Such a simple kid's game! Loved pick up sticks when I was a kid. And now I can make the littles a set too!

Each player gets a turn to try and pick up a stick without moving any other sticks. If another stick moves the player’s turn is over. If the stick is successfully removed the player continues taking turns until they don’t successfully remove a stick in this way. Players can pull sticks out of their pile to use to assist in picking up sticks if they choose. The player with the most sticks in the end wins! And if you’re wondering, cats make terrible opponents. They just bat everything around like crazy! :)

But that’s all there is to that. Simple and inexpensive to make since you can get the skewers for about a buck at big stores and you can use liquid or powdered dye from your crafty stash OR use leftover tie dye to keep it from going to waste.

Unplug, dye you some sticks and show those littles a thing or two about fun!

Such a simple kid's game! Loved pick up sticks when I was a kid. And now I can make the littles a set too!

 

Written by Allison Murray - Visit Website

Comments (2)

  • Mike

    July 5, 2015 at 12:52 PM

    You too Allison?! I am so with you on this! When I look at kids today, I sometimes feel like an old man, because all I ever see them do is play video games on what is now, iPods/iPhones, not even the ever popular Game Boys that were popular back in the 90s. But yeah, it’s like I want to say to these kids, “you know, when I was your age, we actually played REAL games and actually went outside on a beautiful sunny day.” Oh my gosh, now I really do feel like an old man! But like you, don’t get me wrong. While I enjoyed playing Super Mario Bros. or Sonic the Hedgehog occasionally on our Nintendo and Sega Genesis respectively, sometimes the flashing lights and loud sounds drive me stark ravin’ mad! My brother still likes those today and is the main beef that we sometimes have with each other as he likes the loud noises. Me, not so much. And that music that they play in those games…. It’s not even real music! I can’t stand it.

    But hey! I used to LOVE Pick Up Sticks! I remember playing it with my grandma when I was little. Seeing this reminds me of how much I miss her but I can maintain lots of happy memories that I had with her. :) Some of my favorite games were Pick Up Sticks, Candy Land, Mouse Trap (loved that one especially), Old Maid and a whole lot of other games that my bro and I would make up to keep ourselves entertained on a rainy day. It helps to have a little imagination. :)
    And I always wanted to learn how to play Monopoly but I never did. It certainly taught you the real value of a dollar, that game. I bought a game set this past Christmas (the real one, not the gimmicky ones that they have now) but haven’t had much time to try it out. And don’t forget Checkers! I used to love to play Checkers! Chess, a game that I’m obsessed with now, didn’t come until I got older.
    And YES! Chinese Checkers! Played that one too! Very cool that you and your sister enjoyed some of the games that I did when I was little too Allison. :) But I know what you mean. Like your nephews, I bet that there are a lot of kids today that have no idea what some of these games are. Those were the days, I tell you…

    But how about this? A game that doesn’t even require any kind of equipment or set up; just pencil and paper; Tic-Tac-Toe. Now there’s a game that you don’t see kids playing too often, if at all. My bro and I used to play that in the car when we were little (we didn’t have fancy hand held electronic games kids have today). Just give us some paper and a pen or pencil and we were occupied for hours!

    And great craft idea! Making your own Pick Up Sticks game is genius! I never would have thought to use wood skewers! Thanks for posting! Stay awesome! :)

  • Mike

    July 5, 2015 at 8:45 PM

    One more thing Allison. In the game Pick Up Sticks, didn’t each color of the sticks represent a certain amount of points? In the version that I played with my grandma, there was one black stick, and that one was worth the most points (I forget how many), followed by red, blue, green and so forth. Did your version follow these rules as well?

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