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ELT Game Corner

Welcome to my Game Corner. Here I introduce a game for you to use in your classes to help make English come alive.

September 27, 2013

Pick-Up-Sticks (Deluxe)


This traditional American & Canadian standard takes on a new image with its hand-crafted, sanded and stained wooden box and sticks.


  1. The teacher or referee (judge) holds all the Pick-Up-Sticks vertically in one hand making sure that all the sticks are touching the table. He/She then releases the sticks and lets them scatter.
  2. The first player to the left tries to pick up the sticks, one by one. The only stick that is allowed to move is the one the player is trying to pick up. If any other stick moves, that player's turn is over, and the rest of the players shout out, “You moved!”
  3. The next player to the left tries to pick up the remaining sticks. Again, if any other sticks move, that player's turn is over, and the rest of the players shout out, “You moved!
    *If there is disagreement about other sticks moving, the teacher or referee (judge) can make the final decision.
  4. If a player is successful in picking up the black stick (called the Master Stick), that player is permitted to use the Master Stick for removing other sticks. (For example, to separate two sticks which are lying close together or to flick one stick that is resting on another stick). No other stick may be used in this way.
  5. After all the sticks have been picked up, the players can add the number of sticks by sticks or according to their color and value.

Number of SticksColorPoints

Helpful English for beginners:
Lower elementary school students should say the color of the stick they want to pick up before they pick it up, for example: “BLUE”

High lever students can use phrases such as: “I’m going to pick up BLUE.”
“I’m going to try to pick up BLUE.”

Playing Pick-Up-Sticks is a good way to teach colors, future tense sentences and concentration. Since all the other players are judges as one player has a go, students are very silently focused on the action.

Elementary School to Adults

Order Pick-Up-Sticks from Little America.



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