Pooh Sticks is an iconic childhood game, invented by Winnie the Pooh and first mentioned in The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne. It is a simple sport which may be played on any bridge over running water. Each player drops a stick on the upstream side of a bridge, and the one whose stick first appears on the downstream side is the winner.
Dr Rhys Morgan, from the Royal Academy of Engineering, has created a formula that may help increase your chances of winning the classic game of Pooh Sticks.
According to Dr Rhys Morgan the formula for the Perfect Pooh Stick (PP) is:
PP = A x I x Cd
A = Cross Sectional Area. The bigger the area the more drag. Drag is a good thing in Pooh Sticks. Think tubby.
I = Density. You want a stick heavy enough to sink just under the surface of the water, where it will be unaffected by wind and other external variables.
Cd = Drag coefficient. This is the shape of stick and roughness of its surface. Ideally you want a rough stick like bark, which creates more drag than a smooth one.
Dr Morgan says that another way to think of it is “Tubby and long, fairly heavy (but not so heavy it will sink to the bottom of the river), with quite a lot of bark to catch the flow of the river like paddles”.
Pooh Sticks may be one of the simplest games ever invented, but with the right friends, it can be the perfect way to spend an hour or two. It really is one of those childhood activities that stay with you forever, and is a delight to introduce to your own children when you become a parent. The kids and I cannot think of a better way to spend an hour outside than finding a bridge and playing a game of Pooh Sticks!