Photo: Sarah Mowry.

Pooh Sticks and Heffalumps

Sep 14, 2023 by Karen Parker
Get inspired to get your kids outside this fall by channeling your inner Winnie the Pooh and his crew!

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**Note: this blog is best read after or in conjunction with reading Winnie the Pooh! How else will you know Pooh, Roo, and Tigger too?! **

Worried about keeping the kids interested in the outdoors this fall? Try inspiring them with activities from children's books. Years ago, I was inspired to put together a family nature walk based on the many adventures of Winnie the Pooh. I had stumbled upon a book written by Christopher Milne himself, son of A.A. Milne and inspiration for the Pooh tales. He talked about the 'real' hundred acre woods that he played in as a boy and his favorite toy, Pooh. About the same time the new and first authorized sequel to A.A. Milne's classic tales of Winnie the Pooh had just been released. Return to the Hundred Acre Wood is full of new adventures and characters as well as the classic characters inventing new games and finding new mischief.

Play Falling Leaves with your kids next time you are outdoors. Photo: Sarah Mowry.
Play Falling Leaves with your kids next time you are outdoors. Photo: Sarah Mowry.
I began thumbing through all the Pooh stories and picking out a few of the many activities they enjoyed. One such activity is Pooh Sticks, a game that Pooh invented. The Land Trust's Metolius Preserve is a great place for this because there are several bridges over Lake Creek. To play Pooh Sticks, simply drop a stick from the bridge into the water on the upstream side and go downstream to see if it appears. Simple, but loved by children the world over! You could even tie in some science by trying different types of sticks and timing them, or try racing your sticks.

When your kids tire of Pooh Sticks, you could move onto something a little more active. Baby Roo would practice his jumps in a sandy part of the forest and every Tuesday would teach Pooh how to jump. Have your kids find a good place to practice their jumps.

Another fun activity is to Find a Very Deep Pit and look for a Heffalump. This will take a little preparation on your part, but it is fun for young children. Look for an area that has a bit of a depression or a real (small!) pit and have the kids build a Heffalump trap by finding and placing sticks over the pit. Tell them you will check back later to see if you caught one. Then, head to another activity while another adult or yourself hide a stuffed animal or something in the pit. Kids love discovering the Heffalump they trapped!

Lastly, an activity invented by Tigger and Roo from the book is called Falling Leaves. You throw a handful of leaves in the air and have to get out of the way before they hit the ground. If one lands on you, you do a forfeit (something silly like stand on your head or sing twinkle, twinkle little star)!

There are many more ideas in the book, and you could even incorporate some of the fun songs that Pooh and the gang sing. It is a fun way to tie in reading and nature play and get your kids outside. It could even get your kids inspired to read more. Enjoy!


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