Pooh Sticks


Half of the wind group went to river to have some Pooh Races (because the idea of taking 6 three year olds to a slippery bridge terrified me). As we walked, we talked what we thought the river would be like, what would happen to the sticks, and how the winter has affected the river.

J: It won’t work because the river will be frozen.

F: The sticks will swim through the water like a shark. The stick is like fins.

T: Stick will float!

As we got to the edge of the river, and discovered it was not in fact frozen, I asked which side of the bridge we should drop the sticks from.

F: That side!

Me: Why?

F: Because the water is going that way.

J: Then watch the sticks go under the bridge.


They each broke off a small stick off of a larger branch (except J, who decided to use the leftover branch). First we threw sticks form the side of the river…but they didn’t more.

T: They stuck.

J: The wind isn’t blowing them.


Next, we went to the bridge and dropped it over. Plop…it didn’t move!

F: We have to go to the other side, come hurry up!

We ran to the other side of the bridge, and waited with a palpable participation for the stick to appear from under the bridge. But, it never came. We ran back to the other side of the bridge.


F: It’s still there! That’s my stick!

T: Is moving that way.

J: It’s going slowly.

Me: I remember when we talked about waves, we said that waves are when the top of the water moves. Does it look like the top of the water is moving fast or slow to you?

All: Fast!

Me: If it is moving fast, why isn’t the stick moving fast?

J: Because currents.

Me: What about currents?

J: Currents are when wind blows the water forward.

Me: You know that a current is when wind blows the water forward. So does that help us know why the stick is moving slowly?

They all look at the stick for a minute, I repeat my question and F says, “We don’t know why. It just goes slow. It just does.”


We then went to the side of the river again, where there is a bench to view the river from. We sat and watched our stick slowly float along, also pondering why some of the river was frozen, but not other parts.

F: It’s trapped water.

J: That’s what happens to trapped water.

T: Just is.

“Sometimes if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to know.”  Winnie the Pooh

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