Jack Straws or Pick-Up Sticks
The Revere children had no trouble finding straw to play this game. Even though the Reveres lived in a crowded city neighborhood, they had a barn behind their house in which they kept chickens and a cow. (As a silversmith, Revere could not afford a horse! Whenever he worked as a messenger he borrowed or rented one.) The barn undoubtedly had straw for the animals' bedding. Although you may have played this game with wooden sticks, you will find it much more difficult to play with straw. Straw is often frayed and irregular. It is much trickier to extricate a straw from the pile than it is to remove a smooth stick.
How to Play
Choose someone to begin. He holds the straws about five inches above the surface on which the group will play, then drops them. The player to his left tries to pick up as many straws as he can without moving any of the others. When he moves another straw, he must leave the one he was trying to remove and his turn is over. The person to the left goes next.
Play continues until all of the straws have been removed. The player with the most straws wins.