Magic Bamboo

The Magic Bamboo game is simple in theory, but an intense challenge in practice. Can you bring the floating bamboo down to earth?

Age Range
Number of Participants
5-10 minutes

Quick overview

Simple in theory, an intense challenge in practice, can you bring the floating bamboo down to earth?

Game type



6-10 per team

Supplies you’ll need

A bamboo stick.

Game run-through

Explain to the young people that in this challenge they will have to bring the bamboo stick to the ground from mid-air, purely by having it balance atop their index fingers. They must do this without it falling off their fingers loosing contact with the bamboo stick.

The major twist is that because everyone’s fingers are slightly pushing upward to keep contact with the stick, it will appear as though the stick has a mind of its own and if people try to lower it too quickly they will cause the other end the fly even higher into the air.

To prepare the group, split them into teams or if there are too few for that just do it all together. Have each team’s participants make two equal lines that are shoulder to shoulder with each other. Next, have them turn to face towards each other and then have them put both hands out in front of them, pointing with their index fingers, towards the opposite line.

Once done, place the bamboo, resting it on their outstretched fingers. This is the only way they are allowed to touch the stick; any other way and its best to have them restart. You need to hold it down until they begin because it will rise up very easily as their fingers underneath will together push the bamboo up.

Important rules to note are:

  1. they can’t wrap their fingers around the stick.
  2. They can’t touch the stick with any other body but their index finger.
  3. They can’t put their fingers on top of the stick.

Young people are quite likely to try some or all of these when they can’t at first succeed, so it’s important as leader to keep an eye out for these tricks as their sense of achievement and teambuilding will be much less if they win only by cheating.

The winning team is the one that brings the stick to the ground the fastest.

Groups may have to restart several times before they are even able to keep the stick from moving up, so vocal encouragement from the leader is important as it helps to keep motivated any young people who would be more likely to give up.