In 1926, author A.A. Milne created the childhood favorite Winnie-the-Pooh and the supporting cast of characters housed in the 100 Acre Wood. Due to the enduring love children and adults have for Pooh, the author's January 18th birthday has become 'National Pooh Day.'
The precise origins of Pooh Day are unknown, but it is only observed in the United States. However, since Disney, a US based company, has owned the rights to Winnie-the-Pooh since 1961, there are likely commercial ties to the holiday.
According to Forbes Magazine, Pooh is more popular than any other Disney character. Celebrating Pooh Day harnesses that popularity to spark the imaginations of children and encourage reading.
On January 18th, try one of these Pooh Day activities:
1. Read the books. The popularity of Winnie-the-Pooh has resulted in a wide variety of Pooh books for all reading levels.
2. Play Poohsticks, a game from The House at Pooh Corner. Poohsticks is traditionally played on a bridge over running water. Players drop sticks into the water and see whose stick crosses under the bridge first. Indoor adaptations include playing Poohsticks in the kitchen sink or bathtub with running water providing the current.
3. Dress like Pooh by wearing a red shirt. Winnie-the-pooh first appeared in his signature red shirt in 1932.
4. Visit Pooh's namesakes at the zoo; real bears and swans. The Winnie portion of Pooh's name is based on a bear that was kept as a pet by Canadian soldiers during World War I. Harry Colebourn bought the bear cub at the Winnipeg train station en route to Europe. The bear survived the war, traveling with Coleburn's unit until 1919 when he was moved to the London Zoo.
Pooh comes from a swan of the same name. Milne's son combined the names of the two animals to create Winnie-the-Pooh during his own trip to the zoo.
5. Eat some honey or 'hunny' as Pooh likes to call it. Biscuits with honey are delicious and easy to make. Or hide honey stix for a honey scavenger hunt. Alternatively, a simple indoor picnic could be arranged, but don't forget to invite all the stuffed animal versions of Pooh and his friends.
6. Watch Winnie-the-Pooh movies, there are dozens to choose from. Winnie the Pooh, A Valentine for You is the newest Pooh movie, released just in time for Pooh Day.
7. Create Pooh art. Color pictures of Pooh or make a 'hunny' pot out of an old coffee can and some paint. Pooh stickers are always fun as well.
8. Send free Pooh e-cards to friends and family wishing them a happy Pooh Day.
9. Burn off excess energy with the Tigger dance. Play some upbeat music and bounce.
10. Listen to Pooh music. Singer Kenny Loggins developed the title track for the Tigger movie and has made cds of Pooh music Or stick with the traditional:
Tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff.
Willy, nilly, silly, old bear."
No matter how Pooh Day is celebrated, never forget that "Wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing."-- The House at Pooh Corner.