Jenga is a great game to play with all members of the family, and playing the giant version out in the yard is just downright exciting. But is it dangerous?
Giant Jenga is not dangerous for adults or kids over the age of six, if you play with common sense. This means always wearing shoes and not going barefoot, watching the tower at all times – especially when children are playing – and getting out of the way when those big heavy blocks fall over.
Let’s dive down into playing Giant Jenga safely, so you can have some fun in the yard with your friends and family.
Why is Giant Jenga Potentially Dangerous?
Sunny Sunday afternoons are made for chilling out in the yard, and you can’t beat a game on the lawn with the family. Giant Jenga has become a popular outdoor game recently. Its combination of physical skill, strategy, and fun (things falling over is always funny, right?) makes it a great favorite with all ages.
What is Jenga? It’s a game of skill, where players have to remove blocks from their stacked tower without sending it crashing to the ground. It’s been around since the 1970s and originated in Britain. Players take it in turns to carefully remove a block, then place it on the top of the tower. Honestly, players spend most of the game holding their breaths, waiting for the crash.
Giant Jenga is the usual game, gone large. As you can imagine, a pile of bigger blocks makes outdoor Jenga rather more extreme than its kitchen table counterpart. Always play the giant edition outdoors (if you value your furnishings) and make sure it’s on a flat surface. You’ll also need to skip out of the way smartly when you see those blocks start to tremble…
It’s not the safest outdoor game, but it is a lot of fun. We’ll take you through some safety tips shortly, to make sure you and your kids can enjoy the game without any bruised or broken toes.
What Size Are Giant Jenga Blocks?
Giant Jenga blocks are typically around 7.13 inches long, 2.38 inches wide, and 1.38 inches high. This is the standard measurement if you buy a commercial set. There are 54 uniform blocks in a Jenga set.
How Much Does a Giant Jenga Block Weigh?
Giant Jenga is typically made from pine, and a set weighs around 18 pounds. So, each block weighs around a third of a pound. That might not sound heavy; however, it’s rare that just one Jenga block tumbles to the ground! The blocks also have pretty sharp edges and corners. They can’t be rounded off, because then they wouldn’t stack.
How Tall is a Giant Jenga Block Tower?
Based on the standard commercial block measurements we mentioned (7.13 inches long, 2.38 inches wide, and 1.38 inches high), a tower built with 54 blocks can reach about five feet tall. Of course, you don’t have to play with the full set if you want a shorter tower.
Fascinating fact: the tallest Jenga tower ever built was 40 levels high. Don’t try this at home.
Is Giant Jenga Safe For Adults To Play? (Safety Tips)
As the DIY expert will tell you, any task involving stacking wood has its dangers. Giant Jenga is especially risky because it’s designed to end with the wood collapsing.
The main danger is to your feet, especially if the edges land across your toes. So, no open-toed footwear such as sandals and flip flops, and canvas uppers won’t be much protection either. Even though it’s played in the garden, proper shoes with tough leather uppers must be worn.
Set it up carefully. Build the Jenga tower on a level surface away from anything that could be damaged by falling bricks. Read the instructions for setting up and playing, and make sure everyone understands them. Keep inquisitive pets out of the way in case they cause an avalanche.
Play sensibly. Take it in turns, don’t rush your opponents, and certainly don’t mess about near the tower. Sorry to spoil the BBQ party, but Giant Jenga is also best enjoyed before you crack open the beers.
Should I Play Giant Jenga With Young Children? (Playing Safely)
Jenga is a great game for kids. It encourages eye-hand coordination, dexterity, and strategic thinking. And it makes a great crash when the tower collapses… Giant Jenga has the advantage of being played outdoors, so you’re also encouraging the kids to get out in the fresh air.
We wouldn’t advise playing it with very young children. As well as the potential dangers to small toes, the blend of strategy and physical skill doesn’t really work with preschoolers. However, for older kids, it’s a fun way to develop their motor skills.
Set some basic rules to help keep the kids safe. Everyone stands well back during a game, with players stepping forward to take their turns. And no-one, absolutely no-one, messes about or touches the tower when it’s not their turn.
When you’re playing with kids, never take your eyes from the tower. In fact, you may want a non-playing adult on watch. If you see the slightest movement, move everyone further back from the tower.
What Age Children is Jenga Safe For?
The consensus seems to be Jenga is good for kids aged six and upwards. And of course, this also depends on the kids themselves and whether you think they’re ready for such a physical game. If you have a very boisterous six year old, you might want to hang fire for a year or two.
Start with indoor Jenga so they understand how to play and learn the basic rules; and when you take it outside, build a shorter tower by not using all the bricks. If you’re going for a taller tower, provide a safe little step for smaller kids (like the ones they use to stand at the bathroom basin).
Has Anyone Ever Been Injured Playing Giant Jenga?
We looked into this, and couldn’t find anyone who’d own up to being injured by their own Jenga set (although we did find a heartbreaking article about a kid accidentally knocking down a man’s record-breaking tall tower attempt).
Simply, falling wooden blocks can cause injuries, especially to feet and toes. Just because the papers aren’t full of tales of people receiving blunt trauma injuries from Jenga bricks, it doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen. So, build carefully, play safely, and wear decent shoes.
If in doubt, you can get Jenga computer games and there are even versions that run on iOS and Android devices. Yes, this is defeating the fresh air and physical exercise elements of outdoor Giant Jenga; however it could be a good way to brush up on your strategies, without risking your toes.
Can You Stop a Giant Jenga Tower Falling Over?
No, you can’t. If a pile of wooden blocks is going to fall, it’s going to fall, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Furthermore, if you attempt to stop a Jenga tower from collapsing, you’re likely to get hurt.
If it’s fallen over because a player’s turn destabilized the tower, well that’s the point of the game. If it simply fell, heave a sigh, gather up the bricks, and start again. Maybe look for a more stable surface the next time you build.
But what if you’re trying to stop the tower from falling because it might hit someone? It’s easier and safer to get the people out of the way than try to stop the effect of gravity on wooden blocks. Keep a close eye on the tower at all times during the game, and get ready to usher the kids backwards if you detect even the slightest wobble.
Playing Giant Jenga is great fun in the yard, with both adults and kids over the age of six. And while we haven’t found any evidence of anyone being seriously injured or killed by a falling Giant Jenga tower – you need to use your common sense when playing.
This means wearing shoes and not going barefoot, watching the tower at all times – especially when children are playing – and getting the hell out the way when those big heavy blocks come crashing down. It’s the thought and then the reality of that huge tower going over that makes the whole thing so exciting – so just enjoy yourself. 🙂