A couple weeks ago we invited our youngest nieces and nephew over to visit for the afternoon. We'd recently completed our latest DIY project in collaboration with eHow, an oversized wood block stacking game (like Jenga), and thought Teller's kids would love playing with it — not to mention act as the perfect models for capturing the final project shots.
Along came Benjamin, 4, Sophia, 3, and little Chelsea, who just turned 1. We weren't sure how the kids would react or take to the game, and were surprised at how quickly Benjamin zoomed in on the strategy, eager to pull blocks out from all areas of the stacked tower.
For those unfamiliar with how to play, the wood blocks are stacked in alternate rows to form a tower. Each player takes a turn removing a block, stacking it back on top of the tower and hoping he isn't the one who makes it fall.
Sophia approached the blocks a little more gently while Benjamin would help point out blocks that may be loose for her — don't you just love the look of deep concentration in her eyes:
Eventually the stack would tumble, making a big crashing sound against the bare hardwood floors in the now mostly empty guest room upstairs. We'd laugh and the kids would eagerly begin to stack the alternating rows of blocks to build another tower.
Once the older two had played a few rounds and were excited to explore around the house (we have a back staircase that the kids call their "secret staircase") little Chelsea decided to check things out:
Chelsea's game of strategy was just her speed — it was fun watching her bend down to pick up blocks, then muster up everything she could to balance standing up while holding the block before placing it on the top of the stack.
Tim made the entire stacking game in about 3-4 hours, so it could be accomplished as a mid-sized weekend project if you want to give it a go. To make the stack is a simple matter of cutting appropriate sized pieces, sanding them to a smooth finish and giving each block a healthy coat of food-grade finishing oil. Find the full tutorial with sizing and materials right here in our eHow project series.
We ended up storing all the game pieces in the drawstring laundry bag we'd made earlier this year, which turned out to be the perfect storage sack for this game. We'll keep the bag tucked away, ready for pulling out again when the kids come to visit.
Outside of a fun way to entertain the little ones, these oversized stacking games could make for a fun activity at summer barbecues or weddings, family get-to-togethers or other outdoor events. Head on over to eHow to find our full tutorial with step-by-step instructions for making one of these fun games for your own space.