Best Giant Jenga Games for Backyard BBQ Parties

Jenga is a much-beloved family game that was created in the 1970s by the co-founder of Oxford Games, Leslie Scott. At first, it was a more evolved way to play with children’s blocks to help improve fine motor control. It takes the name from the word Kujenga, which means “To Build” in the Swahili language.

In the decades since it’s inception, Jenga has grown to be one of the most popular family games in the United States and has also garnered popularity around the world. It’s growth as an indoor game has even inspired outdoor versions. It’s a great way to engage guests at cookouts, barbecues, and other backyard gatherings. Not only can it serve as a conversation starter, but it also has a knack for making the kind of memories that will bring people back over and over again.

How Do You Play Jenga?

While there are some special rules for kids, the standard way to play Jenga calls for two to four players. The blocks are cut into a consistent rectangular prism shape. Then they are stacked in layers of four or even six. Each layer is placed perpendicular to the one below it. With each block being at a 90-degree angle to the ones above and below it, you can stack the tower of blocks very high. Left on its own the tower is very stable.

Of course, the point of the game is to challenge that stability, by carefully removing blocks, and then placing them at the top of the tower. Each person takes their turn removing one block at a time. Some iterations of the game use painted wood blocks or blocks with colored ends. You then roll a dice to determine what color of block you have to remove. Other iterations let you pull the block of your choice as you see fit.

Giant Outdoor Jenga Site Selection

Just like the foundations of a skyscraper, you want a solid base to build the Jenga tower on. A soft patch of lawn is not ideal as it invites the tower to lean or to change how the weight is distributed. This increases the chances of the tower tumbling down early on in the game. While it might be funny at first, your guest inevitably ends up spending more time cleaning up and restacking the blocks than they do playing the actual game.

Ideally, you want to build your Jenga block tower in a uniformly flat space. A patio made from large smooth pavers or a deck with tightly spaced deck boards. The driveway might also be a good alternative location, but you might want to put a large level down just to make sure it’s flat. A lot of professionally installed driveways have a gentle slope to help divert rainwater away. It’s usually more pronounced near the sides of the driveway. So you’re more likely to find some flat square footage near the center of the driveway.

Does The Type Of Wood Matter?

Not all forms of natural wood are created equal, and depending on the manufacturer, the type of wood used in a giant backyard Jenga game can influence the price.

Pine – Is a very common type of softwood. So, it’s cheap and low-priced. It also cuts easy. However, it also tends to hold onto its resinous sap even after drying in a commercial kiln. Months and even years later heat and humidity can cause small amounts of sticky sap to ooze out. This can change how the blocks hold together, as well as leave sticky stains on your hands.

Oak – This is another somewhat common hardwood. It’s going to cost a little more than pine. It can be sanded smooth, which helps it stack tightly. Depending on how smooth the surface of each block is, it can affect how it pulls or slides out of the stack. This can be a good or a bad thing depending on how the stack shifts.

Redwood and Cypress – These are less common woods that can be classified as “Exotic” depending on where they are sourced. The advantage here is that these woods are known to be rot and pest resistant. This translates into an extremely long lifespan. However, these woods are very rare on the commercial marketplace. So, if you do happen to find a giant outdoor Jenga set made from them, you can expect a high price tag.

Cedar – This is a somewhat common wood that is rare in the gaming industry. However, it is also rot and pest resistant. Left untreated it will develop a natural gray patina. Still, it’s likely to live a long time.

How Big Are Outdoor Jenga Blocks?

This can vary from one manufacturer to the next. They certainly are larger than the wood blocks of indoor Jenga. Most of the best selling outdoor Jenga games tend to have blocks that are 6 to 7.5-inches long. There are a few that are shorter or longer than that, but it can make it a little trickier to play the game. Blocks that are less than 6-inches long tend to make a tower that topples easier. Especially if you are going to be stacking the tower on a soft surface. Blocks that are longer than 7.5-inches can be a little awkward to withdraw from the tower.

Is Outdoor Jenga Safe?

The size of the blocks does increase the weight of the stack when it falls. Some manufacturers do offer some very tall sets, which might be a minor cause for concern if there are a lot of small children walking around while you play. Though in general when the blocks fall, even if they do happen to contact an adult, they aren’t connected in any way, and will simply shed away.

Can I Make My Own Outdoor Jenga Set?

If you are particularly handy, you appreciate precision craftsmanship and you have a decently furnished woodshop, you could try to make your own outdoor Jenga set. Though I think you’ll find that the level of precision involved is a little bit tedious. Blocks truly do need to be cut to exact dimensions and the sanding needs to be consistent. When you factor in the cost of your personal time, it might be a more-sound investment to simply purchase it from a manufacturer who has automated systems in place.

Are There Different Companies That Make Outdoor Jenga Sets?

While Hasbro technically owns the game of Jenga, there are plenty of secondary manufacturers who offer their wares at the retail level. You can even find a fair number of interesting options through online vendors.

The Best Outdoor Jenga Games You Can Buy Online

Jenga Giant JS7 (Stacks to Over 5 feet) Precision-Crafted Premium Hardwood Game with Heavy-Duty Carry Bag (Authentic JENGA Brand Game),...

$118.50 $129.99 in stock
2 new from $118.50
3 used from $109.02
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Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: August 8, 2020 3:07 am

Giant Tumbling Timber Toy - Jumbo JR. Wooden Blocks Floor Game for Kids and Adults, 56 Pieces, Premium Pine Wood,...

$62.99 in stock
2 new from $62.99
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: August 8, 2020 3:07 am

Giant Tumbling Timber Toy - 60 Extra Jumbo Wooden Blocks Floor Game for Kids and Adults, w/ Storage Crate/Game Table-No...

$109.99 in stock
1 new from $109.99
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: August 8, 2020 3:07 am

Yard Games Giant Tumbling Timbers with Carrying Case | Starts at 2.5-Feet Tall and Builds to Over 5-Feet | Made...

$69.99 $79.99 in stock
1 new from $69.99
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: August 8, 2020 3:07 am

GoSports Giant Wooden Toppling Tower (Stacks to 5+ Feet), Choose Between Natural, Brown Stain or Gray Stain, Includes Bonus Rules...

$69.48 in stock
1 new from $69.48
2 used from $61.14
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: August 8, 2020 3:07 am

Giant Timber - Jumbo Size Wood Game - Ideal for Outdoors - Perfect for Adults, Kids 60 XL Pcs 7.5...

$79.95 $119.95 in stock
1 new from $79.95
3 used from $65.83
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: August 8, 2020 3:07 am

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