Have you ever played Jenga?

It’s a game, that has 54 blocks, stacked horizontal than vertical and so on. Players take turns removing blocks without knocking down the structure and then placing them on top. The game utilizes manual dexterity as well as hand- eye coordination. It also requires a certain amount of strategy. I think every family with children (and frankly without) should have this game.

So there’s my promo for Jenga…

Why do I think this is a great game to learn and play?

Though is requires physicality- Jenga is really a mind game. It requires strategy and thinking and analyzation. You look at the tower, you see what pieces look easy or hard to remove, you contemplate the reaction of your action, and then you execute a move.

Isn’t that life in general?

You look at the situation- theorize the possibilities- take a calculated risk depending on the information you have at hand.

Sometimes it works and you can easily place your piece back on top. Sometimes the whole thing falls over.

Win some.

Lose some.

Hopefully your learned some stuff along the way.

What do you think about playing games as a way to learn about life and how to experience it?

What are some games that taught you lessons in endurance or patience or critical thinking?


Do you think games are just that- a way to pass the time but add no real value or lessons?



44 thoughts on “Jenga and Life

  1. It’s funny, I think some people are wired for games and others are not. Growing up my brothers played a lot of sports, but it was next to impossible to get them to play games like monopoly or stratego with me. I was the youngest, the baby. On the other hand, I loved games, because I couldn’t compete with them on the court, they’d kill me, but I at least had a fighting chance at cards. In my family now, we used games when the kids were little to teach them about fair play and strategy. They’re grown but I still love family game night!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a fun post- lots of memories after reading this and I totally agree. There’s nothing wrong in strategizing or learning critical thinking skills during game play. Why not have fun and learn life skills at the same time! Monopoly, Battleship, Jenga of course, Scrabble…I think there’s a method behind board games to do exactly what you talk about here LA. I still have fond memories of playing poker with my family when I was really young. I learned a lot about staying calm in high stress situations- keeping “a poker face” was a great lesson 😉

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I wonder if those who see no point to game play, and I would even say video game play within reason, are less open to different ways of learning- alternatives to traditional classroom teacher led instruction? Everyone learns differently and we need educational systems that offer unique forms of learning. It’s not one size fits all.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Agreed. People also don’t see that there are different types of intelligence. We automatically think that grades or book smarts are everything, when they’re not…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Absolutely valuable stuff to be learned. In school I wrote a “ Games” grant and received a few grand and bought regulation sized chess sets, along with the Novel “The Westing Game” which has a chess theme. We did a chess tournament County wide, a game night with parents, I started a chess/scrabble after school club etc. Data shows that board games improve test taking skills and math skills. There are many benefits to board game strategies.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. As children, we learn best through play. As adults, we think we move beyond that, but really just become stubborn and hard headed know it all’s. We would assuredly benefit from not forgetting the joy of learning through play and interaction like we did as children.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh gosh, growing up in the 1950’s my family played monopoly, scrabble, pretty much all the popular games of the day. My oldest son played those same games too in the 1970’s. And my youngest son (who was almost 16 years his brother’s junior ) played them as well. Our family monopoly and scrabble games lasted for hours. Then there were ofcourse games like Pictionary, operation, chess, Clue, you name it and we played it. It was entertaining, taught my children rules and fair play etc.
    I think one of the funniest times was after my oldest son graduated college year when he started working for a local NFL team in Media relations. He asked if he could invite over some of the rookie players who were unable to go home for thanksgiving. Of course I said yes. But these football players were huge guys so I cooked two turkeys and pretty much two of everything that year. My dad and husband were kind of Star struck because they were having Thanksgiving dinner with several up and coming NFL superstars. ) Anyhow, my husband and I were clearing the table and I looked around to see my sons and these football players all having fun playing Monopoly. BTW, Two of those rookie players are now in the football hall of fame. But I always think of those guys as young kids in their early 20’s all fighting over Park Place. Lol By the way, all those”kids” will turn 50 this year. But they used to play old fashioned board games at my house (for HOURS).

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I absolutely think games are a great learning tool whether it is strategy or a particular skill. My personal experience also taught me that big brothers are not to be trusted as they have been known to change the rules or create them as they go.😉

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I haven’t played Jenga, but growing up we had a table at the corner of two windows where we played lots of cards. I sat where I could see the reflection of two people’s hands. It worked well for me as the youngest in the family until I got caught.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. You can learn a lot about a person by watching them play chess. I am not a good chess player although my dad tried many times to teach me. My brother was a very cautious player and lacked the risk taking. I was impatient and my dad could beat us all. He was a risk taker. I still wish I knew more of how to play a good game of chess, if only to use as my character’s hobbies when I write.


  8. I believe it’s all about perspective. How an individual looks at it is how it works for him or her. Personally, it is both a pass time and also a way to attain value or lesson. Every game is capable of giving both. You get what you focus on.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Games absolutely teach life lessons! (Even when you don’t play them according to the rules, like when my grandson uses the Jenga blocks to build towers and roadways for his cars….. He’s learning construction, and also that things can be used in many different ways!)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think when we can see all of life as a game, as a way to learn more, to become more, we are on a road that contains infinite wisdom. This road also contains infinite pains too. It’s all a part of it. Excellent post, LA. I love Jenga.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I love games! Played a lot of games as a kid and I raised my family the same way! Lots of great lessons embedded in a game! We have a giant Jenga at the lake! Our neighbor built it for us! We have large tournaments! It’s a game of skill! Love this post. Hugs, C

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve never played Jenga, but I think many of the same lessons can be learned from chess.

    I’ve learned a few things about playing board games myself. “Life” taught me that I really want to drive a convertible; “Battleship” made me realize if I ever ship off to war, I’d feel safer on a submarine; and after winning $10 in a beauty contest in “Monopoly,” I had to admit I’m probably not as good-looking as I could be.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. My husband and youngest daughter LOVE Jenga. Me, not so much, though I have won twice.

    Games are more than games, and if you have children, you should play them, so they can learn all of the things you’ve listed here. You also learn about your family playing games lol

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I am not a strategist in any way, shape or form. Maybe that’s why I didn’t become the first female Secretary of State, which was my goal in college.

    I used to enjoy playing games, but when I played them with my ex, and especially with his family, and even more so with the male members of his family, my enjoyment progressively decreased. The final straw was when one of his brothers got mad at me for playing the wrong card in Pinochle. My response to his angry outburst was that I didn’t, and still don’t play competitive Pinochle.

    Besides my lack of skill and/or ability to think strategically, at least at the time, may have been due to acquired brain fog after birthing two kids. My mantra then was that the more kids you had, the more gray matter you lost. Not much of an excuse since I only had two, but still, better than nothing.

    My kids have always been better at strategizing, especially the one that hates her father, maybe because she is so much like him. Anyway, she could often beat him, and his family, at Pinochle and other games, even when she was a kid. Maybe that’s part of the reason her father seems to dislike and resent her so much, besides his drunken meanness. That’s too bad because most of his family seemed to like her (and me) but now neither of us has anything to do with them, teetotaling Mormons all, though the one that’s still living on this earth may have forgiven all the nasty stuff my ex accused him of, since he’s gone back to church with wife #4.

    Oh, I’m also Jewish and it appears she may be turning Mormon (as opposed to Church of Christ or God or whatever she was before) to please him. My guess is even that won’t be enough to please him, but I’ll probably never know.

    Liked by 1 person

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