Writers’ Blocks 1

There are so many great ideas here on the internet. I came across a good one recently from Tonya, a paediatric occupational therapist with a website called Therapy Fun Zone. Tonya bought a generic version of Jenga and used the blocks to create a writing game for play therapy.

I decided to come up with my own use for Jenga blocks, which is what this post is all about.

Have you ever had writer’s block? Yes? Now imagine the writer’s block you might get when faced with 96 blank ‘sheets’ to fill with inspiring words! [In case you’re wondering about the maths – there are 48 blocks and each block has 2 large faces and 4 smaller faces and I decided to leave the smaller faces blank – hence 96 faces to write on.]

Jenga blocks 1

The naked blocks were so lovely. I was worried I would spoil them with bad decisions. I thought. I thought a bit more. And then a lot more. I was procrastinating of course!

Eventually I decided to write a single word on each large face. My idea being for people to pull out 3 or 4 blocks from a Jenga tower or a bag, place the blocks on the table (choosing which word to use for each block) and then connect the visible words on the blocks in a piece of writing.

Before actually writing on the blocks I wanted to practice. So I cut out 96 paper rectangles to try out different words, and to work out which words to use, and which words to pair up on the blocks. The 96 words I ended up choosing were in several related sets, which I decided to distinguish by writing words from different sets in different colours.

I always like an excuse to bring out the Sharpies!

Jenga blocks 3

The ink had a tendency to bleed into the wood a little so I had to write with minimum contact. As far as I know I didn’t make any mistakes so I ended up with 48 blocks with a total of 96 different words. I could list the words here if anyone is interested.

Jenga blocks 2

The cost of the blocks was only £1.99 (The Works), but then I decided to buy a matt lacquer spray, at £8.99, to fix the ink and keep the blocks clean. There’s plenty of spray left so I’ll have to think of some more creative projects I can use it for!

Jenga blocks 4


About Carol Ross

Interested in therapeutic writing.
This entry was posted in Writing Ideas and Prompts and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Writers’ Blocks 1

  1. Pseu says:

    Do you have a list of words you chose, please? !

  2. Carol Ross says:

    Hi Janey, do come back and comment again about how you got on 🙂

  3. Margaret Schumann says:

    Thanks very much for sharing this idea, Carol; I’m really looking forward to trying it!
    Would love to see your word list, if you wouldn’t mind sharing it.

    • Carol Ross says:

      Hi Margaret thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I’d be happy to post up the words. I’ll try to do that this weekend. Regards, Carol.

    • Carol Ross says:

      I have shared it in a later post .. Writers’ Blocks 2. Regards, Carol.

      • Margaret Schumann says:

        Thanks so much, Carol, and how generous of you to show the combinations and colour coding as well. I will certainly credit you when I try this exercise with my class. I facilitate an ongoing Creative Writing class in an addiction recovery setting, and am always looking for new ideas that might be stimulating for adults with a wide range of writing experience / abilities. Glad i came upon your blog; thanks again.

      • Carol Ross says:

        You’re welcome. And thank you very much for your interest, your comments and your compliments!

        I would be interested to know roughly where you are – I am in Cumbria in the UK (near Scotland). Best wishes, Carol 🙂

  4. Great idea – a bit like fridge magnets, only more tactile. How did you choose the words?

    • Carol Ross says:

      I decided I wanted words that could link together in either conventional or surprising ways so I went for different types of word – adjectives, nouns and verbs. I chose a mixture of abstract and concrete nouns, including people words (such as man, woman, artist, teenager) and objects that anyone might own (e.g., coat, camera), plus emotions, colours, and some -ing forms of verbs such as singing.

  5. Great idea. They look good too!

  6. annaking969 says:

    You know Carol this is quite brilliant. I’m off to get some blocks to use as anti-blocks!

    • Carol Ross says:

      Oh I am glad you like it. The beauty of it is you can choose your own words/symbols/colours or whatever to put on the blocks. Let me know how you get on. Regards, Carol.

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