Giant blocks? The bigger the better!
There comes a time in every building block enthusiast’s life, when they look out the window and see an entire world of outdoor play possibility.
If this is your first time looking for giant outdoor wooden blocks, you’re in the right place.
Today, I’m going to show you all sorts of jumbo-sized wooden blocks that are perfect for backyard activities. Wooden block play doesn’t always need to be an indoor activity, and the giant wooden blocks you’ll discover today prove it!
Let’s jump right in!
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1. Giant Hollow Blocks
To recreate the classic building blocks experience outdoors, oversized hollow wooden blocks are where it’s at! They’re one of the kinds of giant wooden blocks specifically designed for open-ended building.
These building blocks are huge. Most play sets come with blocks 12- to 24-inches in length. Some sets even come with 3 to 4 foot building boards.
If these building blocks were any bigger, you’d probably be making a real life-sized building.
The blocks are hollow to keep them lightweight and make the pieces easier for children to handle. If you’ve ever chopped lumber for a winter furnace, you know first-hand that solid pieces of hardwood are really heavy. By hollowing out the pieces, these oversized blocks are much more manageable.
With all sorts of shapes — including squares, rectangles, triangles, flat boards, and even ramps — giant hollow blocks have everything a budding architect could ever want. They’re your best option for building with blocks outdoors.
Here are some of my top picks:
2. Giant Jumbling Blocks
This is everything you love about the classic Jenga game magnified into larger-than-life proportions.
After stacking the tower straight up, then start the game. Players take turns carefully removing one block at a time, then gently placing it on top. The player who makes the tower fall over in the process loses.
Depending on the jumbo jumbling tower play set you choose, the tower is usually around 2 or 3 feet tall at the start of the game. If that doesn’t seem very high to you, remember that last rule — where you have to stack a piece on the top at the end of your turn. During gameplay, the tower reaches 4 to 6 feet. That’s pretty huge.
Giant jumbling blocks are available in a bunch of different styles and stains for you to choose from. If you’re loyal to the original Jenga brand, they’ve got you covered with the Jenga Giant collection:
“Hey! Play! Brand” added a nontraditional touch by adding spaces between the blocks, making it much more challenging than traditional stacking games.
Other block makers let you personalize your jumbling tower pieces with a custom logo or your family name. Talk about a great gift idea:
Other sets even let you custom engrave your logo:
And other sets that you can get hand-painted into the colors of your choice, like your favorite sports team or school colors.
It’s a rare find, but there are a few woodshops producing giant jumbling blocks with artistic craft wood finishes, so the tower doubles as a tasteful home decoration when not in use:
3. Giant Yard Dice
Giant yard dice take the classic Yahtzee game and up-size it into an outdoor activity. If it’s your first time playing, the rules are a little complicated, and there are actually many special variations to the original rules.
Put simply, the objective of the game is to get the highest score by rolling several dice. Each turn you get the chance to re-roll low scoring dice in a strategic effort to maximize your score.
Depending on the dice set you buy, wooden yard dice blocks usually range from 3 to 4 inches per edge, or about the size of a big juicy apple. Considering standard casino dice measure 3/4 of an inch, these giant wooden dice are a hefty handful.
For classic appeal, I highly recommend the Snake Eyes Brand yard dice. They’re from the American-made wooden blocks company that’s largely responsible for popularizing lawn dice in the first place.
If you prefer colorful wooden dice, then Blue Star Woodworks brand makes giant yard dice in a variety of colors and even does custom orders upon request.
Some woodshops let you take custom orders to the next level, and can paint on the logo of your favorite sports team or whatever else you ask for.
4. Natural Tree Blocks
One man’s firewood is another man’s play toy. I don’t think that’s exactly how the old saying goes, but that’s exactly true for this next type of giant toy blocks.
When you typically think of wooden blocks — symmetrical shapes, precise edges, and perfectly flat sides come to mind. But natural tree blocks come as nature intended them to be — with assorted irregular shapes cut straight from the tree.
“One man’s timber
is another man’s treasure.”(Not a real quote.)
It’s a refreshing reminder that — yes — trees are made of wood. For advocates of an organic lifestyle or people who simply appreciate natural woodgrains, tree blocks offer unfinished natural simplicity like no other type of wood block.
Trees grow big, and tree blocks are big, too.
5. DIY Giant Wooden Blocks
Whoever said you need to buy your giant wooden blocks? If you’ve got some scrap wood lying around or have some trees in your backyard — plus some woodworking tools — you’ve got all you need to make your own giant wooden blocks.
If you’ve ever considered hand-making your DIY wooden toys, giant blocks are a perfect project for beginners.
Their larger size requires less skill, precision, and dexterity — so cutting and painting the cube-like wood pieces will be easier. If you make a mistake, you’re still OK. Chunky blocks with broad sides tend to stay stacked easier despite imperfect carpentry.
First time? It’s OK to start easy. If you make it a family activity, the real joy is in the process, and not the final product.
We found parent-child duos who handmade some giant blocks from reclaimed wood! It looks so much fun, and they say it’s pretty easy.
If you’re more experienced, then you can opt for a more advanced toy block set. There are plenty of websites around the internet offering wooden blocks templates and instructions to follow. The people at The Created Home blog, for example, take you step-by-step through the process of making your own large wooden blocks.
You’ll be building toys before you know it!
Since you’re here, there are a few more kinds of large wooden toys if you might be interested, that didn’t make the cut for one reason or another.
Wooden Building Planks
Wooden planks are an underrated type of wooden building blocks ideal for building tall, complex, and imaginative structures. The blocks themselves are less flashy than other sets, but for the building block purist, these are some of the best out there.
I’m excluding them from the main list only because they’re meant for indoor play.
Giant Wooden Dominoes
Another wooden yard game made larger than the original indoor game. Large wooden dominoes usually measure about 7 inches long. Compared to standard household dominos at maximum 2 inches long — yeah — these dominoes are huge.
Lots of people use standard domino-shaped blocks for building structures and intricate domino tracks to knock over, but these jumbo dominoes are intended for gameplay under domino rules, so I’m excluding them from the main list.
Giant Wooden Tic-Tac-Toe
Magnifying the classic paper-and-pencil game into a full-scale backyard activity is a great idea! The X’s and Os are like blocks in many ways but don’t exactly fit into the giant wooden blocks category, so I’m excluding this from the list.
Which giant blocks are right for you?
When deciding which type of giant wooden blocks are right for you, you’ve probably already got a good idea of the visual style you like and how you want to play with them.
But there are so many different kinds of big wooden blocks for sale, and they’re much different from normal-sized wooden blocks, so there are some unique criteria to consider. Here are some of the most common questions I hear people ask:
Size is probably the first thing on your mind. You’re looking for some huge wooden blocks — but just how big is big enough for you?
When shopping online, product photos can be deceiving. Blocks in online photos typically seem larger than they are in real life. This is especially true when shopping for giant blocks. The product photographers intentionally make the blocks look massive because that’s what the customer wants.
Before you buy any blocks online, I recommend you carefully check out the block measurements, and visualize using a ruler or tape measurer. You’ll thank yourself when you receive the blocks, and they’re exactly as big as you hoped for.
You can stow away regular-sized blocks pretty much anywhere, but the larger the blocks, the trickier it becomes.
Giant wooden blocks take up a lot of space. So before you buy, it’s worth it to consider where you’re going to keep them when not in use. It’s not surprising that giant outdoor wooden blocks are more popular with people who have bigger homes with spacious lawns. If you live in a city apartment, bigger blocks might just be more of a hassle.
Even if you’ve got plenty of space to play with them, where are you going to keep them when not in use? To keep your blocks looking nice for years to come, indoor storage in a cool dry place is your best bet.
No matter how durable the blocks, no matter if the wood is treated for outdoor use, leaving the blocks outside through four seasons of rain, snow, heat, and freezing — outdoor storage is going to wear down your blocks.
Wooden furniture is hard enough to move even when it’s in one piece, so I’m sure you can imagine what a headache it is lugging around a set of 100 bulky blocks.
If you’re buying large wooden blocks for a classroom, this isn’t such a big deal. But for the rest of us, portability is important!
To make your life easier, lots of outdoor wooden blocks come with a carrying bag that fits all of the blocks into an easily portable package. So, if you’re planning to bring your blocks along for a day out to the park or to your friend’s backyard barbecue, having a carrying case is a huge convenience.
For parents, toy safety is always a top concern.
While smaller blocks can be a choking hazard for babies and young toddlers, giant wooden blocks pose different safety concerns due to their large size and heavy weight.
One of the main things I recommend you look for is smooth edges and corners. That will help prevent bumps and bruises even when playtime gets a little rough and tumble.
In general, I think durability is another worthwhile feature to look for. What goes up must come down. Playing with building blocks, you bet the blocks will inevitably topple over at some point. Giant wooden blocks stack up super high, and their pieces are heavier to begin with. So, it’s even more important to opt for high-quality blocks, so that when they hit the ground they don’t chip or splinter.
I’ve noticed that quite a few of the giant wooden blocks available today are tailored for adults, rather than children.
My best guess is it’s the popular frat-house cornhole trend that’s given rise to such a wide variety of wooden yard games and jumbo building blocks for adults. And as an adult I agree, they’re fun!
Either way, when shopping for giant blocks, I recommended double-checking for age-appropriateness. There are plenty of large building blocks for kids and toddlers — just make sure before you buy.
One commonality I’ve found is that giant blocks for young children typically are usually proposed for open-ended play. No rules. Children can just use their imaginations. However other giant blocks include more intricate rules. Yard dice, for example, are often played like a larger version of Yahtzee and require a solid foundation of numbers and addition before you can play.
Over to you!
Whether you’ve never stacked a block in your life, or you’re a seasoned wooden toy carpenter — I’d love to hear your take on giant outdoor wooden blocks!
- What’s your favorite kind of jumbo wooden blocks?
- As an adult, have you explored large wooden building blocks for open-ended play, or do you stick with yard games with rules?
- Have you ever gotten your blocks personalized with your name or logo?
- Have you ever made your own DIY wooden blocks?
Let me know in the comments below!