Jenga History and Origins

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Jenga is the wooden block game you played as a child, where you took it in turns to choose a wooden block to remove carefully, place it on top of the tower without the tower falling over. It is a game which was created by a lady called Leslie Scott who was a co-founder of Oxford Games Ltd which was formed in 1991.

History of Jenga

It is said to of developed from an idea when she used children’s wooden building blocks in the 1970’s, Leslie Scott was a British national who was born in East Africa and was raised speaking both English and Swahili before she moved to Ghana.

She named and trademarked the game at the London Toy Fair of 1983, and continued to sell it through her own company. In 1985 an entrepreneur called Robert Grebler from California who it so happened was good friends of Leslie’s brother. He was interested in importing and selling it in Canada.

jenga classic wooden toy wooden block tower like jenga







The following year he obtained the exclusive rights to Jenga in the USA and Canada and just 6 months later worldwide rights! As with most things, the license held by the company in the states was swallowed up by the toy giant Hasbro.

Jenga was then launched under the MB Milton Bradley name in 1987 and went on to become the licensee holder in most countries around the world. The current owner of the Jenga brand is Pokonobe Associates and it is estimated that over 80 million Jenga game sets have been sold since it began via its licences to toy brand to market and produce the toy.

Jenga what does it mean?

Well, the word Jenga is derived from a Swahili word kujena which means “to build” so now you know.

There are many different versions of Jenga but most keep to the same rules but with a theme of a Movie, TV or Sport team, and of course if you like the larger versions around 4ft and approx 8ft can be found if you have the space and the funds!
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