Large Jenga

Posted: August 28, 2017 in Uncategorized

A few years ago, my wife had me make a Jenga game for VBS. It was super simple. I just bought 2X4’s from the local hardware store, cut them to length (using my miter saw), and sanded the edges smooth (using my sanding jig)..


Here’s a pic of when I was making it…


We had used it a couple of times and it worked well…   But for this VBS, we wanted something a little different. The idea was to divide the blocks into sets of 4. Paint each block a different color. When a kid was playing the game, they had to spin the wheel (see instructions here),. Whatever color the wheel landed on, that’s the color of the block the had to remove from the Jenga. This just gave it an extra challenge.

Here’s a couple of pics after I had painted the Jenga pieces.  I only have pics of the first two colors.


Let me know what you think.




Dance Boxes – Praise VBS

Posted: August 28, 2017 in Uncategorized

A few years ago we were doing the Praise VBS. We had just been to Dry Gulch for Kid’s Summer Camp. On their stage they had boxes that were clear (frosted) and were lit from within with colored lights. We loved how these looked and decided to do the same thing.

I ended up making boxes (the ones with the green Lights in them).   I started by building the frame out of 2X4 lumber. I made sure the boxes were strong enough to handle my weight since kids would be jumping up and down and dancing on them. You may have read in previous posts that I had an old drum shield that I had used for multiple plexi-glass pieces from. This was no exception.

I cut the pieces of plexiglass with my table saw. I needed pieces for the front/back/sides/top. I was also fairly nervous about the plexi not being strong enough for the top. I wanted the boxes to be plexi on top so the light would shine up on the kid on the box. But I didn’t want the Plexiglass to be clear (as it was). So I bought a can of frosting spray from a local crafts store. I used this to add a frosting layer to the inside of the boxes.

This turned out to be a pain in the rear. If I had it to do over, I would probably buy the frosted plexiglass from the start.

24″ x 36″ – 1/8″ ( 0.118″ ) DP9 – Two-Sided Frosted Finish- Clear SatinMatte Finish Acrylic Sheet

Once the boxes were constructed, I put 1 LED light in each one. The lights were connected to our DMX controller. We could control the lights in the boxes as well as the lights shining on the wall. We were able to get any variety of color and have rapidly changing colors…

You can see the boxes in action in a zoomed in photo:



Then here’s the overall photo that shows the entire stage. We had the two dance boxes, a DJ booth in the middle with two turntables (DJ Hero game turntables) which weren’t functions, just for looks. We ran 3 projectors. The 2 on the sides were connected to our ProPresenter system. The middle projector had a media device (old Microsoft Zune) connected to it and would only display the single logo image…

dance boxes

The funniest thing that happened during this entire process:   We put everything together Saturday night. We just worked around it for Sunday morning. Then after church on Sunday, one of the older people from church came up to me and said “That’s awesome, you made gogo boxes for the kids to dance on”. Didn’t really realize his sarcasm until he had already walked off…



So I love to how the games and stuff I build.

But quite a few times, things don’t work out as planned or as idea-ed.

I typically don’t even take pics of those things.  Well because nobody likes to admit they screwed something up.  But it happens to all of us.

While looking through some old pictures, I found this:


This was my goal post for use in our sports themed VBS.  This was phase 1.  I ended up cutting the horizontal pieces quite a bit shorter.  I think I ended up having to glue the PVC together to make it stay and not droop down.  I had initially wanted to not glue it to make it easy to store.

Here’s after I painted the posts yellow to make them look more like a goal post and to cover up the text:


So even when you fail, learn from it and move on.  Don’t give up.

Also, I can’t believe how messy my garage was.  Man what a mess.  It is actually pretty organized now.  Maybe I’ll do a post on how I work out of my garage.  Back in the past, I had to work in the driveway because of the mess in the garage.

Of course, you could always just buy a goal post set.

Franklin Sports Youth Football 2 Goal Post Set

US Toy Blow Up Inflatable Football Goal with Blow Up Football Game, 46 x 39″

Kid’s Drive-In Movie

Posted: August 23, 2017 in Uncategorized


My wife was planning a movie night for our kids one Saturday night. Since we lease our building out on Saturday nights, we couldn’t have it at our main building. We typically have these events at our Kid’s Day Out (mother’s day out) facility. There is a large fenced in playground area in the back yard. We had normally had movie nights in doors, but this time, we wanted to move it outside.

My wife had bought a blow-up movie screen from Amazon.

Here’s the screen we bought from Amazon: MEGA SCREEN MOVIE SCREEN – INFLATABLE PROJECTION SCREEN- PORTABLE HUGE OUTDOOR SCREEN – Over 9′ DIAGONAL    Note:  Amazon no longer carries the exact one we used.  This is a similar product.  But this one has great reviews also…

This thing was awesome. It blows up nice and tall and makes a great surface to project on. We used an older projector, DVD player, and a home amp and speakers to bring it to life.

As we were sitting up, we had to move all of the ride-on vehicles out of the way to make room. Then we had a thought. What if we took all of the ride-on toys and put them in front of the screen. Sorta like a drive-in movie. So we arranged the Cozy ride-ons to look like a drive in.

Here’s some of the many Cozy Ride-On vehicles available from Amazon:

Little Tikes Princess Cozy Truck Ride-On

Little Tikes Princess Cozy Coupe Ride-On

Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Tikes Patrol, Ride-On

Little Tikes Cozy Coupe 30th Anniversary Car

Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Sport Ride-On

Little Tikes Ride & Rescue Cozy Coupe

Little Tikes Cozy Truck

The Original Ride On Toys-The Cozy Coupe – Little Tikes Cozy Coupe 30th Anniversary Car

Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Off-Roader Ride-On, Camo

The more varied the cars are, the better.

Check out the picture.



It was really funny watching the kids show up that night. They just walked in, found the car they wanted, opened the door and got in. Nobody had to explain how it worked.

We just walked around handing out popcorn and juiceboxes.

Now, I’ll admit that we ran into a little issue. It had to get pretty dark before the movie looked really good. We had one of those $300 projectors we were using, so we couldn’t get it bright enough. If you waited until the correct time of year so the got darker earlier or if you have a better projector, you’d probably be in better shape.

We had a projector similar to this one (they no longer sell the one we have):

BenQ DLP HD 1080p Projector (TH670) – 3D Home Theater Projector with 3,000 ANSI Lumens and 10,000:1 Contrast

This would work fine if it starting to get dusk.  But if you are wanting to be visible in sunlight, you’ll need a much brighter projector.  Of course, now you are getting into expensive projectors.  And if you are spending a ton of money on a projector, you probably don’t want it outside being exposed to the elements.

As far as sound goes, moving the home audio equipment was a pain.  If I had it to do over, I would probably invest in a portable sound system.  Something like:

JBL EON206P Portable All-in-One 2-way PA System with 6-Channel Mixer

for a nice system you can use other places.  Pretty much for any outdoor event (unless it is a very large venue).

Or something like this, which is much cheaper, but not quite as flexible:

ION Audio Tailgater (iPA77) | Portable Bluetooth PA Speaker with Mic, AM/FM Radio, and USB Charge Port


Let me know what you think. And as always, send me your pics of similar things…


Update: 09/13/2017 – I found a few more pics….








Of course we had to bring in the snow cone truck.  Or technically the snowball truck…


So I’ve been building games and things for some times. But just doing the same old thing gets old. Even with new games, it is still the same theory and same set of skills required. Just using the skills in different ways.

I’m always looking to build new skills. As I get older, I think it is important to find new things to learn to keep your mind building new pathways. At least it seems like I remember something like that.

Something that I’ve always wanted to learn is machine control. Having a simple computer being able to take inputs and act on those inputs. There are many pieces of equipment that do a lot of the work for you. Things like the Arduino platform:

Arduino Uno R3 Microcontroller A000066

ARDUINO K000007 The Starter Kit, 1.5″

Arduino Starter Kit – English Official Kit With 170 Page Book

The idea with a system like this is to take inputs and react to them.  My thought was something like my Operation Skee-Ball game. With the one I made, you had to watch where the balls went and keep up with the score manually. With a system like this, when a ball enters a hole, it controls a sensor and the Arduino keeps score… it can even help display it…

Just something I want to play with..

Has anyone built any Kid’s church or VBS type games that use the Arduino platform (or something similar).  I would love to see pictures…






Random Garden Ideas

Posted: August 22, 2017 in Uncategorized

I like building things.  My mom moved in with us last year after my dad passed away.  Every weekend, she tells me I should just sit around and relax.  She just doesn’t understand, that isn’t relaxing to me.  I sit at work all week long.  The last thing I want to do on my offtime is sit around (unless a football game is on).

I relax by being in the garage building something.  When I’m not building something for my wife, I like to build stuff for the yard.

I love to recycle old fence panels into things for the garden.  Here’s a pic of one of my boxes made from old fence boards:



So years ago, I had built this vertical garden.  Just kinda came up with the idea myself.  Never seen anything like it.


I ended up posting it on Ana White’s site.  This was about the only DIY type site I looked at back then.


From that point on, it kinda took on a life of its own…


Here’s a pic from Rocker’s Facebook post during an Outdoor project contest.  My pic is featured on the upper left hand.  I thought maybe that meant I was going to win.  But no such luck…



Here’s a pic from Facebook which has a variation of my pic on it.  I’ve seen my actual pic quite a few times on Facebook typically where they are trying to get you to buy the big lot of plans.  I always wondered if they actually had plans to build mine.  Or if it was just an attention getting pic…




I’ve seen quite a few pins on Pinerest with my pic.  I love the person that copied it in the above picture.  They even copied the lantern…  But they added a second lantern.  Great Job.  I guess copying/cloning is the greatest form of flattery?  Mine was reclaimed fence boards.  His wood appears to be new cedar, but either way.  Very nice job.


here’s more pics of similar things from Pinterest, Lowes, Instragram.


I even see now where Lowe’s has a video on putting their up:


Wait.  I’m still waiting on Lowe’s to send me the Royalty check…  : ^ )



A bing search turns up this image.  My pic is in the lower right hand box.

verticalFunny thing, this page gives a link to the DIY instructions.  This would have been nice since I didn’t take time to make any.  But the page link is dead…   No such luck.




Here’s my original pic:



Here’s a few other pics.  These are some raised beds I built.  I had to add the fencing to keep the bunnies out.




A few other pics/games

Posted: August 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

As I was writing a post about the games I had built and posting pictures, I started thinking about some of the other games I had built.  Some of them, I couldn’t find pictures of.  But I was able to find a few pictures.  A couple of are of the existing games, but maybe in use during VBS.

This is a Kerplunk game.  The idea is that every kid comes up and pulls a stick out of the game.  The goal is not to be the one that causes all the balls to fall out of the bottom.  I saw a similar design on Pinterest.  We used garden stakes for the sticks.  We used ball pit balls.  Here’s a few links, if you need to purchase some of this:

Giant Kerplunk Game

Click N’ Play Value Pack of 400 Phthalate Free BPA Free Crush Proof Plastic Ball, Pit Balls – 6 Bright Colors in Reusable and Durable Storage Mesh Bag with Zipper

Hydrofarm HGBB4 4′ Natural Bamboo Stake, pack of 25

I don’t remember how many balls we actually purchased.  I think it was a few hundred.  (like 300 or 400).  I also don’t remember how many stakes it took.  We just kept adding until it would support the balls without any falling through…


From the above pic, you can also see my “Contestant stage boxes”.  Since we were doing a “Game Show” VBS theme, we boxes to make it look like a game show.  The taller box is the one my wife used since she was the host.  The chosen kids stood behind one of the smaller boxes.  The boxes were colored to match the team colors.

Here’s another pic of the boxes.



Here’s a picture my wife sent me of what she wanted the podiums to kinda look like:


That’s typically how this starts.  She sees something and shows me a pic and I get to try to make it happen…


once the boxes were on the stage, we wired them with:

Educational Insights Wireless Eggspert 2.4 GHz

Actually we used the wired version.  But I regretted not getting the wireless one.  The wires were a pain.   Here’s the wired one:

Educational Insights Eggspert

There’s also just buttons, you’ll just have to listen very well so see who buzzes in first:

Learning Resources Answer Buzzers, Set of 4


Here’s a couple of more pics of games that I’ve posted elsewhere on my site.  Here’s a pic of the Connect 4 in action:


Not the best pic in the world.  If you want to see how I made it, check out my blog post here.

Here’s a couple of pics of the Plinko in use:



You can see the blog post for the Plink here.

As usual, I would love to hear your ideas for more games or see pictures of the games you built…