10. Jumbled like Jenga

Ever since she was a kindergarten kid, she had loved building blocks. Her favourite game was to build them up so high that she had to stand on a chair to put those last blocks on to the top of the tower.

It was hard for her to share those blocks with the other children especially as all they wanted to do was to knock them down again.

Her teachers understood how important the block work was to her.  She used big words like tessellation and buttresses to describe the patterns and structures she built. They took photos to describe her learning, recorded her stories about her structures, and what she was learning.

If they were a little concerned about her social skills, they didn’t voice it to her.  They just planned to extend her play so she could share her building ideas with the other children.

One morning she came into the playroom and found a different type of block. The other children were playing with it in quite a different way.  They had stacked the blocks but instead of crashing them all down at once, they were very carefully removing one at a time. It seemed they were trying to keep the blocks from falling. 

Her thoughts were tumbling around in her mind. Why would that be happening? It looked like fun though so she moved a little closer and watched for a while.

Suddenly someone pulled out a block and the tower started to wobble.  The children sniggered and held their breath.  The tower steadied and the next child took a turn. Trembling fingers twitched at the edge of one of the blocks. The wobbling began again. Only this time the wobble turned into a tremor, then a shake then the collapse started. A loud crash and lots of giggles as suddenly the Jenga blocks came crashing down. What a jumble of Jenga there was.

She could see how the mistake had been made. She suggested the next time they could try a different way of stacking so the blocks could be more strongly buttressed. The children spent the rest of the morning trying out different patterns – together.

This is a response to a Flash Fiction prompt from ‘Putting My Feet In the Dirt’, Writing Prompts hosted by ‘M’.

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