Building and Selling Giant Wooden Dominoes

MOTHER's children article showcases Mona and Matt Rodgers start a small business building and selling giant wooden dominoes made of scrap lumber.

| November/December 1982

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    We knew that the game of dominoes is fun and can provide an excellent way to teach numbers to little children, so we designed our own sets with safety and durability in mind.
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    Photo of the homemade giant dominoes set.
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    Figure 1 diagram: Giant dominoes container.
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    Figure 2 diagram: Template for giant dominoes dot design.
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    Diagram of giant dominoes in play and open spots for further play in the game.

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MOTHER'S CHILDREN: Mona and Matt Rodgers spend their time Christmas gifts of building and selling giant wooden dominoes and in the process create their own small business. (See the domino diagrams and photos in the image gallery.)

MOTHER knows that many youths undertake interesting, original projects and start their own small businesses. To support these endeavors, we buy and publish well-written articles from children and teenagers concerning their efforts. However, we recommend that all young authors query (that is, send us a letter telling about the story they'd like to do) before writing a full article. Send your queries to MOTHER's Children, MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Hendersonville, NC. 

Working together, Mona and Matt Rodgers can finish all the cutting . . . sanding ... and "dotting" required to make a beautiful wooden domino set in about three hours. Although the dominoes were originally fashioned for children, the games make great holiday gifts for people of all ages ... and—at $15 apiece—have proved to be moneymakers for this Youth-run business!

A while back, the two of us (we're brother and sister) were faced with a 4-H child development project that required us to design a toy for children aged three to six. The plaything was supposed to be both educational and made to last . . . and it was not supposed to have sharp edges, or removable parts or paint (which youngsters might chew or swallow).

So to get a few ideas about what we might be able to do, we looked at toy store items and graded them for safety. We both especially liked a set of giant wooden dominoes, but the game pieces had painted-on dots and sharp screws through their centers. On top of that, they weren't even sanded! The toys were practically dangerous . . . and cost $17.95, to boot!

Still, we knew that the game of dominoes is fun and can provide an excellent way to teach numbers to little children, so we designed our own sets with safety and durability in mind. And it turned out that people of all ages enjoy our dominoes! Matt even entered his best set in the county fair and won a championship ribbon. (He went on to take the Reserve Champion prize at the Oregon State Fair, too.) Then friends began placing orders for sets to give away as Christmas presents, and we found ourselves in the wooden domino business!

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