Kids love playing with bean bags. They can be found in every preschool and should be available at home since they are not only fun to play with but educational too.
Here are some fun bean bag activities to try at home or at school with the kids. They are simple and there is little to no prep required.
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How to Make Bean Bags
Bean bags are easily available to buy but it’s also easy to make homemade bean bags with rice.
20 Simple Bean Bag Activities
Here are 20 basic activities and games to play. Many can be improvised or adapted depending on the age and abilities of your children.
1. Bean Bag Balance
Bean bags are a great tool for balancing activities. There are many ways your kids can practise their balancing skills.
You can balance them on your head or on your feet, shoulders, hands or arms. Try carrying one on a wooden spoon without dropping it.
Try adding more bean bags as the skill is mastered and see how many kids can balance on their head or other body parts at the same time.
2. Bean Bag Race
Have a fun race by balancing bean bags on your head and racing to the finish line.
Your kids can race with their siblings or friends. If it is just you and your child, you can race against each other or you can time each lap and encourage your child to improve on her time for each round.
Make this more challenging by changing the rules – hop on one leg to the end, balance two bean bags on your head, race with a bean bag on your ruler, etc.
3. Hula Hoop Toss
This is a good activity for developing aim and hand-eye coordination. Set out some hula hoops on the ground and have your children toss the bean bags into the hoops.
Place the hula hoop close by for a young child and try some variations for older children – such as laying out various hoops at different distances, standing the hoops up and throwing through the vertical hoops, etc.
Make this really fun by assigning points to each hoop, based on where they are and the level of difficulty. Write the numbers 1 to 5 on cardboard and lay them in front of the hoops, in order of difficulty. Then record your scores as you toss your bean bags into the hoops.
Here are more fun hula hoop games for kids.
Hopscotch is a traditional game that is one of my favourites for the multitude of gross motor skills it develops, as well as early maths skills as kids learn to count while hopping on the squares.
Instead of using a stone or pebble, play hopscotch by tossing a bean bag onto the squares.
5. Fishing Toss
Start this game with an art activity. Make some basic fish cutouts from cardboard and decorate the fish in creative ways.
- Draw patterns on them.
- Paint them with a brush or sponge paint them.
- Paste glitter on them.
- Stick pieces of coloured paper on them to collage them.
This will keep the kids busy for ages!
You could also use a ready-made fishing set.
Then, mark out an area on the ground as a “pond” and place the fish inside the pond, scattered randomly. Play the fishing toss game with your children.
Go fishing by aiming and tossing the bean bags at the fish. If the beanbag touches any part of the fish, they have caught the fish. Take turns catching fish.
You will each need a bucket and a bean bag. If you catch one, take the fish out of the pond and keep it in your bucket. If you miss, take your beanbag out of the pond and wait for your next turn. The winner is the person with the most fish at the end.
6. Volleyball Toss
Volleyball Toss must be played with 4 family members or classmates.
You will need two towels and one beanbag.
Set up a net or a makeshift net in the middle of the play area and stand 2 to a side. Each pair holds open a towel (from the corners) and the beanbag is tossed over the net by flicking it up and catching it with the towels.
Try pairing an adult with a child as this could be physically challenging. Also, make the net low so it is not difficult to toss the beanbag over. Adjust the height for older children.
Set up some plastic cups, cones, empty plastic bottles or any other objects that can be used as pins. Throw or slide a beanbag along the ground to knock over the pins.
This is a great gross motor game and can also be mixed with an art activity if you decide to get creative with the cones.
Playing a simple game of catch with a beanbag is an excellent way to build hand-eye coordination.
Children can toss and catch the beanbag alone or with a partner. Simple variations include:
- Toss a beanbag into the air and catch it.
- Count how many times you catch it without dropping it.
- Toss a beanbag to a partner.
- Take a step back after each toss and see from how far you can still catch the beanbag.
9. Bean Bag Hockey
Play hockey inside the house or on a smooth outdoor surface. If you don’t have child-sized hockey sticks, use sticks, brooms or bats.
Use a beanbag as a puck or ball, and set up goals with tape.
Play this game alone with your child or divide up the family or friends into two teams.
Get your kids to practise their juggling skills with some bean bags.
Start with two bean bags and see how many times you can juggle them without dropping them. Then try and walk around while juggling. Add in a third beanbag and give it a bash.
11. Tic Tac Toe
Tic Tac Toe is normally a thinking game but you can also turn it into a gross-motor exercise. Draw a large Tic Tac Toe board on the paving or on a large sheet of paper.
Instead of using noughts and crosses, use two different coloured bean bags to represent two players.
The object is to take turns laying down a beanbag on a square and try to make a row of three. The first person to make a row of three vertically, horizontally or diagonally is the winner.
A game like this doubles as a good midline-crossing activity.
12. Bean Bag Netball
In this variation of netball, use a beanbag instead of a ball. Throw the beanbag to each other (or to your own team members if there are a few players) and score by throwing the beanbag into the hoop.
If you don’t have a netball or basket ball hoop, make one with a hula hoop or a piece of net.
Children can really work on eye-hand coordination by doing a few minutes of shooting practice every now and again.
13. Freeze Dance
This is a variation of the traditional freeze dance, also called the musical statues game.
Turn the music on and dance with your kids while tossing the beanbag to and fro. When the music stops, you all have to freeze in position.
This can be quite fun, especially if the beanbag is flying at you as you freeze. You may get hit on the head by a beanbag but you cannot move to catch it or duck because you’ll be “out”.
14. Bean Bag Hide and Seek
Play hide and seek with the bean bags by hiding them around the house or garden and then sending your kids to look for them. They can earn a point for each beanbag they find.
Teach early maths skills by telling them how many you have hidden and ask them to find them all. Count them as they find them and bring them to you, one at a time.
You can also play ‘hot and cold’ by saying whether they are getting hotter or colder as they move closer to or further from a hidden beanbag.
Then, swap roles and find the bags your kids have hidden.
15. Cornhole Toss
To play cornhole toss you will need a cornhole board or you can make one by cutting a hole into a piece of wood. For a very basic version, make one out of thick cardboard.
Mark a place to stand and toss the beanbag into the hole. If it lands on the board you score 1 point; if it lands in the hole score 2 points. Take turns and the first one to 20 points wins. Adjust the score and rules depending on the children’s ages.
16. Hot Potato
Hot Potato is a classic children’s party game that can be played with a beanbag, to music.
The children sit in a circle and the ‘hot potato’ is passed from child to child but must not be held onto for too long or it will burn hands. The aim is not to drop the potato.
This is a fun gross-motor game that can also be adapted to get children crossing the midline and learning their left and right sides. Teach them to receive the beanbag from the child on their left with their right hand, pass it to their left hand and pass it to the child on their right. If they use the wrong hand they are out.
Children will get muddled up and giggle a lot but will soon get the hang of it.
17. Hacky Sack
This may be challenging for young children but give it a bash anyway.
Play hacky sack with a beanbag by bouncing it on your foot without dropping it on the floor. Count how many times you can bounce it without dropping it and try to beat your own score.
This will develop foot-eye coordination skills.
18. Endurance Race
Set up a simple endurance challenge by giving tasks to carry out with the bean bags. Once a task is completed, the next task must be done until the set is complete.
Here are some examples of tasks:
- Hop on one foot while holding the beanbag.
- Kick the beanbag along the floor.
- Balance the beanbag on your foot while walking.
- Crawl on all fours with the beanbag on your back.
- Walk backwards with the beanbag on your head.
- Hold the beanbag under your chin.
On a piece of paper, ‘draw’ the instructions for each lap using a symbol – for example a pic of a beanbag on a head, a foot kicking a bag, a symbol for a hop, etc. A lap could be around a set of cones or to the other side of the room and back.
This way your children have to ‘read’ the next instruction after each round and complete the challenge independently. This is a great pre-reading activity that teaches children that symbols represent ideas and messages.
Time kids for completing all the tasks and then encourage them to attempt to beat their time.
19. Bean Bag Twister
For this game, you will need a Twister mat and a spinner, or make one with multiple colours.
To play, toss the beanbag onto the colour that the spinner landed on. This is a fun and interactive way to learn colours.
20. Simon Says
Simon says is a great game for teaching listening and attention skills and can easily be played with a beanbag.
Here are some fun Simon Says commands you can try. Adapt them to play with bean bags.
I hope you’ll enjoy trying some of these fun beanbag activities.
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