Beanbags are one of the most useful learning tools you can find. The low cost and seemingly endless instant activities make beanbags a good choice for learning and having fun! Use them with or without a partner. You can use them for party contests, skill building, fitness challenges, number counting exercises, and social partner activities that enhance communication skills.
What You Do:
- Clap N’ Catch – Have your child throw the beanbag in the air, clap his hands, and then catch the bag. Challenge your child to clap two, three, four times, or more while the beanbag is in the air. Each time he's successful, he can try the next highest number.
- Bean Balance – See how many different body parts can be used to balance the beanbag. If your child can balance on a body part pretty easily, challenge him to move in different directions. Have him try balancing the beanbag on these body parts: forehead, top of the head, back the of neck, shoulder, bent elbow, wrist, top the of thigh, knee, top of the foot, heel of the foot (with his leg bent). Which one is easiest? Which is more of a challenge?
- Catch Me If You Can – With a partner, use just one beanbag and decide who will start first with the bag. Stand about three feet apart and toss the bag underhand back and forth to one another. If you both catch the bag you each take one step farther back, slightly increasing your distance. Repeat this process until one person drops the bag. At that point, you can start over or decide to step closer to each other for a retry.
- Math Bag - Use your chalk to make a grid of numbers (9 small squares touching sides) on the pavement. Randomly write numbers in the square (1-9 or odd/even numbers). Have your child or another contestant stand a minimum of six feet away, or farther distances for more of a challenge. Each person tosses 3 bags onto the grid trying to score the highest cumulative score. Have your (or another) child add the score up for extra math practice! Play as many rounds as you like.
- Word Spell – Toss the beanbags on letters to spell out a challenge word. This is a good exercise for reinforcing sight words or recent spelling test words. Use your chalk to write the alphabet on the pavement. Make each letter 6-12 inches in height. Use rows of letters closely situated to each other. For example, write A-G on the first row, and continue with 5-8 letters for each row until you reach the letter Z. Choose a distance of at least six feet and now you are ready to play. An easy way to start this activity is to give the first person 5 beanbags and ask him to spell a word of your choosing. The object is to try and spell the word with the least amount of throws. If the word is “cat” and it takes 5 beanbags to spell the word, the score would be 5. Have the next player choose a word of the same length or try for the same word.
When you've had your fill of these suggested games, challenge your child to come up with his own!