Ultimate Guide To Bean Bag Activities and Games

Your Ultimate Guide To Bean Bag Activities And Games

Beanbags are a must-have in every equipment room or storage closet! They’re easy to store and can be used for tossing, a myriad of movement activities, and a collection of learning and developmental games. I am sharing bean bag activities that can be used across the curriculum, at home, or in any therapy or learning environment.

Beanbags can help your child with motor development. As you implement beanbags you can expect to notice improvements in the following areas:

  • Hand-eye Coordination (good for handwriting skills)
  • Visual-Motor Skills (Tracking for reading and writing)
  • Attention and Focus (sitting still at the child’s desk, less fidgeting, listening to the teacher)
  • Gross Motor Skills (posture, copying notes from the chalkboard)
  • Fine Motor Development (improves directionality of letters and numbers, pencil grip)
  • Executive Functioning Skills (organization, retention, problem-solving, critical thinking)
  • Motor Planning (processing, coordination, handwriting, forming words)

So just because the activity is grouped in the motor skills section doesn’t mean it has no value in other developmental areas. Quite the opposite! But I have grouped them as best I can to organize them for your convenience in choosing activities!

girl throwing bean bags in the air as part of a beanbag game on the ultimate guide to bean bag activities and games

Bean bag activities create learning experiences through fun

When I was a child we had a bean bag frog (way before the era of beanie toys) We loved our Froggie and played with him all the time! From a diverting game of hot potato, to throwing him at a target, to using him as an action toy. I had NO idea at the time that by playing with him in all these ways my brother and I were learning so many important skills!

Bean Bag Activities To Use For Every Developmental Area

Bean Bag Activities For Motor Skills

  • Bean bag balance: Balance a beanbag on your head while
    • walking
    • doing scissor steps
    • stepping heel to toe
    • on tip-toe
    • walking on a rope or duct tape laid in a straight line
    • taking giant steps
    • walking around various obstacles
  • Bean Bag Toss: toss a bean bag in the air
    • to yourself
    • to a friend
      • start close together and take a step back each turn
    • add a clap while the bean bag is mid-air
      • see how many claps you can add
    • catch with one hand
    • use small buckets, pots, or large plastic glasses to catch with
  • Hanging Bean Bag Toss: Suspend the beanbag from a tree branch, or doorway with a rope in a netted bag. The child can then toss the beanbag away from them and catch it when it rebounds! (source)
  • Bean Bag Relay:
    • Have children stand in a line front to back. The first child hands a beanbag, overhead,  to the person behind them, repeat until you get to the last child. The last child tosses the beanbag into the bucket and runs to the front of the line to repeat.
    • child, or children, stand behind a line and run beanbags across the yard and throw them in a bucket, then run back to the starting line while another child takes off to do the same until all the beanbags are in the bucket. variations include, but are not limited to:
      • hop with the beanbag
      • crawl with the beanbag
      • carry the beanbag in a spoon
      • scoot the beanbag with their nose
      • hop on one leg with the beanbag balanced on the other foot (with a much shorter distance)
      • skip with the beanbag
      • race to the finish line while balancing the beanbag on various body parts. They can balance on their head, arm, back, or back of their hand
  • Hitting A Target: Throw a bean bag at a target. Center the target in front of the child or for an added twist, Place the target to the front and side so they have to cross their imaginary mid-line in order to hit it. If the child is right-handed the target will be off-center to the left. Target ideas include:
    • a bucket
    • a line on the floor
    • a hula hoop
    • an X or circle taped to the wall
    • a bullseye marked on a box propped up against a wall or chair
    • cornhole board
    • laundry basket
  • Bean Bag Pass: sit in a circle and pass the beanbag around. Variations include, but are not limited to:
    • hot potato, or bag in this case. Pass it to music, when the music stops, the child holding the bag is out. For large groups, the player who is left holding the bag moves to the center of the circle, when the center can no longer hold any more players, the game is over! Another variation would be for the player holding the bag when the music stops to get a point. The player with the fewest points at the end wins.
  • Duck, Duck, Goose! When the child chooses a “goose” they put a beanbag on their head 🙂
  • Unfreeze A Friend: Every player places a bean bag onto their head then must move around the play space keeping the bag balanced. If the bag falls, the player must let it drop to the ground and freeze. Other players may help frozen players by picking the bean bag up off the ground and handing them to the frozen player to put back on their heads and move again.
  • Shuffleboard: indoor, or out. Draw with chalk for outdoors, or using tape for indoors, 4 lines on the ground/floor. Take turns sliding bean bags as far beyond the first three lines — without sliding the bags beyond the fourth line. After sliding three bags each, tally points. One point per bag past the first line, two past the second line and three past the third line.
  • Bean Bag Frenzy: for large groups. Place hula hoops around a large room or gym with beanbags in them. It helps if they can be color-coordinated, but you could label for teams. Players transfer the beanbags to the other hoops by balancing, hopping, skipping, or running them to the other hoops! (source)
  • Crossing the Midline activities with beanbags

Even more great links to activities with beanbags!

 

Bean Bag Activities For Learning Concepts

 

  • Tic-Tac-Toe: You will need two different colors of beanbags, 5 of each color. Use colored tape to layout a tic-tac-toe board on the floor. Take turns with two different colored bean bags, placing them into each square, trying to get three in a row. For an added challenge, create a tossing line a few steps back from the tic tac toe field and require players to toss their bean bags in each square.
  • Hide The Bean Bag: Players take turns hiding the beanbag(s) and the others find them (think Easter egg hunt, or hide and go seek)
  • Bean Bag Ring Toss: Use pool type diving rings, colorful plastic plates, yoga dots, or frisbees as targets to throw matching colored bean bags onto.
  • Recite Verses: Here are some ideas to get you started on verses to recite while passing or tossing beanbags as a learning aid. great for
    • Circle time
    • memory work
    • counting
    • letters
    • transitioning from one activity to the next and
    • solidifying routines
  • Counting: count each beanbag as it gets tossed into a bucket
  • Color Change! place all of the beanbags in the middle of a circle of children. One child picks up a beanbag and names the color. The children pass the beanbag around the circle while a snippet of music plays, when the music shuts off, the child holding the beanbag puts it back and chooses another, announcing it’s color. Repeat.
  • Hot Seat: Play as if you were playing the classic “hot potato” game. When the music stops, instead of being ‘out’, the child with the beanbag answers a question. What month is it? Name the days of the week. What is 2+2? Read the sight word. Up to infinity!
  • Lots of learning and transitioning ideas Here.
  • Adding and Subtracting: Use beanbags as manipulatives for basic math concepts.
  • Number matching: Write numbers 1-5 (or higher) on cards, or sheets of paper. One number per card. Have the child place the corresponding number of beanbags under each number.
  • Teaching Directional words: here is a fun song for teaching directional words
  • Bean Bag Song
  • More ideas on Teaching with Beanbags!

 

Using Bean Bags For Music Therapy, Tactile Stimulation, Sensory Regulation And Senior Activity

 

many people need that strong sensory input so their bodies can communicate with their brains more effectively.

  • This song/game  for tactile stimulation, sensory regulation, following one-step directions, and turn-taking skill using our textured bean bags
  • Tactile Matching Game: Start by laying out one beanbag of each texture, then the child feels inside a bag containing the remaining beanbags for a matching texture for each. Alternatively, present the child with one textured bag at a time for them to find that texture.
  • Beanbag Baseball: A fun game to keep seniors active.

 

 

Even More Bean Bag Ideas

For even more ideas to use beanbags for play and learning get our free Bean Bags, Bean Bags Galore!

Pin this for later!

Joy is a mom of 6 (ages 5-26) who has a passion for encouraging moms! With three already grown up, married and having families of their own, three still at home, 2 kids with Down syndrome, and having been through a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis in a teen she has definately been through some ups and downs. However, she believes that each mom is divinely appointed and equipped to raise her particular kid(s) better than anyone else in the world no matter how it may feel on any particular day! She wants to inspire Your Mom heart as well as making the more practical aspects of running a household a tad easier over at JoyonthisMomJourney.com

7 Indoor Activities For Fun On Winter Days

Fun Indoor Activities That Will Make You A Hero One Day This Winter!

Keep these fun indoor activities on hand for those times this winter when you find yourself stuck in the house for an extended period of time with a little less room than you wish you had, a little more noise than you can stand, and maybe even a little less patience than you need!

 

girl with bean bags deicting fun activities for for winter days

When it’s too cold to be outside

When the wind is howling and the ice is raining down and there is no chance for fun games outside you will need some quick diversions! I put together this list of fun indoor activities to keep everyone moving, mind as well as body, and to help strengthen family ties when you might otherwise be making less than sweet memories.

My kids love to play in the snow. Actually, I do too! One particular winter, though. The snow came, but it was so cold out there we couldn’t enjoy it at all. We were freezing after just a few minutes. We only ventured out for dire necessities! The kids ended up watching way to much Television. You know how that goes, what was extremely entertaining for a few hours becomes the source of squabbles and before you know it the screen zombies are out in full force haggling over anything and everything! Something has to give in these times and a good list of indoor games will make you a hero!

7Fun Activities when stuck indoors

Plastic Cup Building

Hand the kids several sets of plastic cups and let them build to their heart’s content! Towers, forts, pyramids, you name it. Go freestyle or have an engineering contest, it’s up to you.

Sensory play bins

Plastic tubs holding various dry materials, add scoops, spoons, and tiny utensils and you have an afternoon of fun. Another fun add-on is small toys for even more pretend play and communication skills opportunities. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination on this one.

Some good materials are Dry macaroni, dry beans or peas of all shapes and sizes, peat moss, coconut coir, and salt, to name a few.

Bean bag color shoot

Place different colors of construction paper on the ground. Either in a line with the child standing behind it or in a circle with the child standing in the middle of it. The child holds bean bags in corresponding colors. The object is for the child to throw each beanbag onto its corresponding color.

Play band, or parade

The only way to make this game better is to first make your own homemade instruments! My kids used to spend hours making their own instruments, then march and play with them all afternoon! This post has some great ideas for making your own simple and fun instruments.

Read a book

Or 2 or 3. Spend the afternoon with a great read-aloud. Set up a picnic in the living room and settle in for the long- haul! My favorite winter activity by far.

Play board games

This is such a great activity to build community. There is always peals of laughter at some point. In our family, ALL the kids love the thrill of beating mom!

Dance Party!

Turn on some music. Pull out some movement props like scarves, jingle bells, or streamers and let the creative times roll!

Or play Beanbag freeze! Turn on the music and everyone dances, tossing beanbags about as they go. Turn off the music and everyone must freeze! I’m sure this would insight some real drama in any age group! (source: MeaningfulMama)

Balloon ball games

Our Balloon balls are just the thing for inside! They have the airy lightness of a balloon, with a little kick provided by the texture of the material covering. They keep ball games safe for indoors!

  • Keep away
  • Catch
  • Categories, saying the name when you hit the balloon
  • Basketball into a basket or tub for a new twist
  • Dodgeball

and more…

 

Beanbag games

Meaningful Mama has a whole post with great bean bag ideas! You will find everything from balancing games, tossing games, endurance games, relays, to obstacle activities and more there. Take a look at all her bean bag ideas here.

 

Winning with fun indoor activities

Print this off, get any props, pieces, or ingredients you might not have on hand, and tuck it away for that inevitable house-bound day when you need something special!

Your kids will love it, and who knows, you might all end the day wishing you’ll be stuck inside again soon!

Save it to Pinterest for extra precaution 😉

Joy is a mom of 6 (ages 5-26) who has a passion for encouraging moms! With three already grown up, married and having families of their own, three still at home, 2 kids with Down syndrome, and having been through a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis in a teen she has definately been through some ups and downs. However, she believes that each mom is divinely appointed and equipped to raise her particular kid(s) better than anyone else in the world no matter how it may feel on any particular day! She wants to inspire Your Mom heart as well as making the more practical aspects of running a household a tad easier over at JoyonthisMomJourney.com

12 Ideas to Reimagine Teaching with Beanbags

Fresh ideas for using bean bags this fall in the music room or choral rehearsal.

As summer vacation draws to a close, it is always fun to get some fresh ideas for the beginning of the school year.  So go ahead and add some ways to use the bean bags from Bear Paw Creek to your repertoire! These activities will also bring giggles and smiles to teaching the potentially humdrum foundations of music making. 

This blog will share activities using beanbags not only the classroom, but also in choral rehearsal. In addition, at the end of the post is a game I developed exclusively for you, the fans of Bear Paw Creek’s Blog!  This game is open-ended, so with some poster board and markers, and of course, beanbags, you can make a delightful game that can address any skill your students need to work on.

I have been thinking about beanbags a lot lately. It is a shame for a prop that raises the spirits of students and teachers alike to be overlooked. Especially considering its durability and versatility. Why don’t we use them more?  And, if we don’t have them, why not? They are certainly one of the most affordable props out there.  In fact, www.bearpawcreek.com has bean bags for just $20 per dozen, and you can even choose the bright or muted color palette or texture that works best for your students’ needs.

If the obstacle is a lack of awareness of how to use this awesome prop, then let’s overcome it, with these 12 ideas that will help you to reimagine teaching with beanbags. These ideas include activities that I have developed, as well as some existing activities that I have adapted to beanbags, not to mention the exclusive game at the end of this blog.

Let’s get you excited for the new school year, and for using that underdog of props, beanbags!

Bean Bag Activities for the Classroom

1.Ostinato Bean Bags: Teach your ostinato, but in a kinesthetic way. Students toss the bean bag from hand-to-hand in rhythm with their singing.

2. Quick Sort: Looking for a fast way to divide students up for an activity?  If you have a variety of bean bag colors then you can hand out bean bags in a color-coded manner to designate groups/activities.  For example, if you wanted to have a sound ensemble activity, you could designate red=sung sounds, yellow=spoken sounds, orange=whisper sounds etc, and a next step would be holding up a red beanbag to start the sung group’s performances.

3. Bean Bag Engagement: Not that kind of engagement! I like to use props like the bean bags to call on students. It is an incredibly easy way to infuse more mundane tasks with fun.  I also like to have the students use this method to call on each other, which makes your existing activity even more entertaining.

4. Bean Bag SMART Notebooks: There are some great SMART notebooks available that allow students to randomly select a question or challenge by popping a bubble. Rather than walking up and popping it, you can safely have student underhand toss a bean bag at the board. My students love this method!  SMART Notebook exchange has “Candy Rhythms Koosh Ball Game” and Teachers Pay Teachers has several as well.

5. Bean Bag Shakers: If you are a new teacher that doesn’t have many props or an itinerant teacher trying to reduce how much equipment you move, consider using bean bags as a percussion instrument. You can shake or tap it, and the volume is low, so it may be just right if you have students with sound sensitivity.

6. Steady Beat Bags: When students are still learning to find the steady beat, a strategy is to have the student gently tap their chest. Putting a bean bag in that hand makes it more fun, and adds more sensation. 

Bean Bag Activities for the Classroom or Choral Rehearsal

7. Treble or Bass Clef Toss: Use masking tape to create a five line staff on the floor and have students toss a bean bag onto the staff. Then they name the note based on which line or space it lands on. Another option would be drawing the staff on poster board or other moveable surfaces to make a portable version if you are an itinerant teacher.

8. Bean Bag Rhythm: A variation on the ostinato bean bag activity above, requiring students that are struggling with a particular rhythm to toss the beanbag to the steady beat.  This could be up and down in one hand or hand-to-hand as they say rhythm syllables, chant the lyrics in rhythm, or sing the troublesome section.

9. Bean Bag Note Values: I was introduced to this activity with tennis balls, and it works great with bean bags too. Assign each note value a bean bag movement that will take an appropriate amount of time. For example: two eighth notes= fast hand-to-hand toss, quarter note= single hand toss, half note= go around body 1st beat in front of body 2nd beat in back, whole note= same as half but stopping in four points- 1 front, 2 side, 3 back, and 4 other side.  Students should verbalize the counts as another pathway to learning. Display the note value students are performing so that they can make the connections between the symbol, the movement and value.  Once the students are proficient, I turn on pop music and have the students perform various note values to the beat, continuing to display the note symbols and point to them throughout.

 

Bean Bag Activities for Choral Rehearsal

10. Part Throw: If singers are forgetting that they don’t sing in a particular section, play a game!  As that section begins, have the forgetful singers toss their beanbag to a chorus member who is supposed to sing that part.  It will be so memorable that they will probably not make that mistake again.

11. Projection Toss:  This thrilling activity was intended for adults using a football, but I have adapted it here for children using beanbags. If your chorus is not projecting their voices to the back of the rehearsal space, try having them send their sound out with the bean bag by tossing it forward (after you get out of the way!). Alternatively, singers could get into pairs and have them sing a phrase tossing to their partner and then their partner sings a phrase tossing it back.

 

Here it is… your exclusive open-ended game:

The Bullseye of Music!

As I was thinking about ways to use bean bags that would be fun and engaging for our students, I also factored in that we teachers don’t necessarily have much time to craft. So if I was going to create something, I wanted it to be a game that could be used for different units.  The result is a game that can be used throught the year, with any age and the only thing you’ll need to change is the Fact Sheet.  

The 12th activity, The Bullseye of Music! :

How it works:

  1. Have two children, or the whole class play.
  2. Child A throws the bean bag at the bullseye.
  3. Child B (the opponent or class representative) announces the color which their bean bag hit.
  4. Child A puts the tip of a pencil into a paper clip in the center of the spinner for that color and flicks it. The paper clip indicates a number.
  5. Child B gives Child A the task or question based on the color and number, and they have a blast performing it!                                                                                                                                                                 

I didn’t design this for keeping score so there isn’t a plan for that, but you could certainly develop one.  The game is so engaging because the target requires skill and the spinner is pure chance.  I put the arts Integration/extra fun activities in the center, on red, to make them harder to get. 

How to Make Bullseye of Music Game Pieces:

Materials: Foam poster board, For tracing- a frying pan & small bowl, Poster markers/paint, Pencil, Paper clip, Paper, Sheet protector/clipboard

Steps:

  1. Target– Sketch the biggest possible circle you can on the poster board
  2.  Trace frying pan and small bowl creating the concentric circles of a target
  3.  Color each ring in a different color (I went the traditional route of red yellow and blue)
  4.  Spinner– On the paper, use the small bowl to trace three circles and coordinate the colors to match the circles on the target
  5.  Divide the circles into five sections (or more) and number them
  6.  Fact Sheet– create blue questions or activities of an easy level and number them 1-5 to match the spinner, and repeat for yellow   being medium level and red being difficult/super fun. Zoom in on the image above for an example Fact Sheet.
  7.  Print out Fact Sheet and slip into a sheet protector and plan to give to Child B or the Opponent described above.
  8.  Once the materials are done, grab your Bear Paw Creek bean bags, pencil and a paper clip and start having a fantastic time learning new concepts or reviewing!

Remember, all you have to do from here is create a new Fact Sheet to totally change the game!

Thanks: My appreciation to my music teacher colleagues in Anne Arundel County, MD for being such wonderful teachers and collaborators.

I hope you enjoy your bean bags in the classroom or rehearsal all the more for having some new ideas.

BPC has a great selection of bean bags right here on bearpawcreek.com.

Leah Murthy is a music educator, performer and military spouse. She is currently a Doctoral candidate in Music Education at Boston University, holds a Master’s in Music Education from The Boston Conservatory, has 15 years experience teaching music and recent contributions to professional journals such as The American Organist and The Chorister. When she is not teaching music in Maryland, or playing with her two little girls, she is in Washington D.C. conducting for The National Children’s Chorus.

Summer Activities for Kids

A few ideas for when life slows down a bit.

 

 

A few great things to do away and at home with your kids… for when they ask to get on the computer, iPads, WII, Xbox… Well, you know…

Nothing wrong with extra time to enjoy their electronics during the summer, but here’s a list of alternatives to “gaming” their summer away.

The ebb and flow of summertime.

This morning, I enjoyed coffee with my dad as we chatted with my six-year-old.

We listened to her account of a nightmare about spiders, followed by ther dream of giant pink bugs. We speculated on the relative scariness of bugs that are huge, even if they are a shade of pink… It was good to just sit and talk and laugh a little with the morning cheer shining through the window.

Just two and a half weeks into June and we’ve already enjoyed: 1) A family reunion, 2. Two summer camps, 3. Family visiting in our home, and 4. A wedding weekend out of town. For the next few days, we’ve got the pleasure of having my dad here. Then we’ll finish out with another summer camp (for my younger kids this time). What a fun whirlwind – talk about a full month with many precious memories made!

The remainder of my calendar for this summer looks pretty empty, with enough time to be a bit more leisurely. There’s plenty of space to enjoy more coffee and conversation in the morning. I’ll have room in my days for contemplation. We won’t have places to rush off to and  I’ll have no piles of post-camp-laundry to catch up on. Our pace will slow down.

As my kids adjust to having greater ammounts of free time, I want to make sure those days aren’t all filled up with screen time . I’ve been strategizing about mostly “unplugged” activities we can enjoy. When my kids are asking to be on the computer all day, I’ll be ready with these ideas.

[Tweet “Here’s a list of alternatives to “gaming” their summer away.”]

A list of activities to enjoy with kids this summer:

Berry picking and peach harvesting.

We have so many orchards and berry farms around us. I missed the strawberry picking season (busy!), but this week is the perfect time for picking blueberries around here. For information about farms and orchards near you, go to this website: pickyourown.org.

To extend the fun, you can also read the classic, Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey while you eat your fresh berries over ice cream.

Journaling to inspire the love of writing and build confidence.

My husband and I sell used books on Amazon and occasionally I snag one from the “sell” pile if I fall in love with it.

The book, In the Company of Children, by Joanne Hindley, falls into that category. This is a warm, friendly book which helps you and your reluctant writer get past the paralysis of the blank page. It is not only a “how-to” book on journaling but also a “why” for motivation. She’s encouraging and injects a sense of community into the writing process.

I’m looking forward to bringing this into our family and seeing what it does for our family. I can see the influence of this book reaching into the adult years of my children, enhancing their grasp of good communication and their enjoyment of it as well.

Planning for when it’s too hot or rainy outside:

Watching this series on YouTube

Last year I studied Geography with my kids and about three months ago we stumbled across this channel Geography Now, created by Paul Barbato, pretty much from the first video we were hooked. He uses humor, and great visuals to make all the countries you’re a bit unclear about memorable. I want my kids to have a working knowledge of the world and it’s people. That’s a pretty tall order but this channel is a great starting point for both. For an overview, take a look at this:

Create a cooking lesson for your kids.

Whether you create your own (using favorite recipes) or use a monthly kit like Radishkids.com, summertime has the best opportunities to find pockets of time for cooking with your kids.

I know it’s kind of scary for some of us, but it really is worth the time and the mess to do this with your kids. The key is: Don’t do try cooking lessons with your kids when you’re in a hurry. Seriously, a four-hour block of time will make you much more relaxed about the process and cleanup! Maybe you only do this a couple of times this summer, but that’s okay!

Resources from Bear Paw Creek

Bean Bags.

I’ve got a set of bean bags from Bear Paw Creek, which my kids love. They are great for tossing inside (or outside) into bowls, knocking over empty bottles, for practicing juggling (Yeah, still working on that one.) and with an oversized checkerboard (squares painted or drawn on a sheet or fabric).

We use them at church as a way to get busy bodies moving before or after the lesson. Every Sunday (I’m not exaggerating. EVERY Sunday!) the kids ask to get the bean bags out. These are a great tool for every parent to have in their Summertime Boredom Toolbox.

Stretchy Bands in Circle Time.

Another great tool to pull out when you prefer to be inside is the Connect-a-Stretchy Band. These stretchy bands can be used for Circle Time each morning.

What is Circle Time you ask? Here’s an example from a mom at home: Creating a Circle Time in Your Home, by Jamie Martin on Simple Homeschool gives an overview and links to her vlog so you can see them in action.

Below is an example of a singing and movement Circle Time using a stretchy band from Bear Paw Creek (with plenty of giggles included):

If you want more tips and ideas on doing Circle Time take a look at this recent post by Carol Stephens of Macaroni Soup. She gives very practical tips and has great songs to use on her website.

If you want to know the “why” of using the stretchy band during Circle time, take a look at this post, by Allysa Wilkins of Dynamic Lynks, to understand the benefits the stretchy with your kids.

Summer Snowball Fight!

Have you heard of the Instant Snowball Fight? 

It’s great for winter fun when you live somewhere that doesn’t get snow and it’s great for the summer! This is an activity you can do inside, outside, in the pool, at a lake, really, anywhere. 

Snowball Movement Prop Set+ Kids = Indoor Snowball Fight

Don’t even get me started on the scarves and ribbons!

 

Have you seen what kids do when you get dancing scarves and ribbons in their hands? Whether dancing on the lawn, or in your front room, your kids will have a blast! Take a look at the resources I have listed in Ribbons Dancing and Scarves, Oh My!

I hope your summer is filled with fun. That it has a good ebb and flow of activities and rest.

Be sure to check out all of the movement props that Bear Paw Creek carries. Be prepared with these low-tech, high-fun ways for your kids to interact and play. Be prepared when your child says, “Can I play on the computer?” for the 50th time in a row. 😉

 

Jenette is a freelance writer of web content, blogs, and podcast show notes. She is also a wife and imperfect mother, whose family mean the world to her. She’s looking forward to July, when you’ll find her carving out time for all of this fun stuff and more. Jenette’s business website is at www.mywordsforhire.com.

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3 Bean Bag Games For Thanksgiving

Games to Encourage Thankfulness.

Are you looking for a few low-prep games to inspire thanksgiving on the part of your students, your family and even yourself?

Well, here are three you can play with bean bags.

For two of the games, bean bags are all you’ll need. For the last one, you’ll need some buckets or a few bowls (or boxes… Whatever you have handy.) Each of these games can take up just fifteen minutes or can be played as long as you like.

active-games-to-encourage-thankfulness-1

Thanksgiving is good for the soul.

Autumn is a time to enjoy sweaters, cool walks, and baking sweets and bread without overheating the house.

It’s cozy.

Yet everything seems to speed up this time of year and we can find the holidays upon us if we dare to blink. In the stores we see Thanksgiving items laid out beside Christmas decorations before October has even closed her door. This used to frustrate me, but honestly, this year I’m filled with anticipation because Thanksgiving has become one of my favorite celebrations. 

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Woven throughout my family’s history, is a struggle with various kinds of depression and anxiety. As I grew into a woman, my mom shared that history with me and she also shared with me the role thanksgiving can play in refocusing our thoughts.

My mom relied on three strategies when she was depressed:

  1. Focusing on her belief in the goodness and love of God and casting her cares on Him.
  2. Giving thanks for past graces and gifts in her life.
  3. Finding ways to bless other people.

Depression is no light matter, and these are not easy-as-pie strategies, in fact, body chemistry is often involved in depression. However, these strategies have played a part in keeping me going through my bouts with nonclinical depression. 

  • A spirit of thankfulness helps us and blesses other people as we express our appreciation for them.
  • Thanksgiving is an attitude we want to instill in our children as much for their benefit as for the benefit of others.
  • Memories of hard times and how we made it through, are especially strengthening (as much as those memories of good times.)

In the midst of the coming Thanksgiving season, these fun games can turn our hearts toward being thankful and perhaps spark some good conversations about memories of times past.

“The unthankful heart… discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!” -Henry Ward Beecher

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Here are three fun & simple bean bag games for promoting thankfulness.

These games can be played in or out of doors depending on the weather in your neck of the woods. They work great:

  • In a preschool with little ones.
  • For a rainy day recess at school.
  • In your living room for a circle-time homeschool activity.
  • For recreation time in a nursing home.
  • For Sunday school or youth group time.
  • For your family on Thanksgiving Day, when the kids are restless. 

Game 1:

You’ll need one bean bag for this game. 

  1. Have everyone sit in a circle facing each other (on the floor or in chairs.)
  2. One person has a bean bag in his hand.
  3. He tells what how he is thankful for someone else in the circle, then tosses the bean bag to that person.
  4. That person tells how she is thankful for someone else in the circle and tosses the bean bag to that person.

Make sure the teacher is also seated in the circle so that he or she can make sure that thankfulness can be expressed for each child in the circle. If needed the teacher start by being the one to express thankfulness for each child and having that child toss the bean bag back after she has tossed it to him. The teacher then repeats this until each child has heard what the teacher is thankful for in that child.

 

How long has it been since you've played with bean bags-

Game 2:

You’ll need one bean bag for this game.

  1. Have everyone sit in a circle facing each other.
  2. Start by saying something you are thankful for that starts with the letter A.
  3. Toss or hand the bean bag to the person beside you.
  4. That person tells something she is thankful for which starts with the letter B.
  5. Continue around the circle until you get to Z.

Don’t worry if this gets a little silly. The point is to have fun and get the juices going about being thankful. Another variation is to put on music and pass it around until the music stops, then have that person tell the thing that he is thankful for. Turn the music back on and continue around until it stops, then let the next person say what he’s thankful for.

 

Game 3:

You’ll need a dozen bean bags for this game and twelve sheets of paper.

  1. Put the sheets of paper side by side in sets of threes on the floor or on a table (no drinks, snacks or breakables on the table please.)
  2. On the papers write one of the following words, so that each set of papers has one of each word:
    • People.
    • Things.
    • Memories.
  3. Divide everyone into four groups (each group will have three bean bags). If you only have a few people, then just make two groups.
  4. When you say, “Go!”
    • The person at the front of the line says a person’s name for which he is thankful then tosses a beanbag in the bowl marked People.
    • He then tells something he is thankful for and tosses the bean bag in the bowl marked Things.
    • Lastly, he tosses a bean bag in the bowl marked Memory as he tells of something he’s thankful for doing.
  5. He then picks up the bean bags out of the bowl and passes it to the next person in line.
  6. The next person repeats steps four and five.

A few important notes: If you have a student in class who has trouble with speech, skip saying “Go!” and having the groups race each other. Instead, make it a turn-taking activity. You can still split large classes into four groups but have them go to different corners of the room to take turns.

This is a game which would be fun to play intergenerationally as younger people could share in the memories of their grandparents. 

A variation of this game which might work well in a nursing home would be to tape off the floor in the middle of the sitting area into four squares with a subject for each square which could be marked: Place, Person, Memory, Food. The residents could sit in the chairs and in wheelchairs surrounding the squares. If the bean bag lands on memory, the person tossing the bean bag can tell of a person they are thankful for. If the bean bag lands on place she can tell of a favorite place she is thankful for. 

 

 

 

Print out these bean bag games and take them with you.

CASEY w border

I know it’s handy to be able to file ideas like this, so feel free to print out this pdf of these games and take them with you to class, or wherever you’ll be using them.

If you’re looking for a great resource to buy fbean bags, Bear Paw Creek has got them for you. You can buy a dozen bean bags and they’ll come with a handy tote to store them in. Speaking of storage, have you taken a look at this post Julie Palmieri wrote about storing movement props and musical instruments? She has great tips and links for organizing. Take a look!

 

What games will you be playing to connect and get the “wiggles” out with your kids this Thanksgiving? Leave a note in the comments and share your ideas with us.

 

Hello, my name is Jenette Clay. I’m a freelance writer, but most of all a wife, mom, daughter and friend. I blog at www.mywordsforhire.com about how small businesses can improve their internet presence. I’m thankful for the inspiration and encouragement Janet has given me as a friend and client through Bear Paw Creek. If you’re looking for an example of how to build an effective small business website, Bear Paw Creek is a great place to start.

 

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