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!
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
- 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
- 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!