Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bean bag games

OK so I'm not really comfortable calling this a sewing project since the sewing involved was minimal and basic at best but I'm going to share this anyway since it's all I've achieved this week.  

Minty seems to have boundless energy at the moment and for those times when it's impractical to take her out (too wet, too hot, Turi's naptime) I've been trying to come up with some indoor games that channel this energy for good rather than evil.  I was talking to my mum about it and she reminded me of those little bean bags that kids use in primary school for physical development class.  So I decided to make some of my own.  Mine are 5inch squares, sewn from vintage sheets and fabric scraps I had in my stash.  Minty helped pin up the squares and when I had whipped around the edges on the machine she filled them up with lentils from a bowl using a teaspoon (is it just me or does spooning lentils sound like something those Montessori folk would get up to?).  

Now I know these little bean bags don't look like much but there are hundreds of different games you can play with them if you use a little imagination.  To get you started here are a few ideas (found here, here and here):

  • throw beanbag in the air and catch it (to make it harder turn around while it is in the air)
  • throw beanbag up and backwards over your head and try and catch it behind your back
  • throw beanbag in air, clap your hands once and catch it
  • throw beanbag in air and clap your hands under your right leg before catching it again.  Then try with the other leg.
  • throw beanbag up, jump, then try to catch it.  Try jumping twice, then three times.
  • throw it up, kneel down and try and catch it.
  • throw and catch with just your right hand, then just your left.
  • balance the beanbag on your foot, then throw it up and catch it from there.  Try with the other foot.
  • Throw the bean bag in the air and try and catch it on your foot.
  • Try running with the beanbag balanced on your head.  Now try jumping.  Kneel down and stand up again or sit down.  Try climbing the stairs.  Try doing these with two, then three beanbags balanced on your head.
  • Now try walking, running, jumping etc with the beanbag balanced on your shoulder.
  • Play catch with the beanbags.
  • Set up hoops, buckets, or boxes (maybe the laundry basket!) and try throwing the beanbags in from a distance.  You can allocate harder targets more points to make the game more complicated.
  • play tic tac toe by drawing up a grid with masking tape on the floor, or chalk outside and then throw the beanbags in the squares to try and get three in a row.
  • Stand up some paper towel tubes on the floor and toss the beanbags at them to try and knock them down.
  • Set up some coloured cardboard shapes on the floor and ask the kids to throw a beanbag into a specific shape or colour.  Or try and throw a specific number of bean bags on a particular shape.
  • Set up a pretend pond with lilly pads made from cardboard or cloths on the floor.  Use some stuffed toys to be crocodiles.  Give each kid three beanbags (frogs) and ask them to try and throw their frog onto a lilly pad.  The winner is whoever keeps the most frogs safe from the crocodiles by landing them on the lily pads.

So far Minty has played lots of balancing and catch games.  Turi on the other hand is only interested in using the bean bags as pillows and mattresses for his toys!!


  1. dude, you are freaking me out - it's like you can read my mind. beanbags have been on my list to sew all week, both as market stock and for mae and i started (and stalled on) a pattern a couple of months ago that was beanbag frogs and fabric lilypads to throw them on!! too weird!

  2. Love this. I had a flashback to primary school days months ago and sewed up a few beanbags for the girls too. Mine are filled with rice as that was all I had. Unfortunately they have been banned from indoor use for a while because of all the enthusiastic throwing going on! I used fabric scraps too ... too cute. Keep those toddler ideas coming Susan! :)