How to Play Beanbag Games

This just in: playing with beanbags is a fun way to get kids to play catch. What's less of a no-brainer, however, is that many of us think the bags only teach the skill of toss and catch. However, if you could make a set of beanbags that would help your child practice sensory skills (smell, hear, see, touch), physical skills, body part skills and the skills of recognizing colors, shapes and sizes, children might be more interested. You could even buy a set from a creative play store. But why not make your own beanbags? Fill them with things that smell interesting, such as potpourri or cloves. Make them different shapes and sizes. Use scrap materials of bright colors in various textures -- and voila, you've got an active, entertaining activity that's easy to pull off!

Ages: 3-5, 6-8
Location: Indoors, Outdoors
Skills: Physical, Thinking

What you'll need:
Masking tape
Construction paper

What you'll do:
If playing on a hard floor or paved surface, make different shapes in a straight line on the floor using strips of masking tape (square, triangle, rectangle). If playing on carpet, cut the shapes out of construction paper and line them up on the floor.

Have your child hold the beanbags and ask her to toss the square purple beanbag into the triangle. Or have him toss the small red beanbag into the square. These games will help make associations between different colors and shapes.

Use the beanbags to help the child identify different body parts by asking your child to put the red beanbag on his or her head. Have him find various body parts and balance the beanbag on them (elbow, hand, and so on). For a real challenge, you can even have her hold the beanbag between her knees and try to walk around the different shapes on the floor.


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