Bean Bags are a great companion to any
Training Program for early elementary or special needs children!
By: Christina Chapan
Incorporating the use of beanbags in physical movement programs provides
-Beanbags are relatively inexpensive to make or to buy.
-You can easily make a set using sturdy material. Fill with rice,
beans, or shells (or purchase sturdy beanbags from Kimbo).
-Beanbags take little space and can be stored anywhere.
-Beanbags are appealing to all age and ability levels. Grownups,
including senior citizens, find beanbags non-threatening to use
in a physical fitness setting.
-Use of the beanbag prepares students for participating in such
sports as soccer, football, bowling, or basketball when they get
-Beanbags are relatively safe to use (although use of them should
-Beanbags teach self-control, coordination, direction, and
manipulation of the body. When using beanbags, focus on eye,
hand, and leg coordination. Special needs students will benefit with
repeated practice using beanbags.
-Beanbags teach directionality when throwing and catching.
You can teach the concepts of throwing and catching front,
back, side, left, and right using the beanbag.
-Children learn to throw to others and catch.
-Levels of catching and throwing are also discovered.
-Learning to work with others is an important skill.
Beanbag practice should begin with free play. Ask children to share their
creative ideas for making up different games with the beanbags. Then have
the children throw the beanbag up in the air and catch it. Have them
advance to working with partners, throwing the beanbag to each other.
Stress the importance of throwing softly to your neighbor, and catching the
beanbag with your eye on the bag at chest level.
Toss with both hands. Then alternate left hand and right hand. Next, catch
and throw using different hands.
Throw the bag low, high, and to the middle. Ask the children how they would
feel if you did not tell them where you were throwing the beanbag.
Try different grips using the beanbag. Use palms up, and then palms down.
Have children catch with just an open hand.
They can also kneel, stand, and lie down when catching the beanbag.
Throwing the beanbag overhead, to the rear, turning around and catching the
beanbag. Try a half turn throwing and catching, and then a full turn.
Toss, clap the hands and catch the beanbag. Clap for different amounts of
time. Clap the hands at different body parts.
Pretend to do activities such as combing your hair, brushing your teeth or
another sport while catching the bag.
Toss, kneel and catch. Try catching between the legs, and then change
positions so that you are facing the anterior direction.
Throw the beanbag back and forth, side to side, to your self.
Balance on different body parts, and try using more than one beanbag to
achieve this goal.
Try to do different stunts or exercises while using the beanbag. This
teaches hand or body dexterity and control. It also helps students with
Teach body parts identification by putting or controlling the beanbag on
different parts of the body.
Teach colors, sizes, numbers, and direction using different beanbags.
Speed, rhythm, and direction can be taught as you use different songs or
music while moving the beanbag from one partner to another.
Try throwing the beanbag to different surfaces, such as a shelf, or into a
hula hoop, basketball or container. See how it feels to throw beanbags into
various types of containers.
Beanbags are a great addition to physical fitness activities, to any
classroom, or group fitness program for children (and also works well with
senior citizens). Practice with a group instructor can be reinforced at
home with an older sibling or parent.
What a wonderful way to build a healthy lifestyle for life!
Bean Bag Resources
Balley, Guy Ultimate Homeschool Physical Education Game Book Educators
Balley, Guy Ultimate Sports Lead up Game Book Educators Press. 1999
Balley, Guy Ultimate Playground and Recess Game. Camas, WA : Educators
Bean Bag Games
Bean Bag Games 2
Bean Page Web Page
Cheatham, Billye, Ann, Physical Activities for Improving Childrens Learning
and Behavior: A Guide to Sensory and Motor Development, Champaign, IL :
Human Kinetics, c2000
Gabbard, Carl Physical Education for Children: Building the Foundation,
Gallahue, David L. Developmental Physical Education for Todays Elementary
School Children, MacMillian, 1987
Hall, J. Tillman Physical Education in the Elementary School, Goodyear
Publishing Company, 1980
Learning Station. Me and my Beanbag, Kimbo Music 1988
Panegyrize, Robert P. and Dauber, Victor P. Dynamic Physical Education for
Elementary School Children, Ninth Edition, Mac million Publishing Company,
Scelsa, Greg. Kids in Action, Greg and Steve Productions, Youngheart
Stewart, Georgiana Liccione. Beanbag Activities and Coordination Skills,
Kimbo Music 1977.
Stewart, Georgiana Liccione. Bean Bag Rock and Roll , Kimbo Music 2000.
Christina Chapan is an ACE certified personal trainer, fitness author,
education conference speaker and elementary school teacher. She also works
in the after school care program at her school. In her spare time, she
works as a youth sponsor at her church. If you are interested in learning
more about Christina her email is firstname.lastname@example.org and please visit her
Fit 4 Fun Kids Fitness
Bean Bag Games
Some kids have a hard time-sharing with others. The following activities
are designed to help children develop their social skills by talking,
moving, and working with others.
Materials for Activities : Beanbags, hula-hoops, bowling pins, or two-liter
empty pop bottles
Beanie Bowlers (you can even use mini-beanies
Set up pins/ empty pop bottles and have the bowler throw a beanbag at the
pins/ pop bottles. The setter of the pins asks questions geared to the
bowler. Examples of questions asked could consist of: What is the bowlers
favorite color, hobby, movie star etc. The students who are waiting in line
are the encouragers or extenders of the questions that are asked to the
bowler. They ask questions that are more specific about the information
that the bowler has shared. After the bowler has two turns using the
beanbags to knock down the pins, he takes the turn of setter, and then the
encourager/extenders. A bowler may choose not to answer any questions that
he does not feel comfortable answering.
Getting To Know You
Place four hoops about five feet apart from each other. When the student
attempts the first hoop in the row have them share one thing they like about
themselves. In the next hoop, something they like about their partner
behind them, the third hoop about what they like about their school, and
fourth about something they like in their world. If there is time, they
can then share one thing that they would like to change about themselves and
in the second round and ask their partner behind them what they would like
to change about their selves. The third hoop the bowler would say one thing
that they would like to have differently in their school and then in the
fourth hoop something that they would modify about their world.
Play the game of horseshoes using beanbags and hula-hoops. On the first
round of throws have the players put the beanbag in the hoop anyway they
want to. The second turn they can only do an underhand throw, the third an
overhand throw, the fourth throw use only a dominant hand and the fifth
time use the opposite hand to throw with. Discuss with the group how life
has comfortable and uncomfortable situations and how it is important to deal
with each one of them.
As a classroom teacher, character education coordinator, and certified
personal trainer, I feel it is essential for kids to share with others in a
non-threatening manner. Using beanbags and simple questioning is a great
way to encourage a shy child to become more interactive. Game interaction
can bring students of various personalities and dispositions together. The
joy of fitness and effective communicating with others is truly an
important lesson for life.