Looking for games that will entertain kids during a birthday party? The simple and traditional game of bean bag toss can provide endless possibilities for fun and learning. Children as young as toddlers enjoy handling bean bags for games with music and movement. Older children find the toss games a way to show competitive skill.
Making Bean Bags
Bean bags can easily be made at home. Cut brightly colored fabric into rectangles or squares. Sew the sides of two together but leave an opening at one end. Fill the bags with dry beans until half full, and then sew the ends closed. An easier version is to take a sport sock and fill the foot part with the dried beans and knot the sock several times to keep the contents secure.
Create a Theme Board
Most birthday parties these days follow a theme. When making a bean bag toss game, choose a character or object that coordinates with the party décor. On a piece of plywood, draw a picture and incorporate something that can be cut out to make a hole, such as a nose, mouth, ball or bucket. An adult can use a jigsaw to cut out the holes. Sand all the edges on the board and paint the drawing in brilliant colors. Prop the theme board on an angle leaning against a chair, and it's ready for the kids to play with.
Playing the Game
Place a strip of masking tape or mark a chalk line on the floor to indicate where the child should stand. Then place the board at a certain distance depending on each child's ability. Encourage the kids to take turns trying to throw the bean bags through the holes in the board.
Games for the Very Young
Toddlers and preschoolers enjoy tossing bean bags at targets of things they can relate to. They enjoy tossing bags on colors, shapes, numbers, into hula hoops, and under or over a rope. Young children also like to pass a bean bag around the circle from child to child while music is playing.
Competitive Bean Bag Toss
Make your target indoors on large paper taped to the floor or outdoors with chalk on the pavement. Section your target like a bull's eye game and add numbers into each area. Players take turns tossing the bags onto the target and landing them on a number. A scorekeeper keeps a tally of the points. The player with the most points at the end of a time period is the winner.
- "Creating Innovative Classroom Materials for Teaching Young Children"; Debelak, Herr, Jacobson; 1981
- "Hopscotch, Hangman, Hot Potato & Ha Ha Ha"; Jack Maguire; 1990
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