Beanbags offer both tactile and proprioceptive sensory experiences.
The weight of the beanbag makes judging the trajectory and speed easier when throwing and catching a beanbag.
What is a BEANBAG?
A beanbag is a sealed bag filled with dried beans or other non-perishable objects and used in throwing and catching games, but have many other uses.
What is the purpose of a Beanbag?
Beanbags are ideal resources to practise learners’ throwing and catching skills, since a learner can hold onto it tightly and it cannot bounce away like a ball. It helps to develop gross motor skills, eye-hand coordination and crossing the midline in a fun way. Beanbags are affordable and are quick and easy to make.
Warm up with Mind Moves before you introduce the Beanbag:
Ask the learner to extend the fingers as wide as possible for a count of eight, then relax. Make a tight fist, hold for a count of eight and relax. This move improves muscle tone in the hands, penmanship, fine motor control and bilateral integration. It also promotes fluent speech.
The learner must face forward, then focus on the thumb held at elbow distance. Maintaining focus, the learner slowly brings the thumb to the tip of the nose then slowly out to arm’s length. Next, he must focus on the thumb and then on a point further away, and back on the thumb. Bring the thumb back to the tip of the nose while continuing to focus on the thumb. Repeat 10 times. The learner must then rub his hands together and place them over the eyes. This move promotes near to far vision, focus in midfield, eye-hand coordination and visual perception.
Suggested activities for a Beanbag:
There are lots of fun activities to do with a beanbag:
- Throw a beanbag up and catch it. Throw just hard enough to be able to catch it again.
- Throw and catch a beanbag to another learner. Judge direction, weight, speed and distance to reach the other learner.
- Play musical chairs with a beanbag, but instead of moving along the chairs, a beanbag is passed around.
- Beanbags are useful for developing balance. Put the beanbag on the head, arms wide like aeroplane arms, walk on balance beam, stable and unstable.
- Put the beanbag under the chin and hold it tight with the chin, arms wide, walk along the Neuro Dynamix Balance Beam, stable and unstable.
- Put one beanbag on each shoulder, walk along the Neuro Dynamix Balance Beam and concentrate on keeping the beanbags on the shoulders (beanbag should not fall off).
- Open the arms wide, bend them at the elbow, put one beanbag on top of each elbow, and walk on the Neuro Dynamix Stable and Unstable Balance Beams.
- Put a beanbag on the head and one on each shoulder and walk on the Neuro Dynamix Stable and Unstable Balance Beam.
- Walk on the stable and unstable balance beam while throwing and catching the beanbag. If the beanbag falls, they must bend down, pick it up and continue without losing balance.
- Throw a beanbag from one hand to the other while walking on the stable and unstable Neuro Dynamix Balance Beam.
- Put beanbags in a zigzag line or a curved line. The learner must step on the beanbags.
- Encourage the learners to put their hands on their hips and jump with both legs together over each beanbag and land between the beanbags.
- Place beanbags a distance apart on the ground. The learner should walk from beanbag to beanbag, STOP, grasp the beanbag with their toes and throw it into, or through a hula hoop.
- Ask the learner to balance a beanbag on his head while lowering the body to pick up another beanbag on the ground then throw it into a bucket.
- Let the learners race against one another while balancing beanbags on their heads.
- Put a pile of colourful beanbags on one side of the playground and a bucket or hoop on the other. Encourage the learners to choose a beanbag and be creative in the way they move the beanbag to the bucket. They can hop, run, jump, crawl, or skip while holding the beanbag, balancing it on the head, another body part or even a spoon.
- Throw a beanbag into a specific target, like a hula hoop, a basket or a bucket.
- Throw a beanbag over a hula hoop in a stand into a basket or bucket.
- Ask a learner to use the right hand to throw a few beanbags across the body into a hula hoop, a basket or bucket on his left side. Start with the learner’s dominant hand. Collect the beanbags and use the non-dominant hand to throw a few beanbags across the body into a hula hoop, a basket or bucket on his opposite side to the non-dominant hand.
- Encourage the learners to throw a beanbag into the air and clap before catching the beanbag.
- Ask the learners to throw a beanbag into the air and jump before catching the beanbag.
- Encourage the learners to throw a beanbag into the air, clap and turn before catching the beanbag.
- Practice juggling skills – use 2 beanbags, juggle them and see how long the learner can keep the beanbags in the air.
- Play some music and let the learner dance while throwing the beanbag at each other. When the music stops, they need to freeze. If the beanbag is dropped during the freeze, that learner is ‘out’.
- Let a few learners stand in a line with a bucket full of beanbags in front of them. The learner first in the line grabs a beanbag, passes it to the learner behind him overhead, the next one passes the bag under the legs, and repeat the over-and-under-passing until the last learner gets the beanbag and runs to the front. Repeat the process.
- Sing a song, say a rhyme, repeat bonds or times tables while rhythmically throwing and catching a beanbag.
What skills relate to a Beanbag?
- Body awareness
- Eye-hand coordination
- Midline crossing
- Gross motor skills
- Manipulative skills
- Object control skills
- Locomotor skills
- Non-locomotor skills
Repetition builds neuropathways.
Repetitive FUN activities turn pathways into skills.