We’re Full Of Beans

“BEANBAGS? ARE YOU SURE THAT’S THE topic for this post?” I asked, thinking to myself, “What more can be said about the lowly beanbag?”

Having pondered the topic, I’ve decided I do have quite a bit to say about this very useful toy. So-here goes!

When Is a Beanbag Not a Beanbag?

Beanbags, as we know, are bags filled with beans-except when they’re not. Sense.able Play’s Bean Bag’s are filled with a variety of different materials, from recylced plastic bullets to Styrofoam, creating a unique sensory experience both on the inside and outside of the bag.

Bean bag games and activities make use of a fun and inexpensive prop to develop gross motor skills. Younger children may find beanbags easier to handle than a ball, and because beanbags can’t roll away, they may be less frustrating for the child with poor coordination skills.

Infants: Watch That Bag!

Place an array of brightly colored beanbags in a pattern for infants to observe. Place babies (who are able to hold their heads up) on their stomachs and arrange the beanbags in a pattern of alternating colors; then rearrange them to create different patterns and to cue visual exploration. Take beanbags that have high contrast colors (black/white or red/white) and move them slowly across the visual field of slightly older infants to stimulate visual attention and visual tracking. 

Bean bags are great to;

  • Encouraging tummy time
  • Tactile stimulation
  • Midline crossing
  • Gross motor skills
  • Hand-eye coordination

Toddlers: Carrying On

Toddlers can use the beanbags to do a favorite activity: carrying “stuff.” Encourage children to carry as many beanbags as they can (gathered in their arms) from one container to another. Count the beanbags as you load them into their arms. Prompt another toddler to follow behind with a small pail to collect the dropped bags. Count the bags as they are picked up, and help children sort them into piles according to color.

You can also have toddlers stand around one of the containers, each holding three or four beanbags to toss into the container. 

Bean bags are great to;

  • Problem-solving
  • Tactile stimulation
  • Midline crossing
  • Gross motor skills
  • Hand-eye coordination

Preschoolers: It’s a Toss-Up

Preschoolers can toss beanbags in a variety of ways to begin refining eye-hand coordination. Encourage them to toss with the right hand and catch with the left. They can then bend over and toss the beanbags back through their legs. Demonstrate a variety of ways to walk with beanbags: on your shoulders, on your head, on the palms of your hands facing up, on the backs of your hands facing up, on the tops of your feet. Then show them some balancing patterns and encourage them to imitate you.

Bean bags are great to;

  • Word identification
  • Problem-solving
  • Tactile stimulation
  • Midline crossing
  • Gross motor skills
  • Hand-eye coordination

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