Bean Bag Activities for Higher Learning Development
Each exercise targets many different areas of the brain and the body at the same time for better balance and coordination, attention and focus, tracking, hand-eye coordination, visual perception, sensory integration, proprioception and crossing the midline. All of these skills are important to develop when children are young to enhance their reading ability, comprehension, handwriting, spelling, retention and focus in the classroom.
You can use a variety of bean bags at home, each with a different purpose in mind. Children that are younger or that have developmental delays may need to start with lighter bean bags for throwing and catching. Heavier bean bags are important for sensory integration and proprioception. They allow your child to develop their tactile system and provide heavy work for emotional grounding. If your child has sensory issues and needs a lot of sensory integration, sensory bean bags can be very beneficial.
All of these exercises should be completed at least 10 times a day, two to three times a week.
Bean Bag Activities
Some of these bean bag activities seem easy for children, but can be quite difficult if a child is struggling in school, has a learning disorder or has poor motor skills. All exercises should be completed slowly and precisely, especially when using a target. Start at the easy levels and progress before moving onto higher levels.
Bean Bag Hop Scotch: You will need a ring speed ladder, hopscotch pad or the tiles on your floor. Have your child throw the bean bag into one of the rings or on one of the squares on your hopscotch pad. Have them call out the number, color or ring before they throw it. Make sure they are throwing underhanded for this exercise. The goal is to be accurate and to gain an understanding of how hard or how soft they must throw the bean bag to make it on the target they choose (proprioception). This exercise is important for hand-eye coordination, proprioception and visual perception (tracking words on a page).
Bean Bag Behind the Midline Crossing: Have your child take a bean bad in their right hand and toss it in the air and catch it with the same hand. They don`t have to throw the bean bag very high if they are not yet proficient at the exercise. Ensure the child`s eyes always watch the bean bag, even in the air for sustained attention. After your child catches the bean bag, have them put the bean bag behind their back and pass it to their opposite hand and bring it forward. Complete the exercise with the left hand. This exercise helps your child cross the midline, which gets the right brain and left brain working together. This exercise helps with emotional grounding, sequencing, memory, attention and focus, retaining information and sensory integration.
Bean Bag Bowling: You will need small cones for this activity. Build a tower with the cones or a pyramid. Have your child take one of the bean bags and knock the cones down (throw underhand). You can also spread the cones out on the floor and have your child throw a bean bag individually at each cone. This exercise helps with hand-eye coordination, visual perception, proprioception and tracking.
Bean Bag Hand Flips: You will need two bean bags for this activity (both different colors). Put one bean bag on the back of your child`s hand. Have the child toss one bean bag in the air and try to flip it before catching it in their hand. Have your child watch the bean bag with their eyes and toss them at a level they are comfortable with. Controlling the bean bag may be very difficult. Many times children won`t watch where the bean bag is going and it will hit them in the head or fall to the ground. It`s important they maintain their eyes on the bean bag at all times. When they have mastered this activity with both hands individually, have your child put one bean bag on the back of each hand and flip them at the same time (bilateral coordination). When they become proficient at using both hands together, have them switch the bean bags in the air and catch them with the opposite hands.
Bean Bag Patterns: Use only one bean bag for this activity. Have your child take the bean bag in the right hand. Toss it in the air and catch it. Have your child take the bean bag and bring it backward or behind them (tracking it with their eyes). As they bring the bean bag back, have them toss it again in the air and catch it. Have your child take the bean bag and touch their opposite shoulder. Bring the bean bag back, toss it in the air and catch it. Now, have your child touch the bean bag to their hip, crossing over the opposite side of their body. Bring the bean bag back, toss it in the air and catch it. The purpose of this activity is to establish patterns, sequences and tracking for math, reading and listening. This activity helps your child cross the midline, establish body awareness, improves attention and focus, helps the child`s memory, and improves listening in the classroom.
For more information go to ilslearning.com