What are the Different Bean Bag Games?

Margo Upson

Bean bags make a great toy for kids. They are cheap to buy, easy to make, and there are dozens of games that can be played with them. Most children know the classics, like hopscotch, but there are many other options for bean bag games. Most of these games require very little, if any, equipment and are fun for children of any age.

Uniform polystyrene pellets can be used as bean bag stuffing.
Uniform polystyrene pellets can be used as bean bag stuffing.

The most popular bean bag games are tossing games. These require only a couple of beanbags and a cardboard box, although there are also wooden versions of these games available from many marketplaces. The cardboard box should be big enough to have several holes cut out of it. The holes can be cut out like a face, with a nose, two eyes, and a mouth, with each hole being worth a different amount of points.

A cardboard box can be used to create a bean bag toss game.
A cardboard box can be used to create a bean bag toss game.

Usually the nose is worth the most points, and the mouth, being the biggest hole, is worth the least. Tic tac toe boards may also be designed for bean bag toss games. Another easy toss game is to set up a coffee can, a large bowl, or even a clothes hamper, and have the players try to toss their bean bag into the container from several feet away.

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Bean bag games are a great way to improve the dexterity and coordination of a child. One of the best games for this involves standing at least five children in a row. Have them pass a bean bag down the row any way that they would like. After the first pass through, have the children pass it using only their left hands, then right hands, over their shoulders, under their legs, with their eyes closed, and so on. Bean bags are also great for relay games, where they can be used in place of the traditional baton.

Another fun bean bag game is called "Don't Throw Garbage in Your Neighbor's Yard." This game required at least 16 children, 16 bean bags, and four hula hoops. To play, divide the children into four teams, and assign each team to a hula hoop "base", with each base set in a corner of the playing area. Players need to get keep other teams from getting bean bags into their yard, or hula hoop, while trying to get their bean bags into their neighbor's yard. Only one bean bag can be carried at a time, and the players can toss or set the bean bags into the other hula hoops. Whoever has the least amount of bean bags in their yard when the game is over, after about ten minutes, is the winner.

Bowling is a popular bean bag game. Set up milk jugs, paper towel rolls, empty soda bottles, or other similar objects and have children try to knock them down by throwing bean bags at them. The objects are either be stacked in a pyramid — paper cups work well for this — or lined up in a row. Whoever knocks over the most objects wins the game.

Not all bean bag games require several players. A lot of fun can be had by just throwing a bean bag up into the air and seeing what you can do before catching it on its way back down. For example, you could clap your hands three times, hop on one leg, or even spin around. For more of a challenge, try tossing the bean bag up and catching it behind your back, or even with different body parts, such as your head, foot, or elbow. Bean bag games are a lot of fun, either in a large group, or by yourself. There is almost no limit to the number of activities that can be thought up using bean bags and just a few objects from around the house.

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