What is a Bean Bag?

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  • Written By: Phil Shepley
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2019
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A bean bag is simply a bag that is filled with beans or other similar materials and sealed. There are many different sizes and types of bean bags, and many different uses for them. While many of these uses of bean bags are for recreational purposes, there are also bean bags that are designed for more practical purposes.

The material that a particular bean bag is constructed of will vary depending on its use. The outer “shell” can be made of fabric, leather, knitted material and more. Despite the name, bean bags are usually not actually filled with beans, or in some cases, dried peas or millet. Rather, they are usually filled with man made materials such as polystyrene beads or ground Styrofoam&trade.

The most popular use of a bean bag is as a bean bag chair. This type of chair is usually made of leather or vinyl, but can also be made of nylon, cotton, polyester, or fur-like material. The nature of the bean bag chair allows it to contour to its user’s back when he or she sits in it, but they are not necessarily very ergonomic. They became popular in the 1960s and still can be purchased at many stores today, and are usually marketed for children and young adults. Smaller versions of these can also be used as pillows.


Even smaller versions of the bean bag are used for juggling and for learning this popular activity. They can easily be caught due to their malleability and weight. They also make a sound when they hit the juggling learner’s hand, which is useful for developing the necessary rhythm to be able to juggle several items at once. Similar to juggling bean bags are foot bags, which are designed to be kicked instead of thrown. In the popular pastime of foot bagging, several people gather in a circle and must use any part of their body, except the hands, to keep the foot bag in the air while performing unique tricks in the process.

There are also a few practical uses for bean bags. Small ones are popular for use in photography as a stand to rest the camera on for shots where it is easier than using a tripod. Bean bags are also often used as a weighted base to rest items such as cell phones or ashtrays, and can be very useful in a moving vehicle. There are even some weapons that fire bean bags as an alternative to deadly weapons for use in crowd control.


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Post 1

The higher-quality bean bag chairs of recent years benefit from polystyrene foam. This substance is particularly adept at shifting to accommodate the varied positions and pressures of the human form, making for an exceptionally comfortable chair.

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