In the Bag

When all is said and done, sometimes nothing beats an old standby.  With an inexpensive pack of beanbags, you can create or reinvigorate a number of therapy activities.  My beanbag set, similar to one sold on Amazon, includes three bean bags of each: red, yellow, blue, green and is a party waiting to happen.

Here are just a few ideas you can use…today….in 5 minutes if you need to:

  1.  Beanbag toss:  The classic.  Set an array of flashcards on the floor and have the kiddos toss to see which one(s) they will say.  You can up the trials by having them guess before they throw.  Feeling competitive?  Take turns trying to collect as many cards as you can.  Your choice as to whether you provide a good model on your turn or have them say which words they think you should pick up.
  2. Tic-Tac-Toe:  Set up an array of nine cards in a typical tic-tac-toe fashion.  Each player will need to choose two colors and on their turn will make a selection by placing a beanbag over a card.  If you have a child that needs to work on crossing midline you can be strategic in both where you place the beanbags to start as well as how large you make your “board” to encourage this motor pattern.
  3. Hide ‘n Seek:  Hide all the beanbags in the room.  Now you have some options depending on what your goals are.  You can target multi-step directions by making requests such as “Bring me the blue beanbag behind the door and the red beanbag on top of the computer” or go for (receptive) prepositional concepts only, “Find the beanbag under the chair.”  Another option is to have the child tell you where they found a bag (expressive), “It was on the table.  It was in the box.”
  4. Story Sequence Markers:  Consider using the bags to reinforce sequencing skills.  Let’s say you have 3 part story cards.  Set up three beanbags in a row:  green, yellow, red.  Have the kiddo use the beanbag as a support for the card.  The first one gets green because it starts the story.  The middle gets yellow (you could add a couple yellows if you needed to) and the end gets red since that’s where the story stops.
  5. Same/Different Markers:  Working on phonemic awareness/discrimination or listening skills?  Use the color of the beanbags to demonstrate what you hear.  For example, “cat” might look like: red-yellow-blue, with each bag showing a different sound.  A word like “mom” might look like: blue-green-blue, to show that the first and last sounds are the same.
  6. Action verbs:  Play a game of toss and verbalize what happened and what is happening.  “You tossed the beanbag.  Now, I’m tossing the beanbag.”  Other easy verbs to address with beanbags would be:  waiting, balancing (on a head or elbow), juggling, holding.  Need some irregular past tense practice?  Try it using these words:  caught/catching, threw/throwing, gave/giving, hid/hiding, flung/flinging, chose/choosing, got/getting.

Take a minute to let the cat out of the bag!  Either tweet these ideas or let us know what your favorite beanbag activity is!

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The views expressed in this blog are my own and are intended to inspire other speech-language pathologists in their own practice. If you are a parent, teacher or other educator, these ideas are not intended to take the place of treatment by a certified clinician. Read full disclaimer here.