When you think of toys for kids these days, what comes to mind? I tend more toward basic things that don’t need batteries, and homemade is even better.
About three years ago I picked up a fabric panel with Eric Carle’s illustrations in Bill Martin’s “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” book. It’s one of my favorite picture books and the intention was to make a blanket for Bradley. I got the squares cut out, then put them away, and once in awhile I’d find them and think to myself that I really should get that blanket made…
Shortly before Christmas I was doing some sewing for gifts, and came across those squares again. For some reason, I just thought they’d make great beanbags rather than a blanket. Of course, with Christmas looming, the squares were once again tucked away, but not too deeply. Last weekend I pulled them out and sewed them up.
They’re each filled with one cup of raw white rice rather than beans. That’s just what I had on hand. I like the texture of the rice inside these, and they’re pretty flexible since I didn’t fill them up all the way. You can see that Brad needed to line them up before we played. He’s big into lining things up right now.
I wanted them to enjoy the beanbags, but also wanted their play with them to be purposeful, so I did kind of direct things a little. At first, I just let them carry them around, Brad lined them up, Silas destroyed the line, Brad re-did the line - you know the drill. Before things got too upsetting, I got out a laundry basket and the masking tape. Brad had to stand on one side of the tape and throw the beanbags into the basket. He enjoyed that, and Silas enjoyed picking up the ones that missed.
Today we did a few other things with the beanbags, and they were a huge success. I have a wooden 2 x 4 that we use as a balance beam, so we got that out and the boys practiced walking the beam. This was Silas’s first try, and he did great!
I had Brad walk the beam while balancing a beanbag on various body parts – holding his arms straight out with the beanbags on his hands, on each shoulder, and then his favorite, on his head.
Yes, he’s holding it on his head here, and that’s mostly how he did this task. We’ll keep practicing, and that’s the point, right? Silas came up to me periodically through the day with a beanbag, wanting me to put it on his head. I did, then he’d throw his head back so the beanbag fell off, and he’d laugh himself silly.
The most fun game today I couldn’t photograph since I was playing, too. We put a beanbag or two in the middle of a bath towel, then Brad held one end and I held the other (Silas hung on somewhere in the middle) and we shook that towel up and down and tossed the beanbags in the air. They LOVED this.
I’d like to paint up some kind of target for them to use eventually, and I have some outdoor plans for games. One of my email friends suggested stacking empty water bottles and knocking them down by throwing the beanbags. I thought we’d hang some kind of target from the swing set to try to hit. If you have any suggestions or fun ideas for beanbags, please let me know. We love to try new things!