Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Homemade beanbags

Homemade beanbags are easy and inexpensive to make and can be used in a variety of ways! All you need is some fabric, sewing supplies, and some dried beans.

For my material, I used some of Tyler's old clothes (and one of my own). Typically, I give his old clothes to a friend who needs them or I sell them at a consignment shop, but these clothes were stained and sitting in a box without a purpose. Ty likes the cute animals on the beanbags and they're also familiar to him as it wasn't that long ago that he was wearing these outfits. He especially enjoys the small doggie beanbag, cut from the foot on one of his footie pajamas, as it's the perfect fit for his hand.

I decided that some of the material in the photo below wasn't really the right kind for the beanbags after making the first, but this was the initial cut-out phase.

I then hand-sewed (only because I don't own a sewing machine) the bean bags almost all of the way around, leaving enough room to allow me to turn them inside-out. After turning them inside-out, I filled with dried beans and stitched the rest of the way around. I've read that you can also put the beans inside of a baggie in case the bags come in contact with water.

At my little guy's age (15 mos), the bean bags will be used to practice throwing, playing catch, and throwing into things like laundry baskets, pots and boxes.

For older children, challenge them to see how far the can throw them, to try throwing them with their eyes closed into containers and throwing from different positions and places (on a chair, at the top of the stars, on their back). You can ask the child to place a bean bag on different parts of the body to help them identify them. If you use solid color or shaped beanbags, you can use them to help the child identify specific shapes and colors by, for example, asking them to throw the purple bean bag over his shoulder, or to put the circle beanbag on her head.

A game I read about on iVillage would be to make different shapes in a straight line on the floor using strips of masking tape (square, triangle, rectangle). If you're playing on carpet, cut the shapes out of construction paper and line them up on the floor. You would then have your child hold the beanbags and ask her to toss the square purple beanbag into the triangle or to toss the small red beanbag into the square.

Have fun!

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