Classroom Activity
Beanbag Balance
Help friends in need with beanbag speed!

AGES 3–4
ECT LOGO

Materials:

  • beanbags
  • tapes or CDs of music with varying tempos
  • a cassette or CD player

Objective: Children will use their bodies to explore movement and practice balance while playing a cooperative game.

To Prepare: Set up an area where children have room to do a movement activity. Gather enough beanbags so that each child has one.

Warm-up: Gather children in a circle to play several simple beanbag group games. Pass a beanbag around the group, asking children to move slowly at first and then get faster and faster. Or play a tossing game using one beanbag, then two, and then even three!

ACTIVITY
1. Give each child a beanbag. Ask everyone to put it on their head and try to keep it steady as they walk slowly around the area. Next, challenge children to walk in a variety of ways — fast, slow, on tiptoe, with knees bent, even backward — while trying to keep the beanbag balanced.

2. After children have had plenty of time to practice, explain that they will be playing a helping game — still keeping the beanbag on their head. This time, if a beanbag falls off someone’s head, that child must freeze until another child picks up the dropped beanbag and places it back on the first person’s head. If the helper’s beanbag drops, the helper becomes frozen too, and someone else has to come to their aid!

3. Ring a bell or make another musical sound to alert children that the game has begun. Encourage children to use all available space as they move around the room with beanbags on their head!

4. Add music to the game to provide a variety of tempos for children to move to.

Remember: Children will need plenty of time to practice walking with a beanbag on their head before beginning the movement game.

Tip : If you want to make the game easier, allow children to unfreeze each other by tapping the frozen person on the shoulder. Then that child can pick up his own beanbag and put it back in place.

Spin-off
Use a large indoor space to play freeze tag. One person is “It” and tries to tag the others. When a child is tagged, she becomes frozen and stands still, with her legs apart. To become unfrozen, another child has to crawl through her legs!

BOOKS
Check out these books for movement inspiration!

Jump by Steve Lavis (Lodestar)
Music, Movement, and Mime for Children by V. Gray and R. Percival (Oxford Univ. Press)
Toddlerobics by Zita Newcome (Candlewick)