20 Bean Bag Games And Handy Uses

Bean bags Australia

How fun are bean bag games? For generations, children around the world have been playing with bean bags. They can be found at most schools and are really handy items to have around the home for parties or just general play.

We’ve collected 20 fun bean bag games for your kids (or adults!) to try…as well as providing a few bonus ways you can use bean bags around the home and at school.

And if you’re looking to buy bean bags in Australia, check out our Refashioned bean bags, made from textile waste. Currently, around 6 tonnes of textiles are sent to landfill every 10 minutes in Australia, and our Refashioned products are helping address this problem. We’ve also added some lovely lavender to our bags, so you can enjoy a calming scent as you play.

Grab your bean bags today, and enjoy these games and handy uses!

Bean Bag Games

1. Catch

Improve your hand-eye coordination with a simple game of catch.

Toss and catch the beanbag between 2 or more people.

Variations or level-up options include:

  • Toss a beanbag into the air and catch it yourself
  • Count how many times you catch it without dropping it
  • Toss and catch with one hand behind your back
  • When tossing the bag to a partner, take a step back after each toss and see from how far you can go while still catching the beanbag

2. Freeze 

This is a variation on the traditional Freeze game, also called Musical Statues.

Turn the music on and dance while tossing a beanbag up in the air and to each other. When the music stops, you have to freeze in position.

This can be quite fun, especially if the beanbag is flying at someone as you freeze. You may get hit by a bean bag but you cannot move to catch it or duck because you’ll be “out”.

3. Doggie Doggie Who’s Got the Bone (Bean Bag)

Children sit in a circle, with one child in the middle (the doggie)

The ‘dog’ keeps their eyes closed as the other children pass around a bone (bean bag), while chanting:

“Doggie, doggie who stole the bone?

Someone took it from my home.”

The doggie asks: “Who has the bone?” 

And then the person with the beanbag replies: “I have the bone!” 

The ‘doggie’ then has three chances to guess who has their bone.

If they guess correctly, they get to choose the next ‘dog’. If they guess incorrectly, they remain the ‘dog’ for a second turn.

4. Hopscotch

Hopscotch is a traditional game that is great for gross motor skills and for learning to count. 

Instead of using a stone or pebble, play hopscotch by tossing a bean bag onto the squares.

If it’s been a while since you have played hopscotch, take a look at this video.

5. Hula Hoop Toss

This is a simple activity that is great for developing aim and handy-eye coordination.

Set out some hula hoops or mark out targets on the ground, and have your child toss the bean bags into the hoops. For beginners, place the hula hoop close to where the child is standing.

Level-up by having hoops at different distances and having to throw the bean bag into each hoop to finish. You can even make it a race if there is more than one player. Add extra fun by assigning points to each hoop, based on their position and level of difficulty.

6. Bowling

Who doesn’t love a simple game where you throw a soft ball at the tins to knock them over and win a prize?

Set up some plastic cups, tins, cones, empty plastic bottles or any other objects that can be used as pins. Throw or slide a bean bag to knock over the pins.

This is a great game for improving gross motor skills, and can also be mixed with an art activity (by decorating the tins).

7. Fishing Toss

This is a great activity for the school holidays, as it will have the kids busy for hours. 

First start by drawing basic fish shapes and cutting them out in cardboard. Then let the children decorate the fish in creative ways, such as:

  • Draw patterns on them
  • Paint them with a brush, or sponge paint them
  • Paste glitter on them
  • Create a collage by sticking on pieces of coloured paper or scraps of fabric.

Then, mark out an area on the ground or use a few hula hoops to create a ‘pond’, and scatter the fish randomly within. 

The idea is to toss the bean bags onto the fish. If the bean bag touches any part of the fish, the fish is caught.
 
If you catch one, take the fish out the pond and keep it in your bucket. If you miss, take your bean bag out the pond and wait for your next turn.
 
Scented bean bags made from recycled fabric Australia

8. Bean Bag Balance

Bean bags are a great tool for balancing activities. There are many different ways people of any age can practise their balancing skills.

For beginners, try balancing on shoulders, hands, arms or feet without dropping.

Level-up by stacking them and/or moving while trying to balance them on your head, or on a wooden spoon held in your hand, without dropping them.

Make things more challenging again by balancing while walking, or making movements while maintaining balance.

Try adding more bean bags as each skill is mastered, and see how many can be balanced on top of each other and/or on the different body parts at the same time

9. Bean Bag Race

Have a fun race by balancing bean bags on your head (or other part of your body) and racing to a finish line.

Level-up the fun by creating a course and/or timing the race, and see if you can  improve on the time.

Challenge yourself further by changing the rules – hop on one leg to the end, balance two bean bags on your head, race with a bean bag on a ruler, etc.

10. Noughts and Crosses 

This game is also known as ‘Tic Tac Toe’.

Draw a large noughts and crosses board on the pavement, or on a large sheet of paper.

Instead of using noughts and crosses, use two different coloured bean bags to represent two players.

The object is to take turns to lay down a bean bag on a square and try to make a row of three. The first person to make a row of three vertically, horizontally or diagonally is the winner.

11. Volleyball Toss

Volleyball Toss must be played with 4 people.

You will need:

  • A net or makeshift net (something to throw things over)
  • Two tea towels
  • One bean bag

Set up a net in the middle of the play area and have 2 players stand on either side. Together, each side holds open a towel (by hold two corners each) and the bean bag is tossed over the net by flicking it up and catching it with the towels.

Try pairing an adult with a child as this could be physically challenging. Also, make the net low so it is not difficult to toss the beanbag over. Adjust the height to increase difficulty. 

12. Bean Bag Hide and Seek

Play hide and seek with the bean bags by hiding them around the house or garden and then sending the children to find them. 

You can also play ‘hot and cold’ by saying whether a child is getting closer (‘hotter’) or further away (‘colder’) from a hidden bean bag.

13. Endurance Race

Set up a simple endurance challenge by giving tasks to carry out with the bean bags. Once a task is completed, the next task must be done until all tasks are complete.

Here are some examples of tasks:

  • Hop on one foot while holding the bean bag
  • Kick the beanbag along the floor
  • Balance the bean bag on your foot while walking
  • Crawl on all fours with the bean bag on your back
  • Walk backwards with the bean bag on your head
  • Hold the beanbag under your chin.

This can also be played solo by timing each task and trying to beat your best time.

14. Hot Potato

Hot Potato is a classic children’s party game that can be played to music.

The children sit in a circle and the ‘hot potato’ (bean bag) is passed from child to child. It must not be held onto for too long, or it will ‘burn’ hands. The aim is not to drop the potato when it passes to you.

This is a fun gross-motor skills game that can also be adapted to get children crossing the midline and learning their left and right sides. Teach them to receive the beanbag with their right hand from the child on their left, then use their left hand to pass it to the child on their right. If they use the wrong hand they are out.

Children will get muddled up and giggle, but will soon get the hang of it.

15. Cornhole Toss

To play cornhole toss, you will need a cornhole board. You can make one by cutting a hole into a piece of wood. For a very basic version, make one out of thick cardboard.

Mark a place to stand and toss the beanbag into the hole If it lands on the board you score 1 point; if it lands in the hole score 2 points. Take turns, and the first person to reach 20 points wins. Adjust the score and rules depending on player abilities.

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16. Bean Bag Hockey

On a smooth service such as floorboard or polished concrete, mark out your hockey pitch/ground using tape, cones or some other marker. Mark out the goal area

Use a bean bag as a puck/ball and use sticks, brooms or bats as hockey sticks. 

This game can be played with 2 people, or you can form teams.

17. Bean Bag Netball

In this variation of netball, use a bean bag instead of a ball. Throw the bean bag to each other (or to your own team members if there are a few players) and score by throwing the bean bag into the hoop.

If you don’t have a netball or basket ball hoop, make one using a hula hoop or a bucket attached to a stick.

18. Hacky Sack

Play hacky sack with a beanbag by bouncing it on one foot, or between your feet, without dropping it on the floor. Count how many times you can bounce the bag without dropping it, and try to beat your own score.

This may be challenging for young children, but is fun to give a try! It’s great for developing foot-eye coordination skills.

19. Bean Bag Twister

Bean bag activities - twister game

For this game you will need a Twister mat and a spinner, or make your own.

To play, spin the spinner, and toss the bean bag onto the colour that the spinner landed on. This is a fun and interactive way to learn colours.

20. Juggling

Practise juggling skills with some bean bags – perhaps before moving onto fire flaming swords!

Start with two bean bags and see how many times you can juggle them without dropping them. Then try and walk around while juggling. Add in a third, and forth bag, and even more.

Here is a video you can check out that might help the process.

Bonus: Other Bean Bag Uses

When the kids have finished playing with their bean bag games, here’s how you can use them around the house or classroom:

  1. Phone Holder
  2. Door Stop
  3. Paperweight (if you are a sewer, bean bags are great for holding patterns in place)
  4. Hot/cold pack – warm gently in the microwave or cool in the freezer.

Let the bean bag games begin!

Katrina, & team XX

Purchase your scented bean bags made from reclaimed textiles here.