I've been reading up on the Kindergarten curriculum, and one of the "subjects" seems to be gross motor skills. Since we live in a condo building, we don't have access to the outdoors very easily. We can't just run out the back door and play t-ball or something at a moment's notice. It takes a little more effort to load up bags, strollers, wagons, etc. and take them down the elevator and around to the back of the building. So I came up with a game to play indoors that still feels like a game of ball and but just so happens to help with gross motor development in a very sneaky way.
Enter the Bean Bag Toss.
I'm sure this is not original, but for our needs, it seemed like a light bulb had just gone off. Why hadn't I thought of this before? During the course of a morning, I found a bunch of fabric scraps and made about a dozen 4" bean bags.
We put an empty shipping box, and a few big melamine bowls by the front door (after pushing aside all the shoes, bags, etc.). I put a line of masking tape on the floor and explained the "rules." The kids had to take turns trying to toss the bean bags in the containers. The box was one point, and each bowl was two points (bonus for doing math while playing).
The kids had to take turns tossing the bean bags. We tried overhand and underhand.
Turns out the kids were better at this than I thought they'd be. And they had a lot of fun.
Look mama! It went in!
We now try this game in the afternoons before dinner, or right after dinner, when it's too hard to get outside for a second time that day. It's working well and keeping their interest! Mixing up the containers and the "rules" helps too.
Want to see what I did to make this easy game? Here we go:
First I cut out the squares. I used a 4.5' x 4.5" quilting square to trace the fabric.
Then I pineed them right sides together and sewed a double line with a 1/4" seam allowance. I left about a 2" opening for turning (I used a double line to make sure none of the little beads slipped out in case the thread loosened over time. I'm sure there are other ways to do this -- or not.)
Then I clipped the corners and trimmed the sides to get rid of the bulk.
Then I turned the squares right side out. I used a chopstick (yes, a chopstick - extremely convenient) to poke the corners. I don't have one of the cool tools to do this, but have found a chopstick works just fine.
Then I poured the little beads into the bag, filling it about 2/3 of the way. (I erred on the side of less full than too full. I like the feeling of a less-full bag more, plus they're easier to sew shut!) The bag of beads I bought at Wal-mart. I can't remember what exactly they're called, but they were in a big bag (maybe 2 lbs.?) and rather cheap (maybe $5?).
Then I pushed all the beads aside, tucked in the open edges and sewed the last side shut, making sure to sew forward and backwards to really seal the opening.
Not bad for a scrap-buster and a game.