This post is part of a series of Creative Movement Blog posts and I’ve teamed up with BEAR PAW CREEK in an amazing Blog Give-A-Way.
Enter this GIVE-A-WAY to win CREATIVE MOVEMENT Props! Bear Paw Creek is proud to collaborate with Sing, Play, Create to give you engaging resources to use in your classroom today!
Bear Paw Creek will giving away 4 Connect-a-Stretchy Bands, Hub-8, Bean Bags, Balloon Ball, and Scarf Set
Sing, Play, Create is giving away a BRAND NEW RESOURCE Stretchy Band Activity Bundle
And a Scarf Bundle and Bean Bag Activity Songs
The whole month of April is a Creative Movement Celebration! Sing Play Create is posting new blog posts each week about innovative ways to use creative movement in your classroom.
WHY BEAN BAG GAMES?
1- Bean Bag Games Feel like “Playing”.
2-Bean Bag Games Foster Learning.
3-Bean Bag Games are Great Transition Activities
4-Bean Bag Games Build Classroom Community
5-Bean Bag Games are FUN!
BEAN BAG GAMES FEEL LIKE PLAYING
We’ve all been there–time to “clean the house”, “post the grades”, “do the laundry”. So much fun! Not really–usually if there’s a reward or it’s a game, as Mary Poppins said; “It makes the medicine go down,” so much easier. (By the way–i used to sing that to my kids when we did chores.) Don’t you agree? When kids play games they are more motivated to try harder, participate more and do their best!
BEAN BAG GAMES FOSTER LEARNING
I like to use games for assessments. Not only does it make it fun for my students, but it makes it fun for me. And competitive games can foster improved student participation and learning. Take your simple to play and ever popular “hot potato” and twist it just a bit to add in some excitement for upper elementary students when it’s time for assessments. Instead of the student with the bean bag sitting out–have them answer a question-or read something-or do something. I’ve had students clap rhythms, recite the lyrics to a song, sing a melody, dance and pantomime something. You can use that game for Math Facts, Vocabulary Tests, Informational Text comprehension check, and for Identifying concepts like colors, numbers, letters. Playing games is another opportunity for leaning.
How fun is that?
Ask students to sit in a circle.
Begin the music, pass the bean bag around the circle. When the music stops, whoever has the bean bag answers a question, sings a melody, plays a rhythm- the opportunities are endless.
How about switching up “Duck-Duck-Goose?”
Choose a student to be the “ASKER” and they tap a student when the music stops. The student answers a question, and if they get the answer right-become the next “ASKER”.
Students could also come up to the smart board and complete a rhythm, a melodic phrase or move a graphic to show an answer.
Students could draw a card and identify or explain an answer.
Students could go to the middle of the circle where there is a xylophone or other instrument and play the answer.
Students could sing the answer or sing a melody/melodic phrase.
Try mixing it up!
What’s your favorite game? You can use the flash cards, instruments and learning tools in your classroom to turn a familiar game into an assessment activity.
BEAN BAG GAMES ARE GREAT TRANSITION ACTIVITIES
I can feel it when they walk into the room. The pent up volcanic mix of emotions and physical energy is ready to explode in my classroom. That’s when I change my game. Yep–I am a huge procedure driven teacher, but changing the procedure and surprising them with something new and exciting will give students an opportunity to “let it go” in a positive way. I use these activities as a mini-music lesson to introduce or reinforce a music concept-but the main reason I incorporate bean bag and transition activities into my classroom environment is to help students channel their energy. Just this year I organized a bunch of Boogie-Woogie, Jazz, Blues, Scat music to use as transition activities. My kids LOVE it!
BEAN GAMES BUILD CLASSROOM COMMUNITY
I like games that foster working together-not winning. Bean bag activities are easy to do on the spur of the moment or to use as an “official” activity. That’s why I think I’ve been inspired to make up several Bean Bag Activity resources. There’s a great need for “games” that foster good feelings between students and also to use as Brain Breaks. Bean Bags activities are a great way to build classroom unity. Once students have the procedures down, you’ll be able to switch into “playing” mode pretty easily. Practicing making a circle in your classroom, and assigning students to be in charge of the “bean bags” are two ways I’ve discovered that help out in the transition from “seat work” to “game”. Students need the procedures and practice so that they can transition easily without a lot of disturbance.
I was a sports kid–actually pretty good at softball and baseball, then basketball and bad-mitten–so I get the “sports” kid. I relate a lot of my lessons and ways to learn things to sports-especially when we’re getting ready for concerts. More kids have played soccer than sang in a chorus-so I use it! How do you talk to kids about “working together”? I ask my students what their coach would say? Or, I might ask them if working together is part of being on a team. Here’s some of the questions I may ask my students who are in the third through sixth grades:
“What happens when someone tries to dominate the game?”
“What happens when someone isn’t fair?”
“What happens when we work together?”
My students “get” these conversations and they really do help the overall classroom community setting.
BEAN BAG GAMES FOR FUN
Playing games gives children opportunities to develop their gross motor skills, increase balance and enhance directionality, which is important for reading skills. Activities that encourage movement across the midline get the Right and Left brain to work together. They also strengthen one side of the body which helps with fine motor skills. I feel like it’s an important part of my job to help students use their trunk to cross that midline. That means that they “twist” and “move” to the other side of their body, and use the body part on the other side–whew–that’s a tough one. Take your right foot and cross over and step in front of your left foot-that’s the idea! When you play card games or with instruments, encourage children to reach across the body to pick up cards or sticks. How about Musical Twister? You can make a playing area out of an old sheet, carpet or squares. Make it 4 sides with 6 dots on one side and 4 on the other. Place the symbols on the dots/squares. Divide your class into 4 teams. Teams choose a card from the pile and 1 player has to match it by placing a foot or hand on the dot. Teams continue to take turns until it’s a total musical mess! This activity works well in stations. For more ideas about stations, you’ll want to read NOVEMBER STATIONS and DECEMBER STATIONS.
Over at Bear Paw Creek you can find some great articles on how to use bean bags in your classroom.
Bean bag games are also the perfect tool for rewards days, rainy/snow days and for celebrations. They are perfect for your sub tubs and days when your voice may not be up to singing and talking all day. There are so many reasons to include bean bag activities into your classroom routines and activities. That’s why I’ve created these resources just for teachers! They are easy to use and don’t require a lot of prep. There’s not even any cards or signs to make. Mostly, you’ll just need a CD player, some bean bags and a good attitude!
Here’s what Music Teachers are saying about “Bean Bag Activity Songs”: “The end is near – my K classes have music 3 more times – I need to keep them moving and engaged, and they still need to keep practicing steady beat. They will love this! I’ll also do the activities early in the year next fall so I can incorporate this in my sub tub. Thanks!”
I’ve used these activities too-
Many classroom teachers use bean bags to play games with students and help them learn literacy and math skills. Here’s a free resource you can use tomorrow-
Use this fun “Heart Beat” Song to help students learn to pass on the BEAT! As an extension activity-or what I call LEVEL 2! I divide the class into 2 circles and have Circle 1 play on the beat and Circle 2 Play the Melody Rhythm. Super fun and helps teach the difference between STEADY BEAT and RHYTHM- something I work on ALL the time. FREEBIE “HEARTBEAT”
More Creative Movement Activities and Freebies HERE:
you’ll want to read 10 WAYS TO USE BALLS IN THE CLASSROOM
If you like Creative Movement with Parachutes: