I have a confession to make…I am fascinated with silly monsters! They are just too stinkin’ cute! So when I wanted my students make no-sew bean bags in my Child Development class for activities to do with toddlers to help develop their large motor skills and balance, I couldn’t resist using silly monsters as my theme. Students not only enjoyed making the bean bags and applying their creativity, but also had fun participating in the activities they created to go with them!
- Begin by talking about toddlers and how they are not always steady on their feet, how their large motor skills need to be refined and how this can be accomplished through repetition and practice.
- One way we can do this is by playing games or doing fun activities with them that enhance toddlers’ large motor skills and balance; hence the bean bag project!
- Felt Sheets–9 x 12 (you can get two bean bags out of one square)
- Felt Scraps
- Tacky Glue
- Hot Glue Guns
- Rice or Kidney Beans
- Baggies-zip close
- I walk around with pre-cut felt pieces and have students select a color for their bean bags. Students are instructed how to create the bean bag and then proceed to stations to fill their rice bags, tape them shut and then proceed to the hot glue guns to seal and secure them.
- Once the bean bags are totally secure, they begin decorating them as silly monsters, using felt scraps I have saved from other projects. It’s a great way to use them up! Students secure the faces using tacky glue.
- After creating their bean bag, students begin coming up with their six activities, one activity for each category for a total of six. Activity categories include: tossing, catching, kicking, pick-up, foot and balancing.
- When I receive their activities, I cut them apart into strips and set up six stations around the room; one for every activity category.
- Now the fun begins, students use their bean bags to play or complete the activities at each of the stations. Students provide feedback as they try the activities and afterwards we discuss their answers. I ask students, after trying the activities, if all of the activities would be appropriate for toddlers. Most tell me that they would need to rewrite some of their activities as they were difficult for them to do let alone a toddler. This leads to a great discussion on “developmentally appropriate practices” and why it’s important to choose or plan activities that fit the age and developmental abilities of children. Students have an opportunity to rewrite their directions to make them more toddler friendly.
- At the end, students decide if they want to keep their bean bags or donate them to our local day care center. Most take a picture of their creation for posterity and then we send them on their way for local toddlers to have fun with and practice developing their large motor skills!
- NOTE: This could easily be a sewing project but due to time restraints, I chose to make it a no-sew project.