One of the best pieces of equipment that you can purchase for your children's group are a few bean bags. They are illegally to cause any injuries and they are very versatile in the different ways you can use them. The only downsides are when they split and the amount of dust they can pick up from the floor! Here are some of my favorite games that use bean bags:
You can use bean bags for traditional team relays such as passing over the players head, sliding between their legs or just throwing and catching. Racing between 2 posts while balancing a bean bag on ones head may also work well, but it only takes one player to cheat and the game becomes a bit of a farce. I also like to do a relay where everyone has to knock down a skittle before the next player takes their turn. The first team to finish wins the game.
BEAN BAG IN THE BUCKET
This is similar to a game I play with bowling pins called down with the Pin. Put the players in to 3 numbered teams and have them sit in their teams on the sides of the room. Place 3 buckets or containers at the end of one side of the room and mark out a throwing line about 10 to 14 paces from these targets. You then put one bean bag for each team on the throwing line. The game leader then calls out a number and the player with that number races to the throwing line and tries to be the first player to toss the bean bag in to the bucket. Give a point for the player's team who completes this task or you can give two points for the winner and give another point to the player who finishes second. You should have adult helpers standing behind the buckets to return the bean bags that miss the target, or you can use one of the team members instead. Make sure nobody cheats by moving the bucket and catching the bean bag as the throws have to go directly in to the bucket.
Another game where the leader can be pretty devious. This game is usually played by two numbered teams who need to sit opposite each other in order of their number. Mark out two lines at each end of the room and place one container, bucket or similar per team at EACH end of the room. So in total you need 4 of them and you must also make sure that the children can not see what is inside these containers. Find two different colored bean bags for each team; they must be the same for each team, so for example let us use blue and red. Place both of these bean bags in one of the containers at the same end for both teams. To start the game the leader says the number of the person he or she chooses and also states a color, so let us say "number 4 red". Now there is a race between the two player who you save the number 4 to. They run to the container with the red bean bag and then rush to the other end and put it in to the other container. The first one to do this wins a point for their team. And that is how you play Moorhouse. Except, as you have more and more turns the players forget which end the required colored bean bag is. So the game is as much about memory skills as it is about running ability. You can add a third color to make it harder still and vary your calling by asking them to move two or three of the bean bags. But make sure nobody has a quick peek in to the containers!
CAPTAIN LEE'S BEAN BAG GAME
The rules for this game are fairly straightforward. Again you can play with two numbered teams, but individuals can play it if you are not bothered about keeping score. Mark the halfway line of the playing area with tape or similar as the children should only move around in their own half. Now depending on how many players you have in the middle at any one time, you need one extra chair per side. So if you decide on two versus two, you need three chairs each side and six in total. This is so the players can not just stand in front of a chair and prevent any scoring taking place. The chairs need to be spaced out evenly across the playing area and for smaller children you should move these chairs nearer the marked center line. The aim of the game is to slide your bean bags completely under one of the chairs on the other side of the playing area, while trying to stop your opponents from completing the same task. You need at least one bean bag per player and one adult is required to watch each end to keep score. Play for about one to two minutes on each round and then swap over the children. This game will also help you realize how dusty your floor is! An excellent game that is best played with two or three players on each side for each turn. I have tried it 1-on-1 but the less abled throwers can quickly become frustrated.