Kids love playing with bean bags. Like balloons and water, bean bags almost guarantee happy children and a successful activity. There are lots of Spanish games for kids that use bolsitas, or bean bags. In some countries, they are called saquitos.
Making bean bags is easy and inexpensive. It is also a good language activity, so be sure to involve your kids. I do not sew, so I have to limit myself to no-sew options. I used felt, iron-on adhesive tape and rice to make the bean bags in the photos. You can also make no-sew bean bags with socks. I Love My Classroom ties the socks and there are instructions on ehow for rolling them.
No matter what Spanish game you are going to play, with little children it is a good idea to give them a few minutes of free play with the bean bags before you start. They will have a better sense of how to handle them and will be more likely to listen when you play the game.
Spanish Games for Kids – Bean Bags
A favorite activity with younger kids is to sit in a circle and pass a bean bag as they recite a counting-out rhyme. Counting-out rhymes are used for choosing sides or who is “it” in games. There are many that work for this activity. Here are a few options:
El cielo es azul. / The sky is blue.
¿Cuántos años tienes tú? / How old are you?
With this rhyme, the child who has the bean bag on tú answers the question and the kids pass the bean bag counting to that number.
Zapatito blanco, zapatito azul. / Little white shoe, little blue shoe.
Dime ¿cuántos años tienes tú? / Tell me, how old are you?
Again, the child who has the bean bag on tú answers the question and the kids pass the bean bag counting to that number.
A, E, I , O, U / A, E, I , O, U
Árbolito de Perú / Little tree from Perú
Yo me llamo … / My name s…
¿Cómo te llamas tú? / What is your name?
Here, the child who has the bean bag after llamo says her name. So does the child who has the bean bag when they say tú.
You can find another, slightly longer, counting-out rhyme in this post: Cinco ratoncitos – A traditional rhyme
Balance the Bean Bag
This Spanish game for kids is a great way to practice body parts and verbs. Give instructions to try to balance a bean bag on their head, their foot, their shoulder and other body parts. Have them try with two bean bags, or with two bean bags on different body parts. Add verbs by giving instructions to walk, jump, or sit down.
Target Language (I couldn’t resist the pun.)
Adapt the classic bean bag toss to have kids try to hit words, numbers, letters or pictures. You can use chalk on the driveway, tape down paper with the words, or label boxes or baskets. If you are using pictures, kids can help draw them – another great language activity. You can assign points to the targets or play without keeping score. You can tell kids what to try to hit or they can choose. Just be sure to use the words over and over as you play.
Build a Sentence
This is a great Spanish game for kids to practice a specific sentence structure. Put the words of a sentence out as targets, either taped to the ground or on baskets of some kind (laundry baskets work well). They do not have to be placed in order, but kids should try to hit them in order.
Kids keep track of the words they have gotten by writing them on the board or a sheet of paper. The first to complete the whole sentence wins. You can also play this like the basketball game “horse” or “pig” where kids have to toss from the same place as the other player. You will hear parts of the sentence repeated a lot. For example, if the sentence is Me divierto mucho con mis amigos, you will hear Tengo “Me divierto mucho” y ahora necesito “con”.
Choose a Question
With this Spanish game kids practice answering all kinds of questions. Put a long list of questions on the board or post it somewhere where kids can see it. Stand in a circle. One child asks a question (they can choose from any on the list) and tosses the bean bag someone. The child who catches the bean bag answers, asks another question and tosses the bean bag to someone else.
You can play this game without providing the questions, of course, but it is more fun and moves more quickly if kids do not have to think of the questions on the spot. They can help make the list before the game.
Pass it down (and back)
To play this game, kids are in a row (as if they were in line). You give instructions on different ways to pass the bean bag down the row. When the bean bag reaches the end, give another instruction and they pass it the other way. If someone drops the bean bag, they take it to the front of the line to start again. To maximize language, do not make the line too long. It is better to have two lines if you need to. Also, teach se me cayó so that when someone drops the bean bag they can say se me cayó as they run to the front.
Here are a few instructions you can give:
– Pasarla usando solo la mano derecha/la mano izquierda. – Pass it with only your right hand/left hand.
– Pasarla usando las dos manos. – Pass it with both hands.
– Pasarla sobre el hombro izquierdo usando la mano derecha – Pass it over your left shoulder using your right hand.
– Pasarla sobre el hombro derecho usando la mano izquierda. – Pass it over your right shoulder using your left hand.
– Pasarla entre las piernas. – Pass it between your legs.
Do it like this.
For this Spanish game, each child needs a bean bag. You give instructions on how to toss and catch it. Ideally, you can model the toss, but that will depend on your bean bag skills.
Here are some possible instructions:
– Lanzar la bolsita al aire, dar un brinco, y atraparla (dar dos brincos). -Toss the beanbag up, jump, and catch it (jump twice).
– Tirar la bolsita hacia atrás, por encima de la cabeza, y atraparla detrás de la espalda. – Toss the bean bag over your head and catch it behind your back.
– Lanzar la bolsita al aire, dar una palmada, y atraparla (dos palmadas, tres palmadas). – Toss the beanbag in the air, clap your hands, and catch it (clap twice, clap three times).
– Lanzar la bolsita al aire y dar una palmada por debajo de la pierna derecha antes de atraparla (por debajo de la pierna izquierda, detrás de la espalda).- Toss the beanbag in the air and clap your hands under your right leg (under your left leg, behind your back).
– Lanzar la bolsita al aire, dar una vuelta, y atraparla. – Toss the beanbag up, spin around, and catch it.
– Lanzar la bolsita al aire, arrodillarse en una rodilla, y atraparla. – Toss the bean bag up, kneel down on one knee and catch it.
– Lanzarla y atraparla con los ojos cerrados. – Toss it and catch it with your eyes closed.
– Lanzar la bolsita y atraparla usando solamente la mano derecha. – Toss the bean bag and catch it with just your right hand.
– Caminar con la bolsita en la cabeza. Correr así. Saltar así. Sentarse así. – Walk with the bean bag on your head. Run. Jump. Sit down.
Kids toss a bean bag and count to see how many times they can catch it. They can just count, or you can use a simple rhyme, similar to a jump rope rhyme. I made this one up and it works fine:
La bolsita, muy bonita
¿cuántas veces será mía? uno, dos…
With this rhyme, kids say the stressed syllables as they catch the bean bag, and then count each catch.
La bolSIta, muy boNIta, ¿cúantas VEces sera MÍa? Uno, dos…