Beanbag Wars

We think it’s really important to make a deliberate effort to build our family identity, to invest in relationships with our children and to foster a “we-ism” rather than “me-ism” attitude. That takes time and means that we have to plan to spend time together as a family. Saturday is often the day of the week that we make this happen.   

We had our first beanbag war on a Saturday morning a few months back. Surprisingly, it was really great fun. I have to admit, the idea of heading outside to play family games in the backyard didn’t interest me in the slightest, however I was very glad I did in the end. It turned out to be a really enjoyable family bonding time with the added bonus of getting some exercise while we were at it (something I am not particularly fond of normally!)

Who can play?

All ages – it’s a family game. Our youngest ones are a little lost but we simply assigned them to “guard the fort” and call out to warn us when a foe was approaching. They could also collect beanbags for other team members or just have fun randomly throwing their beanbags at anyone in range. My husband and I had a ball chasing after each other (it’s good for your romantic life too!) and if you had teenagers they could really get some strategic plans happening.

What you need:

Two flags (tea towels will do, or home made are fun and each team can design their own)

Ammunition – in the form of small beanbags or newspaper balls. (Scrunch up sheets of newspaper to form tennis ball sized balls and tape together.)

Two forts (we use a plastic kiddy slide at one end and a water trolley on its side at the other – anything will do.)

Game objective:

To snatch the other team’s flag and return to your own fort

How to:

Each person begins with a set number of beanbags (how many depends on the age and number of children playing. In our house, adults get 2 or 3, older children get 3 and younger children get 4.)

Once the battle charge is raised, team members simply have to get to the other team’s fort and grab their flag, returning it to their own fort before the opposing team captures theirs.

Team members are able to throw their beanbags at the opposition at any time and when hit, players must return to their own fort and touch it before beginning their approach again.

Rules:

If you are hit by a beanbag, you must return to your own fort before rejoining play.

If you have been hit and have not yet touched your fort, you are unable to participate (You cannot throw your beanbags at an opposition player)

If you are carrying a flag and are hit, you must drop the flag wherever you are before returning to your fort. Beanbags must not contact above the shoulders

Once bean bags have been thrown, you may collect any available beanbag, but not more than you had to begin with – extras must be left for other players to collect.

Rough play is not part of this game – it is a non-contact activity.

Good sportsmanship must be displayed at all times. All team members will congratulate the winning team after each round.

Poor sportsmanship will result in players being barred from participation and given further consequences if deemed necessary by team captains (Mum and Dad.)

One-to-one correspondence

One-to-one correspondence is a basic mathematical skill and without it children are unable to count accurately. To be able to say one number to one object seems very simple, but anyone who has ever watched a child who is in the very beginning stages of counting will have seen them saying numbers out loud while pointing or touching objects, without those numbers actually matching up with the objects being counted!

Another simple developmental counting error you will see is a child who counts the same object more than once or skips objects entirely. Presenting activities that allow opportunity in a self-correcting way to practise this one-on-one correspondence helps put in place the experience necessary for successful counting.

They are self-correcting in that there should be only one object in each compartment and running out or having some left over allows the child to see that an error has been made. These activities can be presented to children anywhere from around 18 months and upwards, depending on the developmental level of the child.

 

Toddlers and Cupboards.

What is it with toddlers and cupboard doors? They are naturally fascinated with opening and closing doors and of course checking out what you have stored away inside your cupboards. It is possible to simply train your toddler not to open any cupboards in the house and this may be the preferred option for you. I have in fact done this with several of my children, with the idea that I don’t want to clean up any more mess and that children need to know their physical boundaries and simply obey their parents.

While obedience and boundaries are certainly important, I have slowly come around to the conclusion (helped by having twin toddlers) that it is simply easier for everyone if there is one special door (or drawer) that toddlers can be directed to when they are itching to explore.

They will still gain the understanding that there are physical boundaries and need to obey when Mummy says “Don’t touch,” however being able to redirect that interest with the simple instruction to “Go to Jamie’s cupboard” makes obedience more palatable for them. Some parents use the plastic storage area, the pots and pans cupboard or clean out a bottom drawer. I have a ground level cupboard with a shelf that I fill with a small selection of books and toys and occasionally rotate.

As you can see by the picture, the attraction here is the cupboard itself, rather than the toys and it didn’t take long for the twins to work out how to remove the little shelf and insert themselves – usually at the same time!