email this idea to a friend Export to pdf Export to doc

Name of Activity:

Bean Bag Battle

Purpose of Activity:

To help students practice catching and throwing skills in a dynamic setting. To familiarize the students with the utilization of the entire open space, along with concept of “getting open.”


Students have already learned and practiced the basics of catching and throwing in both a static and dynamic setting. “Keep-away” with three people is an excellent lead-up game.

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

Cones for general space boundaries and to mark lanes , bean bags, balls (Gatorskin or similar type of ball), Jerseys

Description of Idea

Play space set-up – similar to 5 yard line markers in football. Space needs to be divided into eight equal horizontal sections (two halves).

Divide class into two teams (jerseys vs. non-jerseys). Each team begins with bean bags (20-30) behind their end-line in a bucket, and with their own gatorskin balls, or any similar type ball which can easily be caught by your students. The number of balls is determined by the number of participants, if you have 12 people to a side, allow 4 balls. Basically, the number of balls equals 1/3 the number of players. This “helps” each team to focus not only on offense but to play defense, as well.

Each team starts on their designated side, on “GO” they can travel into the other team’s side to try to earn bean bags. They earn bean bags by successfully catching a ball thrown by their teammate, from their teams’ side of the play space. (Each thrower may go as far up as the center line to throw a ball to their teammate on the opponent’s side). The opposing team can guard, block or intercept. If the opposing team intercepts a thrown ball, they earn the specific amount of beanbags that the opposing team would have earned .

The goal is for each team to earn all the bean bags in the opponent’s bucket by successfully catching balls on the opponent’s side of the court. The four lanes on each side coincide with the number of bean bags which can be earned with a successful catch in that lane. For example, the first lane (going horizontal) equals 0 bean bags (which allows a buffer-zone for throwers/catchers), the second lane equals 1 bean bag, the third lanes equals 2 bean bags, and the last lane equals 3 bean bags. A ball thrown from your team’s side, and caught in the third lane of the other team’s side, earns your team 2 bean bags. You would go behind the other team’s end line and get 2 bean bags from the bucket, and then take them back to your team’s side and add them to your bucket. The other way to earn bean bags, as stated earlier, is to intercept a ball thrown by the other team. The team that captures all the opponent’s bean bags first wins the game.

Assessment Ideas:

Either at the end of the game, or during it if need be, check for understanding by asking students, "How did you get yourself open?”, “What’s a good way to play defense?", “If you are a thrower, did you use a fake to help the receiver get open?”

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities

For sudents with visual impairments use balls that make noise and balls can be rolled instead of thrown. Buddies can be used with wheel chair participants if needed.

Submitted by Brian Balocki who teaches at Trinity School in Atlanta, GA. Additional authors for this idea were Laura Kuehn, Roie Shields. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 1/26/2003.
Viewed 186299 times since 1/17/2003.

| More

Bean Bag Battle

Post a Comment:

Let others know how this idea went when you implemented/tried it with your kids. Include any variations, suggested teaching tips, positive comments, etc. so others can benefit from your tips. Please be helpful and positive with all comments. Look below to see all posted comments.



Previous Comments:

Ali Munley

The cognition required is a challenge for the recommended age group. I tried the game with grades 4 and 5, and it took many pauses in the game until the students finally understood how the game is to be played. I would not attempt this with 3rd grade.

Search for lesson ideas