I loved playing with bean bags as a child, probably because I was a bit uncoordinated and bean bags were much easier to catch than a ball that always bounced out of my hands.
There are so many ways kids can play with bean bags, and they are a great way to practice throwing, catching and balancing which develop gross motor skills and encourage active play.
I made these for Emma when she was just a toddler and we’ve had lots of fun playing with them over the years. Even nine years later, she still pulls them out of her toy box for the occasional game of bean bag toss.
Bean bags are very easy to sew, even if you have limited sewing skills. You can make them with just a few fabric scraps and a few pantry items.
Yes it’s time to dig out that old bag of dried beans from the back of the pantry that you can’t remember ever buying and put them to good use!
If you have a budding sewist in your midst, this sewing project is a great one for kids to make. Only a few straight seams on the sewing machine is all that’s required.
Any fairly sturdy fabric will do for this project, including pieces of old clothing like denim from an old pair of jeans.
I’ve got Fun Bean Bag Game ideas for Kids at the bottom of this post, so just scroll down past the DIY Bean Bag Tutorial for the list of ideas.
Let’s Make Bean Bags from Fabric Scraps
You will need:
- Fabric scraps in assorted sizes (medium weight fabric is best)
- Filling (dried beans, popping corn, rice, small plastic or wooden beads, aquarium gravel or plastic pellets)
- Sewing machine
- Fabric scissors
- Sewing pins
- Sheet of paper or wide mouth funnel
- General sewing supplies
Note on fillings: If using food items for filling, store in a cool dry place, avoid getting the bean bags wet and store away from pest attack. If stored properly, your homemade bean bags will bring you joy for may years. We’ve had these bags for nearly and they are still in prefect condition.
If you intend on using bean bags outdoors I’d recommend filling with synthetic corn hole filling that doesn’t rot or develop mildew.
How to Sew your own Bean Bags
1. Your fabric into rectangular/square shapes double the size of your desired size when folded in half. A bean bag no bigger than about the size of your hand is ideal, remember it’s for little hands.
2. Fold in half, right sides together and stitch around 2 sides leaving one side open for turning. Use a 1cm (1/2″) seam allowance. I recommend double stitching the seam using a short stitch length. Trim corners to remove bulk.
3. Turn inside out and on the open side press the fabric inwards to make a 1cm (1/2″) hem.
4. Fill your bag. Roll sheet of paper into a cone shape to act as a funnel and fill about 2/3 full with beans (or desired filling).
5. Move the filling away from the open end and pin closed to secure.
6. Sew opening closed. Stitch seam twice for added strength.
All Done! That wasn’t difficult at all. Take a look below at some fun ways that kids can play with bean bags.
Bean Bag Variations:
- Make bags in different sizes, colours or fabric textures for fun tactile and sensory play. Tactile fabrics to use can include, velvet, corduroy, satin, denim, felt.
- Use assorted fillings and vary the weight of each bag to make tossing games extra challenging.
- Add dried lavender or a few drops of essential oil to filling for some aromatic play. (This may also help repel pests).