8 Ways to Use Number Bean Bags to Teach Math

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8 ways to use number bean bags to teach your child math.

8 Ways to Use Number Bean Bags to Teach Your Child Math

Counting is essential, sometimes it is hard to engage a child in counting. I found these number bean bags to be a fun way to count with my own children. It has been fun to teach numbers and counting. Today I will be sharing 8 ways to use number bean bags to teach your child math.

Where do I get Number Bean Bags?

If you are creative and have the time, you can make your own number bean bags (as well as letters, colors, shapes etc. Bean Bags are a fun learning tool) If you lack time or creativity you can purchase them and start playing and learning rather quickly.  The Number Bean Bags from Educational Insights are what we use in our home and what is featured in this post.

Purchase a set here!

Using Number Bean Bags in Our Home

Number bean bags has made teaching early math, numbers and counting tons of fun! Using them as a way to count and read and recognize the numerical and number word is just one way to use them. Another way we enjoy using them is to have the children fill in the missing numbers in a number line (a slight variation from the Number Line Toss I mention later). There are numerous games you can play with bean bags in this post I am concentrating on Numbers and Math. These games can be played by one or many with little or no alterations.

Toss and Say

Divide children into pairs or small groups (or you one on one with your child). Give each team a pile of bean bags. Depending on the age and ability of your children/ students, have children stand from three to six (or more) feet from one another. Have the children take turns tossing the bean bags to one another, identifying them on each toss. (with a larger group you can have children toss and say the bean bags in numerical order.)

Number Line Toss

Place the bean bags on the ground in numerical order, leaving spaces for some “missing” numbers. For Example 1,2,3,6,7,11, and so on, Have children choose the missing numbers and toss them into the correct position on the number line.

Number Relay

(for large groups, good to play at birthday parties)
Divide the bean bags into two equal piles, one for the numbers 1 to 10 and one for the numbers 11 to 20. Place the bean bags in two large shoe boxes or other containers at the start of the race. Place two empty containers at the end of the race. Divide your participants into two teams. Have the first child in each team find the bean bag with the team’s assigned the first number on it (1 or 11). As soon as the child finds the number, (s)he balances it on his head, hand, shoulder or other chosen body part, walks quickly to the empty container, deposits his bean bag in the correct order, and runs back to the starting point. The next child finds the next number in the sequence, balances it, races to the container, and so on. The winning team is the one that finishes first, with the numbers in the correct order.

Number Toss

Make a giant number game board with a plastic shower curtain or tablecloth. Draw grid lines with a permanent marker, dividing the fame board into 20 sections. Cut out pictures from magazines or printed from the internet, use stickers, or have children draw sets of objects or animals for each number from 1 – 20 on large index cards. Tape the pictures on the game board. Have children take turns tossing the bean bags onto the pictures with the matching number of objects.  *Depending on age young children pictures should be taped in numerical order for older children images placed randomly will be a good challenge.

Name That Number

Draw ten large number circles on the ground, or pieces of large paper placed on the ground. Label each circle with a number word from one to ten. Set out the bean bags, number side up. Have children toss the appropriate bean bags into the circles. Afterwards, they can turn the little bean bags over to check their tosses. (the bean bags I have have the written word for the number on the opposite side) When children have mastered the number words from one to ten, try the number words from eleven to twenty. You can also Label the circles with the number 1 -10 and set out the bean bags, number word side up.

Toss and Add

Write addition facts (with sums 20 or less) on index cards, such as 3 +4, 9+8, 10+2, and so on. Mix up the deck of cards. Children take turns  tossing choosing a card and then throwing the bean bags for the facts and their solution into a large laundry basket, calling out the facts as they go into the basket, for example, “Three plus four equals seven.” For younger or more inexperienced children, you can print the answers on the other side of the cards. You can also do this using subtraction, multiplication and division esp if you make your own bean bags you can go up to as high as you choose.

Bean Bag Addition Fun

Draw an “addition circle” for children to toss bean bags into. Label the circle with a number, such as 10. Have children choose two bean bags whose sum is 10, such as 4, and 6, 2 and 8 and so on. Have children take turns tossing the bags into the number circle calling out the numbers for each toss for example “eight plus two equals ten.” Again you can try this game with other operations.

Coffee Can Toss

Collect five large coffee cans. Make sure the metal rim is free of jagged edges or cover edges with duct tape. Cover the cams with self-adhesive paper. Draw the numerals 1 -5 on the front of each can and mark a corresponding number of dots or sets of object images or animal images on the back of each can. Place the bean bags in a large basket. Affix colored tape or velcro throw line to the floor and mark the location for the cans to be placed with colored tape or velcro on the floor. The object of the game would be to let the children match the bean bags with the numbers or dots/objects on the can tossing the corresponding bean bags.


What do you think of these math manipulatives? Do you have any ideas that you think we will love? Let us know in the comments. Used any of our suggestions snap a photo and Tag us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram use the hashtag- #bloomingbrilliant

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8 ways to use number bean bags to teach your child math.

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