Bean Bag Balance

Children will use bean bags to explore balance and spatial relationships.


Lesson Objective

Children will explore balance and spatial relationships using bean bags.


What You'll Need

  • Wide masking tape – 1 roll
  • Bean bags – 2 per child

What To Do

  1. Place two 12-foot lengths of masking tape on the floor in two straight lines about 3 feet apart.
  2. Tell the children that they will be using their balance to walk along the length of tape, placing one foot behind the other, without stepping off the tape. Tell the children that they will need to keep their balance (see Did You Know?).
  3. Divide the children into two groups with a single-file line at each taped line.
  4. Distribute one bean bag to each child.
  5. Have each child take a turn walking on the taped line while holding the bean bag in his or her hands.
  6. Demonstrate placing the bean bag in the middle of the line. Then, walk on the tape but step over the bean bag.
  7. Have the children take turns following these directions.
  8. Have the children walk on the tape again, then instruct them to squat down, pick up their bean bag, and proceed to the end of the tape, all without stepping off the tape.
  9. Distribute the second bean bag to each child.
  10. Demonstrate placing the bean bags about 5 inches apart on the tape. Then, walk on the tape and step over both bean bags in one step before proceeding to the end of the tape.
  11. Have the children take turns following these directions.

Guiding Student Inquiry

  • Explain why exercise is important.
  • Tell me how you stayed on the tape.
  • Describe what you did to get from one end of the tape to the other.
  • Tell me what parts of your body you used for this activity.

Explore, Extend & Integrate

  • Try having the children walk along the taped line holding the bean bag on their shoulders, on top of the head, or over the head without touching the head.
  • Try moving the two bean bags a little farther apart each time they cross the tape until the children really have to stretch to step over the bean bags.
  • You can play music while doing this activity. Have the children dance along the tape, hop along the tape, or play a game of “Freeze” as they walk along the tape.

Check for Children’s Understanding

  • Could children explain why exercise is important?
  • Could children describe what they had to do to stay on the tape?
  • Could children tell what parts of their bodies they were using?


Did You Know?

Movement is necessary for children to be active learners. Our bodies have built-in messengers that send and receive signals from the brain. These messengers work harder when we exercise. Our brains control our bodies, and different parts of the brain keep each other aware of what they are doing. When we participate in movement activities, our brains make our whole bodies become instruments of learning. 

Our bodies have special sense receptors that provide our balance. Balance is the result of many of our body systems working together. Our eyes, ears, and our spatial awareness need work together to help us maintain our balance. When our balance is interrupted, we become dizzy or lightheaded.

Vocabulary: Child-Friendly Definitions

  • bean bag – a small cloth bag with dried beans or pellets sealed inside, used as a plaything.
  • balance – the state of the body being steady.
  • spatial – relating to space.
  • movement – a motion or way of moving.
  • active – always doing something; busy; full of energy.
  • relationship – a connection of some kind.

Lesson Tips

Some children may have difficulty staying on the tape. You could make the line wider by placing a second length of tape directly next to one of the lines to make it easier for those children to feel successful.


  • Going From Here to There by Sara E. Hoffmann
  • Mike: The Tike on the Bike: An Adventurous Story of a Boy, His Bike, and His Balance! by Michael Ward
  • Duck on a Bike by David Shannon
  • Froggy Rides a Bike by Jonathan London

Home School Resources

Home educators: use these printable lesson PDFs to teach this lesson to your home schoolers. They're available in English and Spanish.

Home/School Connections

Las Conexiones a la Casa

While we believe that the books and resources recommended may be of value to you, keep in mind that these are suggestions only and you must do your own due diligence to determine whether the materials are appropriate and suitable for your use. PNC has no sponsorship or endorsement agreement with the authors or publishers of the materials listed.

Content Provided By

Common Core State Standards Initiative – These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge [1]. Visit the CCSS