Teaching Colors: Rainbow Bean (or Rice) Bags

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We’ve been doing pre-preschool for a few weeks now. I’ve been using the Brightly Beaming Toddler curriculum. It’s a very laid back plan for 1 year olds. There’s no theme (which I actually miss…), you just work small lessons into your daily routine.

This week’s indoor activity is Bean Bag Catch. You have bean bags for the 6 basic colors (Dexter must have nicked my green in the picture above… just noticed I’m one short!) and as you toss a bag, you call out its color.

It’s a great idea to have bean bags available for your preschooler! They are a great teaching tool. These can not only be used to teach colors, they can be used for counting, working on motor skills (tossing into containers), and lots of other fun games for groups (hot potato, bean bag hunt, etc).

So I made some! They’re so easy, I think it took me 45 minutes max! Here’s how to make your own:

What you need:

-Beans or rice for filling (I used plain brown rice)

-Fabric in red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple (I cut my strips to 4.5”x8.5”)

-Scissors

-Thread (I used basic black)

-Needle or sewing machine (machine is going to be waaaay faster)

-Funnel (optional: if you don’t have one, it’s ok, it will just take a little longer to fill the bags)

Step 1: Cut your 4.5”x8.5” strips.

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Step 2: Fold the strips, right sides together, and sew about 1/4” from the edge. Make sure you leave an opening to turn the bags! I started sewing about 1.5” away from the end so I wouldn’t forget! When sewing, reinforce the ends so the stitches don’t start coming undone!

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Step 3: Your child is going to get bored… entertain him 🙂 Dexter LOVES playing with dry rice. Moving it from container to container is a great way to work on those fine motor skills. Just keep an eye out so none ends up shoved in an ear or a nose! I always give him just a little so that it will be ok if he eats a piece or two. But normally he doesn’t try, I think he figured out pretty fast that dry rice isn’t really yummy.

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Step 4: Clip thee threads, then turn the bags through the opening.

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Step 5: Fill the bags! Here’s another time for your toddler to help! Dex only got about 4 grains into the bag, but it was great to give him something to do!

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It was going to be time consuming to stuff rice into a 1.5” hole, and I was so excited to remember that I had funnels, conveniently in both a mommy and a baby size!

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Fill to about 3/4 full. You want the bags to be loose… we’re not making softballs here! You also want to leave enough room so it will be easy for you to sew across the top to close the bag.

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Step 6: Fold in the fabric at the opening and sew across, making sure to reinforce the ends.

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Dexter was so excited to play with our new rice bags, even more so after he found out that they served a purpose. He’s been trying to tell me colors ever since 🙂

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These can be made using scraps around your house, and they’re a great (quick and cheap!!) gift idea for anyone with a preschooler. The only word of caution is to always supervise young children when they’re playing with anything full of choking hazards! Regularly look over your bags to make sure the fabric and seams are holding up well. And remember, it’s always more fun to play together anyway!

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