Beanbag Madness
Beanbag Madness

Games: Beanbag Madness

Dick Moss, Editor, PE

Beanbag Madness is a fast-action game that develops throwing and catching skills, field vision and the ability to develop cooperative strategies with teammates. It's ideal for a gymnasium-sized space but can also be played outside on a field or asphalt court.

Using cones or chalk, divide the playing area into 3 sections: a starting zone, a playing area and a scoring zone.

Randomly place 12-25 hoops throughout the playing area, a box filled with beanbags in the starting zone, an empty box in the scoring zone, and another empty box beside the playing area.

Divide your class into an offensive and a defensive team and provide pinnies for the defensive squad. The offensive players all begin the game in the starting zone, while the defensive players take up any position they wish within the playing area.

How to Play
Offensive players score by passing the beanbags from hoop to hoop and into the offensive zone. The defensive players attempt to intercept the beanbags being passed.

Rules include the following:

  1. The beanbags can be advanced by passing only. Offensive players can run from hoop to hoop, but can only be in possession of a beanbag while standing inside a hoop or the scoring zone.
  2. Players can hold a beanbag for a maximum of 15 seconds before passing—and they can stay inside a hoop for a maximum of 15 seconds before moving to another. Once a player enters a hoop, a defender can count off “15 steamboats” to limit the player's time in the hoop.Players who remain in a hoop for longer than 15 seconds can be tagged by a defender, forcing them to run back into the offensive zone before rejoining play.
  3. A point is scored when an offensive player catches a beanbag while standing in the offensive zone. The beanbag is then dropped into the scoring box. At the end of the game, these beanbags are counted to determine the score.
  4. Intercepted passes or beanbags that drop to the floor are immediately placed in the defenders' box beside the playing area.
  5. The offensive team can put any number of beanbags into simultaneous play.
  6. Defensive players cannot step inside a hoop.
  7. A period of play lasts for 5 minutes, after which the defense and offense switch roles.

The interesting thing about this game is that teams can devise strategies on offense and defense. For example, the offensive team can decide to flood an area with players, and make quick short passes. Or they could decide to spread out their team throughout the playing area, and place 3 players in the scoring zone.

1. Hans and Nancy Bulow, ‘Beanbag madness.' Bulletin of the Association of Physical Educators of Quebec, April 1994. 
2. Peter Hastie, Student-Designed Games, Human Kinetics, 2010.

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© 2010, Physical Education,

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