Editor’s note: This post was updated on Feb. 17, 2023.
Hacky sacks are a hit with adults and children alike, offering endless opportunities for physical activity and fun. For beginners or old-school pros, this simple bean bag is a great addition to any family’s active toolbox. So grab your hacky sack (or make one!) and try our nine activities for fun and developing physical literacy.
1. Junior Juggler (skills: throwing, catching)
Start simple. Ask your child to throw the hacky sack from one hand to the other, building the height of the toss as they get the hang of it.
2. Balance the Beans (skill: balance)
This one is a gym class favourite! Place the hacky sack on any body part and balance it there for a set amount of time (try 5 seconds to start!) For an extra challenge: try walking around while still balancing the hacky sack.
3. Catch It! (skills: throwing, catching)
Ask your child to stand some distance away from you and gently toss the hacky sack to them using an underhand motion. The objective is for your child to catch the hacky sack using their hands and arms. For an added skill: ask your child to throw the hacky sack back to you (underhand or overhand).
Related read: 6 active games kids can play with a pair of socks
4. Dodge It! (skill: dodging)
Using the same distance set for Catch It! ask your child to intentionally dodge the hacky sack as you toss it gently in their direction. Remember to vary the placement of your toss. The ability to dodge in a controlled manner, without falling or stumbling, is an important skill for sports, and it is also an important life skill (how many times have you had to jump out of the way of a car backing up in a parking lot, for example, or a toboggan on the ski hill?).
5. Hop Hop Hacky Sack (skill: hopping)
Ask your child to place the hacky sack on the ground and hop over it with one leg. They can hop front-to-back, side-to-side and in any pattern they choose. Don’t forget to practice with each leg!
6. Jump the Beans (skill: jumping, leaping)
This activity is similar to Hop Hop Hacky Sack but now you should ask your child to jump and land using both legs. When they get comfortable jumping in all directions, use the hacky sack as a marker to jump towards. For an added progression: try leaping, jumping with one leg and landing with the other.
7. Basket Toss (skill: throwing)
This activity is similar to this Laundry Shoot activity. Place a basket, bowl, or garbage bin some distance away and ask your child to throw the hacky sack into the target. Remember to practice both underhand and overhand throwing, and to increase the distance as their accuracy improves.
8. Strike It! (skill: striking)
Just like Dodge It!, gently toss the hacky sack in your child’s direction and ask them to strike it with their hand down to the ground. As they improve, introduce a bat, racquet, or paddle to strike the hacky sack. Remember to ensure a safe environment for everyone to play in.
9. Spin Like a Top (skills: balance, spinning)
This activity requires your child to balance the hacky sack on their head and spin around in one place. Spinning is the ability to rotate the body around a centred point while holding one or more body positions simultaneously. For an extra challenge: balance the hacky sack on an outstretched arm.
All of these physical literacy-building activities can be done indoors in some open space, which is great for cold winter days. Try them out with your kids and let us know what you think in the comment section below. Who knew a bag of beans could be so much fun?