I was about to pick up dried beans at the grocery store to make traditional bean bags. On my way in, both kids jumped in parking lot puddles. They're highly skilled at finding the only puddle within a 20 mile radius so I suddenly had second thoughts about the dried beans. The only way to do it was to make bean bags that were washable — bags that could withstand damp grass and children who like to get everything wet. I didn't want to spend time making cool bags only to have a soggy mess of beans at the end of the day. My solution was to make muslin bags filled with pony beads that can be thrown in the washing machine on cold and allowed to air dry.
You will need:
-Freezer paper (I use Reynolds, which can be purchased at the grocery store)
-X-acto or other sharp knife (I have a Fiskars with a comfortable grip)
-Plain muslin (prewashed) and matching thread
-Two colors of fabric paint (I chose purple and bright green)
-Small foam paintbrush (I used two)
-Pony beads (I bought six bags of these and divided them into eight)
-Sewing machine (I have this Brother and love it!) and/or needle and thread
-Ruler or yardstick
-Kids who like to throw things
Step 1: Download this pdf.
Step 2: Divide the pony beads equally between eight bowls.
Step 3: Cut three 8 1/2 x 11" pieces of freezer paper, to be added to the printer one sheet at a time, taking care to insert the correct side up so that it prints on the paper side not the plastic side. Print the pdf.
Step 4: Cut the black part of the numbers out of the freezer paper with the sharp knife and cutting mat, taking care to preserve the white part. Save the inside triangles of the number 4.
Step 5: Measure and cut 16 pieces of washed and ironed muslin, 5 x 6" each.
Step 6: Iron the eight number stencils onto eight pieces of the muslin you just cut.
Step 7: Paint one set of 1-4 in one color and the other set in a different color. Allow paint to dry overnight.
Step 8: When paint is dry, peel off the freezer paper. Iron to set paint (check paint bottle for manufacturer's recommendation).
Step 9: Wrong sides facing, match up each piece of numbered muslin with a blank piece. Stitch around each rectangle with a 3/8" seam allowance, leaving a 2" opening at the bottom so you can turn and fill.
Step 10: Clip corners, turn and fill with pony beads, making sure to add the same amount of beads to each bag. I made a simple paper funnel out of scrap paper.
There were a few beads left over; Annabel is excited to make some cool jewelry!
Step 11: Hand stitch the openings shut.
Step 12: Find a long hallway or patch of lawn and let the kids aim and throw!
If you'd like to use these for a party, consider making additional sets of bean bags and grabbing a few extra hula hoops. Hula hoops come in varying sizes, so allow smaller kids to use larger hoops and bigger kids to try for the smaller ones. Also consider playing in teams!
A) Print two copies of pdf on six pieces of freezer paper to have numbers on both sides of the bean bags. That way it doesn't matter which side they land on!
B) If you would prefer larger bean bags and don't feel like dividing the pony beads, buy eight bags and make slightly larger muslin squares.
C) If you have two days to let paint dry, you can cut one set of number stencils and use them on the first day with one paint color and the second day with the other paint color.
Much of Memorial Day weekend was a washout here in New Hampshire, so we played indoors with the hope that the lawn would eventually dry out. I hope you were able to enjoy a lovely long weekend.