I’m back with another of our night sky activities- shooting star beanbags! One of my favorite memories from my childhood is lying in my front yard with the neighborhood kids watching meteor showers. Although my three-year-olds aren’t quite ready to tackle the science behind a shooting star, they can certainly participate in some active play inspired by the phenomenon! My twins and their classmates had a blast playing games with these shiny beanbags and I know I’ll be able to use them for years to come. Read on for basic instructions and ideas for activities to do with your new beanbags!
Shooting Star Beanbags
*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
To make our beanbags, I used:
- Stretchy gold fabric (a remnant I found at Hobby Lobby)
- Gold star buttons (also from Hobby Lobby)
- Gold and silver ribbons of various thicknesses
- Black thread
- Plastic pellets
- Sewing machine
For each beanbag I made (I ended up making 8), I cut two 3×3″ pieces of the gold shiny fabric. Before doing any sewing, I hand-stitched a star button to the center of the top square of each pair.
After that was completed, I cut four 10.5″ pieces of ribbon for each beanbag. To assemble the beanbag, first I laid out one square of fabric right side up. Then I placed the ribbons on top of the fabric as shown below (step 1).
Next I placed the other square of the beanbag on top of the ribbons right side down, sandwiching the ribbons inside (step 2 above).
After pinning in place, I used my sewing machine to sew around the beanbag as shown (step 3 below), leaving a 1.5″ opening for the ribbons. Then I was able to pull the ribbons to gently turn the bag right side out (step 4).
After filling the bag with plastic pellets using a cardboard funnel, I folded the seam allowance inward and sewed the opening closed using a regular stitch- I attempted an invisible seam but this fabric just would not cooperate! And there you have it- shiny beanbags with long, fluttering tails that trail behind when you throw them just like real shooting stars!
In the classroom, the kids had fun simply taking turns tossing their beanbags into baskets. A group of us also had a great time playing “meteor shower”- we spread a black piece of fabric on the floor, piled our beanbags on top, and then picked up the edges of the fabric and flipped all the beanbags up in the air on the count of three. No doubt we’ll pull these out many times over the next couple of weeks for more active play- there are so many things you can do with a set of beanbags! For more ideas for simple games to play with beanbags, check out this post from Meaningful Mama: 10 Bean Bag Games to Play With Kids. Depending on how you use your beanbags, you can easily stimulate all five domains of development (cognition, language, fine motor, gross motor, and social/emotional skills) as well as early math, literacy, and more…all through play!
More Great Stuff for You
Other night sky activities in this series: