Boom!

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Cause-and-effect is big at ten months, and this simple game is sure to delight!

I sat down with Veronika in front of an empty plastic bin. Making sure she was watching, I tossed in a bean bag and said, “Boom!”

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Well she sure thought that was funny!

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I repeated with a ball, “Boom!” She immediately began mimicking the word. “Boo boo boo!”

Now it was her turn; I handed her a ball which she placed in rather than dropped into the bucket, but she had the idea!

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For some extra fun, I sprinkled flour in the bottom of the bin.

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The bean bags and balls made just enough of an impact for a light dusting to fly up when items landed, further enhancing the notions of cause and effect.

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And it was so fun that big brother wanted in on the action!

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Backyard Bean Bags

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Travis and I made these adorable homemade bean bags this morning before his first day of camp; I wanted to send him off in high spirits after quality mom and son time!

To prepare the bean bags, spoon about 1/2 cup dried beans into small zip-top bags.

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Squeeze out the air and seal tightly.

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Insert each bag into the toe of a small sock (or an old, longer sock that you’ve cut just above the ankle). Twist the top of the sock into a knot to tie.

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These were so cute (Travis loved that they were circular instead of square like ones from the store) and have great heft. Already they were fun to play with, just tossing or juggling!

But now we needed to play with them! First we set up a classic Bean Bag Toss with buckets.

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It was mommy versus Travis for a few rounds to see who could get it in!

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Next up: Target Practice! I drew three different colored circles of different sizes and labeled them as worth 10, 20, and 30 points.

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Travis not only loved it, but made up a new rule. If you hit this blade of grass, you were instantly out.

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In the evening, we found a few more ways to play with the beanbags. First, a round of Stuck in the Mud. With this game, you run with a bean bag on your head. If it falls, you freeze in place until another person returns the bean bag to your head.

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This was a highlight of our day, getting the whole family out running around in the new yard! But keeping the bean bag on our heads proved very tough, so Travis changed the rules: you simply had to pelt another player with a bean bag to make him or her It.

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Luckily the bean bags are the perfect soft item for a game like this.

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Soon we were all silly and rolling around in the grass.

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Baby sister loved just watching!

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As a final game, we played Tower Toppling, a riff on a classic carnival game. We only had one rinsed and empty can to play with, but will be repeating this game with a whole tower for sure!

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For our game, the goal was to see who could knock over the can first.

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If you have a full tower, see who can knock down all the cans with the fewest throws to declare the winner.

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Any and all of these games would be fantastic with a crowd; consider them your next summer gathering, whether a barbecue, block party, or family get-together.

Update: After collecting a few bean cans, we could truly play topple the tower.

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Travis loved getting out his energy with a round of this before dinner!

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Toddler Olympics

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Although not exactly timely, we had some random fun playing “Olympic games” this past week.

For an adorable version of toddler discus and javelin throw, mark a bull’s eye on a sheet of paper. Paper plates become your discus and plastic straws make the perfect javelin.

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Get the whole family in on the action and see who comes closest to the target! Or just have fun launching the plates all around, as Travis did.

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We followed up with a bean bag race. Our favorite version was crawling with the bean bag on our backs, seeing who could last the longest, but you could also try running from a start to finish line with the bean bag on your head, or see who can toss the most bean bags into a basket.

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Finally, we made an Olympic ring craft. Although I largely had to piece it together, it was great practice for Travis to see how a straight strip of paper can fold into a circle. Once our rings were complete, I showed him the true Olympic logo online, and he was delighted to see that ours matched, including the colors in the same places.

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What other toddler “sports” would you add? Please share in the comments!