Beanbag Relay

As they sprint, stoop, drop and retrieve, students develop new athletic and teamwork skills

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Objective and overview:
Beanbag Relay is a relay game in which students race to drop off and pick up beanbags on a marked course. As they do, they improve their speed, anaerobic endurance, and agility.

You may want to do 10 Seconds and Counting first so students are familiar with sprinting form.

Time Required:
20 minutes

Three beanbags for each team
Three cones or other markers per team to mark the course

Prepare for the Activity

  • Watch the Beanbag Relay video to acquaint yourself with the game, and review the sprinting form elements discussed in the 10 Seconds and Counting lesson.
  • Set up a course. You'll need a straightaway of about 15 meters that is wide enough for multiple teams to run on at once. At each 5-meter mark or thereabouts, set one cone in each team's lane.
  • Set three beanbags at the start for each team.

Introduce the Activity

  • Tell your students that Beanbag Relay will help them develop speed and agility. Explain that agility is the ability to start, stop, and change direction quickly.
  • Explain that the first runners on each team will pick up a beanbag and run to the first cone, bend down and place the beanbag at that cone, race back to get another beanbag, then race to the second marker and bend down and place the bag there. They will repeat the same pattern for the third beanbag before racing back to the start and tagging the hand of the next teammate in line.
  • The second runner for each team will then race to pick up each beanbag in the same manner: Grab the beanbag at the first marker, race back and bend down to place it at the start, and do the same for the final two beanbags.
  • The rest of the runners for each team will repeat the process, with Runner 3 placing the beanbags one at a time at each marker (as Runner 1 did), and Runner 4 picking them up (as Runner 2 did), etc.
  • Demonstrate what Runner 1 and Runner 2 will do. Make sure you bend down and place the bag at the markers, rather than tossing or dropping them. Emphasize that you want them to work on their ability to bend and move quickly in different directions.

Conduct the Activity

  1. Split students into groups and line them up at the start of the course.
  2. Conduct the game as explained above.
  3. You can play this game again and again, depending on the time available. Give the kids a few minutes of rest between games.

Assess the Students

What to watch for:

  • Make sure kids are bending down and placing the beanbags on the ground, not tossing or dropping them.
  • Watch for correct sprinting form— high knees, appropriate arm swing and posture, quick feet, and lengthened stride without over-striding.
  • Also watch for agility, as demonstrated by fast starts and stops with quick changes in direction rather than students slowing down long before the cones or making big wide turns.

Direction cues to share with students:

  • “Place the bag, don’t throw it.”
  • “Quick at the cone.”
  • “Lift your knees.”
  • “Quick feet.”
  • “Sprint!”
  • “Swing your arms.”

Note: Only give a student one direction at a time.


After playing the Beanbag Relay game, discuss with the kids how it went. Consider using questions such as:

  • What was the hardest part about this game? Why?
  • Was this game harder or easier than you thought it would be? Why?
  • Was it hard to stop and turn around quickly when you were running so fast? Did you feel you got better at turning quickly the more you did it?
  • What form-related things did you think about while you were sprinting?


  • To challenge the students, have each team run through twice to complete a game, rather than once (i.e., the order of runners is 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4).
  • As an alternative, have each team run twice to complete a game in this order: 1-1-2-2-3-3-4-4. So each runner would first place the bags down, and then pick them up before the next runner went. This would be more of an endurance exercise.
  • For younger students, use one beanbag for them to take back and forth or make an X on the floor with brightly colored tape so the students know where to pick up and put down the bean bag.

Inclusion Strategies

Classrooms are filled with learners who demonstrate a variety of needs and abilities, including ESL students, those with disabilities, and gifted/talented students. Consider these adaptations as you work to modify the lesson for student success.

  • Provide objects with different textures and sizes to be placed and picked up. Have larger objects for students who have trouble bending down.
  • Walk through the activity multiple times before having the students race.
  • Have students pair up and do the activity at the same time.
  • Have visuals on what each person in line is going to do. For example, Player 1 is going to put down the beanbag, so have a picture of a person putting something on the floor; for Player 2, have a picture of a person picking something up and putting it in a basket. Along with the verbal instruction, students will have a visual.
  • Allow students to place down or pick up just one cone’s beanbag instead of doing all three, or allow them to do all three in a row, then come back to the start instead of to the first cone and then back.
  • Use Velcro balls and a Velcro stick (or fun noodle with Velcro on it) to pick up the object if they cannot reach it.
  • Make sure there is enough room between each team giving student enough room to turn, or if a student gets side tracked they won’t run into someone else.


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