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Bag Toss

Goal Interconnection, Focus, Communication Time
Time 10 minutes (not including processing)
Physical contact Minimal
Physical challenges Must be able to throw and catch a beanbag
Number of participants 12-30 people
Space requirements Open floor space
Materials needed Between 5 and 15 beanbags, depending on the size of the group
Preparation None

Instructions

  1. Have people stand in a circle.
  2. To begin, establish an order for throwing the beanbags (see “Establishing a Pattern”).
  3. Once the pattern has been established, begin the exercise by calling someone’s name and throwing a beanbag underhand to that person. Tell the group to throw underhand throughout the exercise.
  4. While the first bag is making its way around the circle, tell the group that you are going to start adding more bags. Remind them that it is important to continue calling names.
  5. Start throwing out more beanbags. By varying the number of bags and the speed at which you are throwing them, you can make the exercise more manageable or more overwhelming, depending on the needs of the group and the issue(s) to be illustrated. Note that when someone drops or fails to catch a bag, they simply pick up the bag and continue.
  6. When you are ready to end the exercise, hold the beanbags as they come back to you, rather than sending them around the circle again.

Establishing a Pattern

You can establish the pattern with handshakes or with beanbags:

  1. With handshakes, the facilitator (person A) calls the name of someone (person B) across the circle, makes eye contact with the person called, then walks across to shake their hand. Person B calls the name of someone else (person C) and shakes that person’s hand. Person C calls someone else who has not yet been called. This continues until everyone has been chosen once (and only once). Everyone is free to choose whomever they want among those who have not yet been chosen. The last person to be called closes the loop by calling the name and shaking the hand of person A. Ask everyone to remember whose hand they shook, as that is the person to whom they are going to throw the bag. Before moving on with the exercise, practice the pattern with another quick round of handshakes to make sure that everyone remembers to whom they are throwing.
  2. With beanbags, the procedure is to call the name and then throw a beanbag.

Processing Suggestions

Variation – Bag Toss with a Reverse

Instructions

Additional processing suggestions

Variation – Bag Toss with Movement

Additional Goal Different perspectives

Note: This exercise works well with a group that is very familiar with Bag Toss and some of the other variations, but it is too complicated for a group that is new to the exercise. This variation is very challenging and chaotic. Expect it to fall apart a bit.

Instructions

Additional processing suggestions

Variation – Think Ahead Bag Toss

Additional Goal Planning

Note: This variation should be used with a group that has played Bag Toss before.

Instructions

Additional processing suggestion

Variation – Bag Toss with Left Outs

Additional Goal Planning

Note: This variation can be high-risk depending on the group. It brings out issues of exclusion, which can be difficult for people to deal with.

line drawing illustration

Instructions

Additional processing suggestions