Let’s go back to the basics and uncover the reasoning behind these bonkers bean-based ideas!
In the year 2019-2020 a mere 44.9% (less than half) of children in England met the guidelines set by the chief medical officer, of an average of 60 minutes or more of physical activity per day. Experiences for physical activity should support bone and muscle strengthening as well as cardiac health. Regular physical activity reduces the risks associated with illnesses such as Heart Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, Osteoporosis, Cancers and Childhood Obesity as well as reducing fatigue, improving mood and developing resilient and independent learners.
So… what does the bean game entail? From Broad Beans to Butter Beans and French beans to Beans in the microwave, we have a move for them all! Prior to the game commencing, we run through the various names of the beans and the actions that accompany them. A list of examples we like to use at Banana Moon can be seen below. One of our highly enthusiastic Early Years Professionals will then shout out the name of a bean and the children are tasked with remembering the move and acting it out. As children gain in confidence, we increase the speed at which we call the names of the beans to get their heart rates and minds racing.
String bean - Reach up towards the sky and stand on tiptoes.
Broad bean - Spread arms and legs out to the side
Butter bean - Slide around the space with arms out wide
Beans in the microwave - Sit on your bottom and spin around using your legs.
Shakespeare bean - Take to one knee and point to the sky with one hand and say “to bean or not to bean”
Cheesy beans - Grin as wide as you can
Jelly bean - Wiggle and jump around as much as you can
Chilly bean - Wrap your arms around yourself and shiver .
There are many more, these are just a few of our favourites!
As well as providing an opportunity for gross motor movement and physical activity, children are supported to develop their listening and attention and memory and recall skills and are empowered to come up with their own suggestions for new types of beans and the moves that would accompany them. Children develop their self-confidence and awareness of themselves by sharing their ideas in a group and being proud of their individual contributions. And the best part is… a large chunk of your 60 minutes of physical exercise has been achieved in the most innovative and exciting way!
The bean game can be slotted in at any point of your day, morning or evening and can be used as a learning experience during which children can expel some of their excess energy or with alternative learning intentions such as developing their self-confidence to contribute their own ideas, learning new vocabulary, and working together with their peers to recall the different beans.
We have had such fantastic feedback from parents and carers of the children at Banana Moon, Rothwell, who have said that they have adored watching their children acting out the different beans at home and getting them up and about to teach them how to play. The children have been sharing their experiences of the bean game at nursery and have spoken extremely fondly of the experiences they have had. The children have initiated their own “bean games” at home and have shown pride in coming into nursery and bringing their own ideas of new beans. The children are even beginning to take control of their own learning, initiating the bean game with their peers, with only a small amount of adult support.
We are noticing a massive difference in the children’s ability to focus and their overall level of general well-being as a result of an increase in physical activity and we hope that you too, now have the confidence to introduce your own bean game at home! Altogether- "To bean or not to bean"!!!