A Simple Parenting Strategy for Toddlers Who Throw Things

bean bags w words

And that means all toddlers (at least all of the ones I know).

OG will clear off entire shelves and tables of puzzles, toys, whatever is in her path.

And sometimes she thinks it’s funny (Ugh!).

A friend of ours has a basket of bean bags and other soft objects that he can toss inside when he feels like throwing things.

What a great idea, right?

I hate saying “no” all of the time and prefer to say “yes” as often as possible (more about that another time) so a basket full of soft things that are okay to throw is perfect.

I had some fabric hanging around as well as some dried beans so I decided to just make some. They are super simple! And since I had all of the supplies already they are super free too!

Bean Bags

What you need:

  • Fabric
  • Sewing machine of needle and thread
  • Dry beans (I used 2 different kinds: navy and kidney)

What you do:

Cut your fabric into squares. The number and size of the squares will depend on how many bean bags you want and how big you want them to be. I had 8 that were roughly 4 inches square. So I cut 16 squares that were 4.5 inches square.

Place two squares right sides together and sew around 3 sides. It’s a good idea to back stitch both ends but if you don’t you can still make it work.


Turn the newly sewn pouch right side out and fill half full with your choice of dry beans. I think the kidney beans were the most bean baggy of the beans I tried.


Next, turn the open edges in like this


Sew a straight stitch across to close it and you’re done.

How it works:

When OG starts throwing things I gently remind her I don’t want her to throw books or puzzles but if she wants to throw she can throw the bean bags. It doesn’t always work (does anything?) but when it does it stops a bad cycle before it begins. let me explain:

OG throws things for a few different reasons (that I can figure out, I’m sure there are more motives hidden in that beautiful, clever head of hers):

She’s exploring- She just wants to know what sound something will make when it hits the floor, or the wall, or my face (sigh). This is almost always redirect-able (I may have made this word up) to the beanbags.
She’s mad!- I wouldn’t let her have another fruit leather or it’s rainy and we can’t go outside. Again, usually redirect-able to the beanbags. Usually.
She wants attention- This one is tricky. She is throwing things because Im working on my computer or talking with Matt instead of playing with her. So her reason for throwing is to “get my goat” rather than an inability to control herself or needing an outlet for frustration (although it can escalate to that). The bean bags sometimes work here but usually not. My only strategy is to give OG some words for how she might be feeling “I see that you are frustrated that I am on my computer. I will be done soon and we can play together. You can say ‘please play with me’ if you would like me to play with you.”

Rereading what I’ve written makes me sound like I have it all together – I do not. I know nothing. What do you think?

What are your strategies for toddlers who throw things?

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