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Two young boys stand next to a cone. One has a beanbag balanced on top of his head.

Play Phase session: skill bean

In need of an activity for 4–6-year-olds? Give skill bean a go. The activity is easy to arrange and only requires a small amount of equipment.

This session will help players:      

  • improve a variety of movement skills   

  • begin to develop balancing and body positioning related to football  

  • work on their coordination. 

If you like this idea, download the session cards and give it a go. And don’t forget to share your experience on the England Football Community. We’d love to know how you got on.


Skill bean is an 'individual game'. This means each child has an object, such as a ball or bean bag, which they move and interact with in different ways. The freedom of these games gives children the chance to explore and try new things.   

Setting up skill bean is easy. All you'll need are a group of players and some bean bags. Extra equipment, such as spots or cones, can also help add more variety to the session.  

How to play

Give each child a bean bag, then ask them to try different things like:   

  • balancing the bean bag on their foot   
  • lifting it up with their foot and catching it with their hands  
  • launching it from their foot into a target a distance away   
  • sitting down with a bean bag on their head and then standing up without it falling off  
  • trying one foot and then the other. Ask which was easiest, left or right?


Coaching activity

More ideas for the game

Making it even more fun

Challenge the children to balance the bean bag on different parts of their body.    


Imaginative play

Ask what their favourite player might do with a bean bag and ask them to try.   


Object play

Introduce a target to throw or carry the bean bag to.   

Social play

Ask children to work in pairs. One child shows a skill, and their partner copies it.   

Physical play

Get the children running, lunging, twisting, turning, jumping and skipping while in control of their bean bag. 

Remember to give it a football focus. Ask the children to try balancing the bean bag in football-specific body positions. This could be, for example, an overhead kick or a volley. Later in their development, the children can replicate these actions with a ball.

Want to get more from the game? Use our
idea generator to increase the returns for your players.