Creative Commons image found at… http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6003/5877732737_16b85ecb56.jpg courtesy of Paul-w

This is a guest post by Jessica Velasco. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

Camp Cornhole

It’s not what you think.  And yes, it is appropriate for a kid’s summer camp. Let me tell you a little more about this insane sounding idea!

What the Heck is Cornhole?!

Cornhole, or corn toss, is a fantastic backyard game that is growing in popularity.  The beanbag toss game is easy, yet fun, to play.  The competition can be a solo endeavor or a team sport.

The equipment is simple; two wooden platforms with a hole in the center and four beanbags.  Competitors take turns tossing bags at the platforms (or boards).  A bag on the board earns one point while a hole-in earns three.  The first team (or individual) to reach 21 points wins.

You can buy boards and bags from a variety of distributors.  Or you can very easily make your own.  Whether you buy or build, both pieces of equipment can be customized (say, with your camp logo).

Check out the American Cornhole Association (yes, there is an official association!) for even more information.  Learn about the specific measurements for boards and bags along with more detailed scoring instructions.

Cornhole is Programming Perfection

As we read in an earlier post (and know from experience), programming is sometimes difficult.  A single activity needs to appeal to a variety of people.  Therefore, it is important to view programming through different lenses.

Fortunately, cornhole is one of those activities that easily satisfies the masses.  Check it out:

  • Campers – both new and old – will love cornhole.  If they have never tried it before, the will quickly love it.  It is easy to play, yet includes a competitive component – which campers love.  Some youngsters might have seen their parents or family members play the game and always secretly hoped to join in.  Even if the campers have played before, they won’t mind picking up a bag again.
  • The activity leader will appreciate the easy of the game.  There is minimal equipment involved.  The boards aren’t terribly heavy so moving them to and from storage isn’t a challenge.  And speaking of storage, the boards and bags don’t take up much space.  Simply stack the boards one on top of the other and they will stay put.  The leader won’t have to worry about broken or missing parts either.
  • Sustaining an injury while playing cornhole is near impossible.  It is pretty much a given board members won’t object to the game on the basis of safety concerns.  Plus, the game is super cheap.  A set of boards and bags can be made for less than $30.
  • Cornhole teaches some pretty valuable lessons and skills.  Campers will learn about cause and effect, teamwork, and friendly competition.  Plus, they’ll enhance their hand-eye coordination and adding skills.  Parents can’t object to that!
  • The program director will like the flexibility and adaptability of cornhole.  It is always nice to have a backup plan on hand for rainy days.  Another bonus is how easy cornhole can be incorporated into other aspects of camp.  Does your arts and crafts instructor need a quick and easy project?  How about sewing, decorating and filling cornhole bags?  Do you want to teach kids about recycling and going green?  Have them build their own cornhole set out of discarded items.
  • Counselors and CITs will like cornhole too.  Sometimes, camp staff members don’t always feel comfortable join in on certain activities.  Whether that is because of fear, physical limitations, or just plain exhaustion (keeping up with a group of rambunctious kids is tiring!).  However, few camp leaders will hesitate to join the fun on the cornhole field.  Cornhole is a low-impact game that doesn’t require much skill.  Plus, it can be played standing or sitting.

How to Make Cornhole Even More Fun

Playing the game of cornhole in the traditional sense is entertaining enough.  However, some activity leaders might want to spice things up on occasion.  Why not try…

Slip and Slide Cornhole

Set up a cornhole board at the end of a slip and slide.  Grab a cornhole bag, hurl yourself down the slip and slide, and toss the bag from the prone position.

Instead of competing against a single individual in innings of play, record how many points each camper earns in a set amount of time.  The person who earns the most points wins.

Or, put out multiple slip and slides; set up teams at each.  Have campers compete in a relay-race style game.

Race the Clock Cornhole

This variation adds a nice physical challenge.  Get those kids’ hearts pumping!

Divide campers into teams of two.  Position two teams at each set of cornhole boards.  Player One on Team Red tosses four bags at Board X as fast as she can.  Player One on Team Blue tosses four bags at Board Y.  Player Two on Team Red and Blue follow suit at their respective boards.  Once everyone has tossed, the players sprint to change boards.  Instead of trying to reach the standard 21 points, teams race to score as many points as possible in a set time frame.

To avoid collisions, instruct everyone to travel in a clockwise circle around the boards.

Knock Out Cornhole

Set up the cornhole boards in the standard fashion for individual game play.  Instead of giving each player four bags, distribute 15-20 (you’ll need to borrow from other sets, making team competition difficult).

At the sound of the whistle, both competitors will toss their bags at their designated board.  The object of this variation is to score as many points as possible.  Use standard scoring (a bag in the hole is 3 points; a bag on the board is 1 point).

Competitors run the risk of getting their bag knocked off course by an opponent’s bag in air.  They also run the risk of knocking their own bags off the board.

Kids love chaos, right?  So this version should be right up their alley!

Each year, camp programming must adapt to the latest trends and fads.  Cornhole is all the rage these days.  Embrace the game and your campers – and staff – will love you.

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Jessica Velasco works for Custom Corntoss, designing custom cornhole boards.  For many years in a former life, Jessica was a camp counselor.  While she loves her current job, she sometimes wishes she could go back to the way things were.  Jessica would love to get out there and toss some cornhole bags with the kids! 

Creative Commons image found at… http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6003/5877732737_16b85ecb56.jpg courtesy of Paul-w