Parachutes games engage both the mind and the body. Kids love playing with a parachute, probably because of the variety of ways it can be used. Parachutes allow children to use their imaginations. You can simply leave a group of children with a few simple directions and they will find their own entertaining ways to use parachutes.
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Parachutes are popular for both inside and outside play in daycare centres and schools. They can be purchased online and, with proper care, can last through many activities for children of all ages.
Advantages of Parachute Play
Parachute games are not only fun, they provide children with exercise and other benefits, including:
- Encouraging Team Work
The size and shape of a parachute makes team work imperative for many of the games listed. Kids learn that they must work together in order to win.
- Promoting Social Interaction
Communication skills improve as children play together with a parachute. Fun parachute games help kids relax and interact effectively with their peers.
- Creating Balance and a Sense of Rhythm
As children play with parachutes, they learn when and how to move to control the chute’s movement. Many games require rhythm to be mastered successfully. Balance is also necessary, which encourages hand-eye coordination.
- Physically Developing Torso and Upper Arms
Many parachute games require upper body strength to control the parachute. As a result, children develop muscles in their upper arms and shoulders
In sum, the benefits of parachute play are many. Children learn teamwork and cooperation; increase their strength, agility and coordination; and improve physical endurance.
Before You Begin Parachute Play
You want parachute play to be safe, so remind children to listen and follow directions. Avoid using the parachute on wet grass, as the children might slip and injury result. Check the ground underneath the parachute for any rocks or sharp objects which might damage the chute. Also, avoid an area close to trees and undergrowth upon which the parachute might get caught. Make sure the children stay hydrated, especially outside in warm weather.
Parachute Games for Kids
Our collection of parachute games for kids work well for gym class, parties, any time you have an active group of youngsters. Some of the games listed are physically challenging, requiring upper body and arm strength. Others offer socialization and enhance team building skills. Whichever parachute game for kids you select, the result will be great fun for all those involved.
Direct the kids to hold the parachute tightly at waist level and move their arms up and down to make waves. The children do not need to move the same way at the same time. Tell the children they can sit if they wish once the game starts. This provides more variation in the size of the waves. They can also sit and then stand, repeating this movement to facilitate waves. Some children will enjoy making small waves, others will want to make very large waves.
Tug-of-War is always a fun game! Divide the players into two teams equal in size and strength. This may mean that one team has more players than the other. Have the teams get on opposite sides of the parachute. When given a command, both teams pull on the chute, attempting to make the other team move in their direction.
In this variation of tag, the parachute is It. The kids gather around the parachute and lift it as high as they can. Children take turns running under and to the other side of the chute before it comes down and touches them. You can also call out the names of two players and have them switch places before they are caught by It.
Children love this game where they pretend the parachute is a giant turtle shell. They space themselves evenly under the edges of the parachute, holding it to look like a turtle shell. Now they start walking or crawling in the same direction keeping the parachute in the shape of a turtle’s shell.
Have all the children lie on their backs with the parachute over them and pulled up to their chins like a blanket. The goal is to scoot along slowly on their backs looking like an alligator. You can also have the children crawl with the parachute on their backs. Try having one side move and then the other to waddle like an alligator.
Fox and Rabbit
Divide the kids into teams of three to five players with a leader for each team. An adult plays the fox and the kids are the rabbits. The fox chases two of the rabbit teams around as each follows their leader. If the fox tags a rabbit, that player becomes a fox and must stay under the chute. At the end of a one-minute round, two other teams play as rabbits with the fox chasing them. Once all the teams have played, the team with the most rabbits wins the game.
Sharks and Minnows
All the adult supervisors or teachers get under the parachute as sharks. The kids sit around the edge with their legs out in front of them under the parachute as minnows. Number the players from1 to 5, or 1 to 10, depending on the number of kids playing. You want to have three to four children with the same number. All the adults agree on one number to think of. The kids shout out their numbers and adults listen and pull in any child they hear call out the chosen number. Now the captured kids are the sharks. After the adults choose two numbers and the minnows are captured, all the kids left sitting get up and chase the sharks around tagging them to “save” them and turn them back in to minnows.
Parachute Games for Kindergarteners
Very young children have a tremendous amount of energy. Parachute play provides an outlet for pent-up energy. Kindergarteners love parachute play. We have a selection of parachute games for kindergarteners that are both fun and educational.
Using a large parachute may be challenging for very young children. Make sure you take the time to explain each game thoroughly. If you have a small group of children, consider purchasing a smaller parachute designed specifically for playground and classroom use.
Use this game to introduce very young children to parachute play. Space the children evenly around the edge of the parachute, and have them hold the edge with both hands. Direct the children to pull the parachute tight, and lower it to the ground. When the adult or teacher yells, “Up!” the children raise the parachute so that it fills with air. Then a “Down!” command is given. This results in the parachute filling with air and taking the shape of a mushroom. Once the children are consistently raising and lowering the parachute, try one of the following:
- Have all the children run to the center when they have made a mushroom. This makes the mushroom larger.
- Have all the children let go of the parachute at the same time after they make the mushroom. It should rise in the air, especially on a windy day outside.
Cat and Mouse
Have the children form a circle around the parachute and hold on to the edges at waist height. Choose one child to be the mouse, and one to be the cat. The mouse crawls under the chute and the mouse crawls around on top of the chute trying to catch the mouse. The children holding the parachute move it up and down to hide the mouse from the cat. When the mouse is caught (tagged), both the cat and mouse return to their place in the circle and two other children have a turn. Continue until every child has an opportunity to play.
Place the parachute on a flat surface with the children spaced evenly around the edges. An adult or teacher can choose to do one or more of the following:
- Call out a color and have the first child raising their hand to identify the color on the parachute.
- Have the children jump (hop or skip) from one color to the other.
- Announce a color and ask a child to identify the color to the right of left of it.
- Call out two adjacent colors for the children to touch with both hands.
We have a fun activity for teaching numbers to children. Have the children either stand or sit around the parachute. Number the children consecutively. Call out two numbers and have the children switch places. As children become familiar with the game, you may wish to call out more than two numbers.
Try this game as an ice-breaker with a group of children who do not know each other’s names. When you call out numbers, have the children introduce themselves to each other.
Have the children stand around the parachute with one hand holding the chute and the other arm extended straight out for balance. Use music for the children to run, hop, or skip to around the parachute. Each time the music stops, the children turn around and go in the other direction.
Place items of “treasure” (small toys, trinkets, old costume jewellery) on the ground or floor underneath the parachute, or in a box. Have the children gather around the parachute holding on to the side and moving their arms up and down to make waves. One by one player leave the circle and retrieve a treasure from under the parachute by crawling under the parachute. If you wish, you may call out the names of items that are to be retrieved.
Once children are familiar with the game, you can make it more challenging by setting a time limit for retrieval of the item(s).
Have the children stand around the edge of the parachute, holding the edge with one hand, either right or left. The adult or teacher gives simple commands such as sit, stand, run, walk, and pause. As the children do so, it looks as if they are on a merry-go-round. This game provides physical exercise and teaches young children to follow directions.
The children hold the edges of the parachute at waist height with one child sitting on the floor or ground underneath. Have the children pull the parachute back and forth over the hair of the seated child. Give the signal to raise the chute. The child sitting under the shoot will have their hair rise up and stay there as the result of static electricity. Let the children each take a turn under the parachute.
Parachute activities involve using items such as cotton balls, balloons, jump ropes, bean bags, balls of various sizes, and other items with parachute play. These games are fun for school gym classes and parties. They work best for children able to engage in multi-step directions, usually those from age five to eleven. It is a good idea to have two adults involved in monitoring parachute activities, as one can give commands and the other handle the items used for the games.
Beach Ball Bounce
Have the children hold the edges of the parachute. Throw one large beach ball onto the parachute. The kids wave and flutter the parachute in any direction without letting the beach ball fall off the side of the parachute. If you wish, you can use two different coloured beach balls, divide the children into teams, and see which team can keep their beach ball on the parachute while dislodging the other team’s ball.
Use any large ball for this fun game. Direct all the players to hold the chute taut. The ball is placed near the edge of the parachute. The object of the game is to roll the ball around the edge of the parachute without letting it fall off. This is accomplished by directing the children to raise and lower the edge of the parachute to keep the ball moving.
Direct the children to hold the edge of the parachute and pull it taut. Throw as many softball, beanbags, golf balls, or cotton balls as you can onto the top of the parachute. When given a command to, “Go!” the kids bounce the chute so that the items bounce into the air like popcorn. When all the items have fallen off the parachute, start the game over.
One of the simplest games to play with the parachute, ball rolling has several variations:
- Begin with the ball on top and the parachute and simply have the players roll the ball back and forth to each other.
- Have the children attempt to roll the ball into the centre of the parachute.
- Play a team game with two balls. The goal is to keep your team’s ball on the parachute while rolling the other team’s ball off the side.
- Place a ball on top of the parachute and have the players roll the ball back and forth to each other. For example, you could tell a specific person to roll the ball to someone that you name. This game encourages cooperation, as the players will have to work together for the first player to get the ball to their friend.
The goal of this game is to see how high blown-up balloons will rise in the air when tossed by the parachute. Begin by placing several blown-up balloons on top of the parachute. Explain to the children that you will count to three and then say, “Up!” When you give the command, the children are to raise the parachute over their heads very quickly. The balloons will rise in the air. On a windy day, they may travel away from the parachute.
Use very small, lightweight, plastic balls for this team parachute game. Divide the children into two equal teams, one of which tries to get the balls off the top of the parachute. The other team’s goal is to keep the balls on top of the parachute. Additionally, you can have the children see how high they can get the fleas to jump when playing as a group. Suggestion: Use a timer to determine when the play ends for your team game.
Pack the Pompoms
Use various sized pompoms and place them on top of the parachute. The goal is to get all the pompoms into the middle pocket of the parachute. You can use this as a team game by using different colored pompoms for each team. The team that gets the most in the pocket when the time is up wins this challenging and fun game.
Use skipping ropes, lengths of cord, or pieces of rope for this active parachute game. The children attempt to shake the “snakes” off the parachute. If a “snake” bites (touches) you, you are out of the game. Again, this can be a team game where you see which team has the most players left at the end of a set time.
Use parachutes for bed canopies, camping, and as an outdoor party tent. The variety of color and size options and the durable material make parachutes excellent for many creative projects and ideas. Parachutes come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, including plain white, which one can decorate with markers or paint. Try one of the following parachute ideas for colorful fun.
Parties and Celebrations
Parachutes provide colorful shade for parties and celebrations. The fabric lets the light shine through and provides a perfect background for pictures. Birthday balloons, favors, and tableware can match the colors of the parachute and kids can even make small parachutes to take home with them.
A parachute’s gossamer fabric can add a look of elegance to a wedding when a plain white chute is used with subtle lighting. Guest can use markers to sign the parachute at the reception to give to the bride and groom as a keepsake.
Parachutes provide an abundance of colourful fabric for home decorating. The lightweight fabric lends itself to many interior design ideas. Try one of the following:
- Create a Bed Canopy
For a child’s room, a canopy made from parachute material provides a feeling of safety and play. Your teen will probably like a canopy or bed curtain that provides a sense of privacy. The master suite will have a hint of glamor with a solid-color beige or white canopy. Use a store-bought frame or suspend a hoop (a hula hoop works well) from hooks on the ceiling to create a private, secret space.
- Make an inexpensive room divider for young children or teens.
Most kids hate sharing a bedroom. Creating a colorful room divider can solve the problem of whose space is whose. There are parachutes available with pinks, purples, and blues for little girls and dark green, red, and brown for boys. Alternatively, you can get a plain white parachute and create your own design based upon the bedroom’s theme.
- Cover a wooden headboard.
Bed frames are designed to last forever with their heavy wood and metal frameworks. However, your headboard may be showing wear. Add some padding and the vibrant color of a parachute to bring new life to an older wooden headboard.
- Create a drop ceiling.
Ceiling styles are constantly changing. Rather than replacing a popcorn ceiling or other outdated style, consider creating a colorful drop ceiling with a parachute. Tack it to the sides of the ceiling and use narrow molding to hold it in place.
- Make curtains or throw pillows.
Cut strips of your parachute fabric to create vivid, colored, curtain panels. Let the light shine through or line them for more privacy. You can cut the fabric so multiple colors are in a vertical or horizontal design, or go abstract with angles. Use any pieces remaining to cover store bought throw pillows.
- Cover chair pads, make table covers and matching napkins.
Spruce up your kitchen or dining room with colorful chair pad covers made from parachute fabric. Add a table cloth or table runner and matching napkins.
- Create a colorful quilt or duvet cover.
A parachute is perfect for those who love quilting. Use the fabric as is or cut the parachute material into squares for a quilt. Simply cut and piece a large rectangle and use a sheet for the backing for a quick and easy duvet cover.
Whether you choose a parachute game, add items of interest for a parachute activity, get creative with you own unique idea for using a parachute, or use the parachute for home décor, we know you will not only have fun, but create memories. We hope we have provided a start for some interesting ways to use a parachute. Remember that there is no limit to what you can do with a parachute alone and with others. Have fun!
Note on Storage of Your Parachute: When you are finished playing with the parachute, twist it loosely into a rope, roll it up, and put in into a bag for storage. Make sure the chute is dry to prevent mold.
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