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5 Fun Parachute Games for Kids

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The parachute is a favorite game of children. The bright colors, swishing sound, and active movement make it a fun and exciting experience. That’s why it’s also a great way for kids to learn! Parachute games promote physical activity, teamwork, listening and communication skills, math concepts and more.

From Clare Beswick’s book 3-2-1: Time for Parachute Fun, these five activities teach everything from learning colors, to working together, to how to respond to songs and cheers. They’re perfect for recess or any other type of outdoor learning. Just don’t forget to have fun!

 

Color Swap

A parachute game for finding, using, and recognizing colors.

What Children Learn:

  • To listen and respond to what they hear
  • To work as part of a group
  • What the basic colors are

What You Need:

What to Do:

  1. Spread the parachute flat on the floor and ask the children to stand around it
  2. Ask each child in turn to call out the color of the segment they are standing in front of
  3. Call out a color and then the name a child standing next to that color. The child then runs around the parachute to the next segment of that color
  4. If a child is standing at the next segment, the first child touches them on the shoulder, and the second runs to the next segment of the color
  5. Repeat with different colors until every child has had a turn

 

Dinosaur Parachute Play

Children love dinosaurs and this game gets them up and moving and pretending to be those prehistoric creatures.

What Children Learn:

  • Different dinosaurs and how they move
  • To work together toward a common goal
  • How to move in different ways

What You Need:

What to Do:

1. Spread the parachute on the ground and ask the children to stand around it
2. Have the children lift the parachute to waist level and practice moving the parachute up and down
3. Once the children have the movement down, have them move the parachute to imitate the movement of different dinosaurs. For example:

Pterodactyl: Move the parachute up and down like wings
Apatosaurus: Raise the parachute as high as possible
Stegosaurus: Swing the parachute back and forth like a stegosaurus tail
Tyrannosaurus: Raise the parachute slowly then bring it down slowly, like large footsteps

4. Encourage children to suggest their own movements and dinosaurs

 

Under the Big Top

Use a colorful parachute to play this game about a circus.

What Children Learn:

  • To communicate
  • To build confidence
  • To work together

What You Need:

What to Do:

1. Spread the parachute flat on the floor and have the children stand evenly-spaced around it
2. Ask them to sit and then talk to them about the circus
3. Teach them the rhyme:

It’s going to be a big top day

We’ll have some fun and play away

And when the circus comes today

We’ll learn and read and laugh and play

                                    —“Big Top Day” by Jennifer Galvin

4. Once the children know the rhyme, have them stand and say it while walking around holding the parachute
5. After they recite it a few times, have the children walk towards that center and pull the parachute over themselves to create their own “big top”

 

Pond Life

This parachute game uses familiar action songs and rhymes. Give your old favorites a new twist. Many well-known rhymes are suitable for parachute play.

What Children Learn:

  • To listen and follow directions
  • To work as a team
  • To move rhythmically

What You Need:

  • Parachute
  • The song “Ten Little Speckle Frogs”

What to Do:

  1. Spread the parachute on the floor and ask the children to sit around the “pond”
  2. Choose ten children to be frogs, or just use the number of children in the group and have everyone be a frog
  3. Have the children hold the parachute a few inches off the ground and wave it to make ripples
  4. Sing “Ten Little Speckle Frogs” and have each frog jump into the middle of the “pond”
  5. After each verse, have the frog jump out and rejoin the children wafting the parachute

 

In My Tent

Pretend the parachute is a tent and have a campout!

What Children Learn:

  • To move with control and coordination
  • To work as a team toward a common goal
  • To move with confidence

What You Need:

What to Do:

  1. Spread the parachute flat on the floor and have the children stand around the edge
  2. Have the children hold the parachute at waist height. Tell them that, on the count of three, they will raise the parachute as high as they can, take three steps forward, and then bring the parachute down behind them and sit so that they are inside the bubble of the parachute. This may take some practice!
  3. Once inside the “tent” sing songs like “Here we Go Round the Mulberry Bush”

 

3-2-1: Time for Parachute Fun by Clare Beswick provides a wealth of activities and play ideas that are easy to do, using only a parachute and everyday materials. Teachers, family members, caregivers, and anyone working with children ages 3-10 will find the ideas in this book fun and educational. Most ideas can be adapted for children at different developmental stages or for multi-aged groups.



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