As a teacher, I have seen first hand how much children love parachute play and both my girls have been fortunate to enjoy playing with parachutes at playgroup, kindy gym and school PE class. They love it! Parachute games also make a fun addition at birthday parties and they are even great as ice breaker activities with groups of older children. Here are some of our favourite parachute games…
1. When The Parachute Goes Up (sung to the tune of ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It)
Children sing the following tune and perform the accompanying actions;
When the parachute goes up (lift the parachute high, keeping hold of the handles) stamp your feet (stamp your feet),
When the parachute goes up stamp your feet,
When the parachute is high, reaching up into the sky,
When the parachute goes up stamp your feet.
- Nod your head
- Tap your toes
- Shake your hips
- Shout hooray!
- Or sing three different action versus and ‘Do all three’ for the fourth.
2. Popping Popcorn!
Have the children hold the parachute so that it is stretched out and place a collection of small balls, bean bags or small teddies onto the parachute. Have fun shaking the parachute to make the popcorn pop right off the chute!. You can also split into two teams – one each side of the parachute – and have fun trying to make the balls bounce off the opposition’s side of the parachute.
3. Jack in the Box
This is a great game for groups of toddlers with parents (or with older children as helpers). The toddlers all sit under the parachute with the adults each holding a handle down at ground level. Sing together;
Jack is quiet down in his box,
Until somebody opens the lid!
As you finish singing the second line, all of the adults lift the parachute up high and the children cry ‘Boo!’
4. What’s That Sound? A Listening Game
Have the children sit around the edge of the stretched out parachute. Explain that each of the three instruments you will play represents a different action and that they need to listen and perform the action that matches the instrument they hear. For example, when you play the triangle they need to stand up and shake the parachute gently at waist height, when you play the bells they need to hold the parachute above their heads and shake it vigorously, and when they hear you tap the wooden block then need to lay down on their bellies with the parachute laid out flat in front of them.
Some alternative action ideas;
- Shake the parachute at knee height
- Skip clockwise or hop counter clockwise
- Turn and hold the parachute handle behind them
- Balance on one leg
- Lie on their backs with their feet under the parachute and kick their legs.
5. Changing Directions
Have each child hold a parachute handle with one hand so that they are all facing in a clockwise direction and the parachute is stretched out. Have the children jump, skip, hop or run in a clockwise direction and then use a music cue for them to change direction to counter clockwise. Each time they hear the music cue (ring a hand bell or tap a triangle or pause pre-recorded music), the direction is changed.
6. Parachute Switch
Begin with the children spread around the parachute and holding it stretched out. Tell them to raise the parachute quickly so that it billows up into a mushroom shape (keep holding the edge). As it fills, call the names of two children. These two let go of the parachute and run under it to swap places before it comes down again.
Purchase your own play parachute via Amazon (affiliate link) or check out this DIY version from shower curtains (you could easily substitute with lightweight nylon fabric) perfect for home from And Next Comes L.
Do you have any favourite parachute game suggestions?