Incorporating a parachute in your fun time allows everyone a chance to play as a group. Parachute size should be considered to make sure there’s enough room for everyone. If you can’t afford a parachute, you can make your own from patterns available on the Web or try some of these games with a simple sheet.
Pull out your parachute and let’s go play!
1. Where can you play?
To successfully play with a parachute, you need to make sure you have enough room. Height has to be considered as well as the size of the parachute itself. Outdoors is an easy choice. You can play indoors in gymnasiums and other areas with high ceilings. Be aware of the floor surface as well as this may affect your game. Find somewhere you can play.
One problem with group games is that accidents happen more often. Prepare a list of safety rules to share with your players. Make sure everyone understands not only the rules but also why rules are needed.
As you’re playing, be aware of the activity level and attention of the group. As kids get silly, they often forget the rules. By being vigilant, you can help minimize injuries.
REMEMBER: Never place a person on the parachute and attempt to raise or throw them. Most play parachutes are not built to hold people. Accidents from injury to death could occur from an improperly thrown person.
Practice commands to make sure everyone know what to do. Commands may include:
- Inflate – lift parachute over head
- Deflate – parachute should be moved to a flat position
- Float – keep parachute in air above heads
- Stop – everyone stops what they’re doing
What other commands might you need?
4. Grip terms.
Practice these grips with your players.
- Overhand: Palms are facing down
- Underhand: Palms are facing up
- Crossover: Right hand over left hand with both palms down
Practice skills with the parachute.
- Flutter – everyone moves the parachute up and down as fast as possible
- Waves – everyone works together to make small, medium or large waves
- Stretch – Using the overhand grip, lean back pulling the parachute taut
- Dome – together, everyone pulls the parachute up and down quickly in front of them, catching air inside
- Mushroom – together, everyone pulls the parachute up and takes a step or two forward so they are “inside” the parachute when it comes down
- Tent – together, everyone pulls the parachute up and down quickly, taking a step or two forward so they are “inside” the parachute and sit down, holding the edge behind them
- Jell-o – while in the final position of “Tent”, put feet out in front of you and kick the parachute up
Parachute games and activities
6. Play with parachute only.
Try one or more of these games using only the parachute. Find these games on the Web or download the parachute games supplement for the rules.
- Fruit salad
- Cat and mouse
- Sharks and lifeguards
- Air conditioning
- Parachute tag
- Ocean waves
- One hand run
Search the Web for more games and activities you can do with the parachute alone.
7. Parachute with balls.
Try one or more of these games using a parachute and one or more soft balls. Again, the supplement has rules for you.
- Ball toss
- Bouncing balls
8. Other items for play.
You can replace the soft balls with soft dolls, yarn, bean bags, stuffed animals or other items to freshen your games. There are even games you can play with an earth ball. Look for other items and games you can incorporate into your parachute play beyond the standard balls.
9. Adapt other games.
Make a “Tent” and play “Duck, Duck, Goose” or a similar game under the tent. What other circle games can you adapt to play with your parachute?
You can do simple folk dance steps with your parachute. Check out some samples you can pull from this link or use some of your own.
If you choose, take a familiar song your kids know and put actions to it, creating your own circle dance. Pull steps out of folk dances or ask the kids to select their own actions. Make sure you document your new dances so you can do them again.
11. Circle activities.
You can adapt your circle activities with a parachute by creating a “Tent” to have your opening and / or closing circle. You can also do activities from discussions to singing under your parachute. Try using your parachute beyond games.
12. Create your own games.
Create your own parachute games or encourage your players to make them. Start by adjusting the rules of games you already know. Then, venture into your own original games.
Sites to Explore