Whether homeschooling or just looking for a great kids summer activity, parachute games remain a favorite! Children have been playing parachute games for years – and for good reason: parachute games encourage cooperation and team work without necessarily being competitive; they also refine perceptual skills while promoting good, healthy exercise. There are many parachute games out there, but here are our top 5:
Instructions – Standing, lift the parachute waist high. Count to three, and on three, all the kids will lift the parachute over their heads, then bring their corner of the parachute down to the ground. This traps the air underneath, creating a mushroom-like shape.
For a twist – After everyone has mastered this technique, have them run to the center bringing their corner of the parachute with them – see how large they can make that mushroom! Or have everyone let go – the parachute will rise, keeping its mushroom shape momentarily.
Skills Learned – team work, timing and rhythm, listening skills, the basics of parachute play
Instructions – Holding the parachute waist high, have the kids start moving the parachute up and down erratically, creating waves with the parachute. Begin throwing light plastic or foam balls onto the parachute. See how many you can get on there!
For a twist – Have a few kids get underneath the parachute and try to knock the items off the parachute by hitting them from underneath.
Skills learned – team work, hand-eye coordination, observation
Instructions – Hold the parachute waist high. Have one child at a time lift the parachute going around the circle – creating a wave effect similar to that at a sports game. Put a beach ball on the outer rim of the parachute and have the kids continue the wave effect. The goal is to keep the ball going in a circle around the parachute.
For a twist – As they get the technique and basics down, see how fast they can go and try switching directions.
Skills Learned – team work, patience, hand-eye coordination, timing
4. All Change:
Instructions – Start with the parachute at waist level. On the count of three, have the kids lift the parachute over their head with straight arms and hold it there. As they do this, call out a birthday month, a color of the parachute segment, an age, etc. At that moment, all children let go of the parachute, letting it fall slowly and the kids fitting the attribute you have called out will run to the center and find a new empty space before the parachute falls.
For a twist – Make it a trivia game as well! Use a sentence instead of an attribute for those who need to run. For example: Instead of saying anyone who is 10 yrs old – say anyone whose age is 6 + 4.
Skills Learned – observation, agility and speed, good sportsmanship
5. Shark! Or Jaws!:
Instructions – Space kids evenly around the parachute, sitting down with legs outstretched and holding the parachute at chest level. Choose one child to be the Shark. As the rest of the group makes slight rippling effects on the parachute, the Shark wanders around under the parachute looking for a victim. When they have chosen their victim, they touch their ankle and that child is now a second shark.
For a twist – To make the game last longer, time the game. Have the Shark take their victim’s place after tagging them. The last person as the Shark at the end of the timed session is now out.
Skills Learned – patience, timing, good sportsmanship