Who doesn’t love a good parachute game?! Something about the wild colours of a parachute never fails to enthral children and coaches alike. At our gym, parachutes aren’t used daily or in most cases, not even monthly. Sometimes we’ll have a coach who is super excited and like to play with parachutes more often, but generally we use them as a “special occasion” or “reward” prop once or twice a session. I love that parachute play is fun, but also adds an element of teamwork as well!
We do however use the parachutes to make tents, forts, etc. whenever it makes sense.
Here are a few classic games from playparachutes.com… and check out my favourite Name Game that uses a parachute — Peek-a-Who!
Parachute games and activities:
- Popcorn: Place a number of beanbags, small balls, or cottonballs onto the parachute. Shake to make them pop up like “popcorn”.
- Ball Roll: Have the children try to roll the balls into the hole in the middle of the parachute. (Or have children try to keep the balls from going into the hole in the center.)
- Making Waves: Children can make small, medium, or large movements to make various types of “waves.” You can incorporate a story about a ship on the sea, weather, etc. &/or use your voice as a tool to emphasize directives.
- Merry-Go-Round: Children turn their bodies sideways and hold the chute with one hand. They then walk around in a circle, making a “Merry-Go-Round.” For variety, children can hop, skip, jump, etc. You can stop music as a cue to reverse and go the other direction.
- Poison Snakes: Place three or four jump ropes onto the chute. Shake the parachute to keep the snakes from “biting” (touching) you.
- Parachute Tag: Lift the parachute high into the air. Call out two children’s names. They must trade empty spots by running under the chute, before it comes down on them.
- Mushroom: Standing, lift the parachute waist height. Count to three – with “one” and “two” being small practice lifts. On three, all lift the chute overhead, and crouch down pulling the parachute edges down as well. This creates what looks like a “mushroom.”
- The Wave: Children put their hands up, one after another, in order – creating a synchronized “wave” like in the stands at a baseball game.
- Rollerball: Try to keep a ball rolling only along the outer edge of the parachute around the circle. As it comes toward you, cooperatively lower your edge. Just past you, raise it.
- All Change: The Teacher calls out birthday months, pre-assigned numbers, colors, etc, and those children swap places under the chute before it falls, and run to an empty space.
- Shark Attack: Everyone sits with legs stretched out underneath the chute, which is held chest-high. One or two children are the “sharks” and crawl around under the parachute and try to grab people’s legs to pull them under the chute. The “captured” is now the “shark”.
- See-Saw Pull: From a sitting position, have children pull the parachute back and forth in a cooperative see-saw motion.
- Shoe Shuffle: Count off. All of a selected number take off one shoe and throw it in the middle. On the count of three, raise the chute, and the designated children have to run under and find their shoe before the chute comes down.
- Bouncing Balls: Have one or two children under the chute trying to hit the balls as they touch the surface, knocking them off the parachute (from underneath.)
- Flying Saucer: All take one step forward upon lifting the chute in the air. Upon command, all let go, and watch as it slowly floats.
- Ball in the Bucket: Break into two or more “teams.” Each team will have a different colored ball (or balls.) They will try to keep their color ball from going into the middle circle, while trying to get the other teams’ color of ball(s) into the hole.
- Turtle: The parachute becomes a giant turtle shell with everyone underneath it on hands and knees. Everyone must cooperate and work together to get the turtle to move about.
- Beach Ball Fun: Use a beach ball, moving it with waves, around on the parachute.
- Parachute Volleyball: Split into two sides of the parachute. One side tries to knock the ball off of the other side (half of chute), right past the other “team.”
- The Canopy: Squat down with parachute flat on the ground. On the count of three, stand up and stretch arms above head, creating a canopy.
- Parachute Tag: Lift the parachute high overhead. Call one child’s name and have her run (skip, hop, twirl or crawl) to the other side before the parachute comes down and tags her.
- Parachute Run: Have the children take turns running on the parachute as it lies on the ground, while the other children make waves. See how long the children can manoeuvre on the waves before falling down. The length of turns can be determined by songs that the children choose to sing (i.e. everyone’s turn lasts the length of one song).