Parachute Games for Preschoolers

parachute games for preschoolers
A parachute is a great way to keep your kids and their friends happy and entertained for hours on end. Billy Hustace

The parachute, once a gym class staple in elementary school and preschools, is finding its way into homes. Affordable (compare prices), easy-to-store, and most of all, fun, the parachute is a great way to keep your kids and their friends (and even a few more!) happy and entertained for hours on end.

But once you get a parachute at home, how can you play with it? These parachute games are designed for little kids (ages 2- to 5) and work on important gross motor skills, while letting everyone have fun!

Give them a try.

Remember, while a parachute isn't inherently dangerous, make sure you supervise the children who are playing with one at all times!

Mushroom: This is a great activity to start off with, especially if you are playing with kids who have never played with a parachute before. Space each child evenly around the parachute and have them hold the edge tightly, with both hands. Have them pull the parachute very tightly and lower it to their knees. On your command, ask everyone to quickly raise up their arms without letting go of the parachute. This should cause the parachute to fill with air and rise up. As it rises, have each child take a couple of steps (just one or two!) towards the center so it will go higher. Variations on this game include:

  • Having everyone run to the center of the parachute once it "mushrooms"
  • Letting the parachute go once it "mushrooms"
  • Once the parachute is up high, have each child bring the parachute behind their backs and sit down. You will make a cool, colorful tent!

    Ocean: Start as with Mushroom above, with each child holding the parachute tightly, pulled taut. Place a soft, foam ball in the center. Start by explaining that you want the children to make the parachute mimic the ocean that you describe. Different scenarios for your "waves" can include:

    • A calm, peaceful sea
    • A small breeze over the ocean
    • A big storm

    The possibilities are endless! If you have soft, stuffed animal fish or other marine life, substitute them instead of using a ball.

    Popcorn: Have the children hold the parachute loosely, even spaced from one another. Explain that you would like to make some popcorn. Ask the to shake the parachute up and down. As they shake, throw a bunch of soft, foam balls in the middle. Can the children keep the balls on the parachute as they shake?

    Lift off!: As in the Mushroom activity above, have the children stand, holding the parachute tightly. On your signal they should begin to lift up their arms, raising the parachute. Call a child's name, a particular color, or some other identifying factor. When the child hears a factor that pertains to them (you say "green" and they are wearing a green shirt for example), that child should run underneath the parachute and cross to the other side. Keep shouting out factors until each child has had at least one turn. Be careful not to shout too many factors at once.

    You really don't want more than two or three children underneath the parachute at a time for safety reasons.

    Direction fun: This is a great way to teach little ones the difference between right and left and clockwise and counterclockwise. Pick some fun music to play. Have each child hold the parachute with the same hand. When the music starts they should rotate in that direction. When the music stops, they should change hands and rotate in the other direction. You can also ask kids to speed up or slow down, depending on the tempo.

    Ball roll: If your parachute has a hole in the middle, place some soft, foam balls on the parachute. Direct the children to try to move the parachute to get the balls to fall down out of the hole.






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