We love parachute games! They are great for some large scale play with a group of children and are wonderful for promoting team work and listening skills, as everyone needs to work together to follow instructions and listen to cues to make the games work. You can play parachute games inside or out, with a play parachute or a big piece of fabric or a bedsheet. You don’t even need a whole class of children – I’ve played this happily as a pair with a toddler who loved bouncing their teddy on the sheet.
Parachute play ideas to try:
- Follow the leader: Have someone be the leader and give the rest of the group instructions – and of course the leader can be one of the children rather than the grown-up! Try giving instructions to walk to the left, skip to the right, hold up high, couch down low, shake the parachute gently, shake the parachute quickly.
- Add some bounce. You can add a seasonal element or fit parachute play to a theme by adding some props on to the top to bounce around while you play. Cotton wool balls make great snow, and we use fir cones in the autumn. We find teddies love a ride and balloons add a dash of chaotic fun!
- As well as having the children work together around the edge of the parachute, have them listen out for instructions that apply just to themselves. Have everyone lift the parachute way up high and then give instructions for children to run underneath the parachute if they are wearing something green, if they have brown hair, if they like eating bananas and so on.
- You can also pick someone to sit in the centre of the circle and wrap them up like a birthday present, or spin them like a washing machine. Remind the children to keep the parachute low to the ground when you do this, so the person in the centre doesn’t have their head covered. It’s very funny for the children to have one of the grown-ups sit in the centre to be wrapped up (believe me, I’ve tried it!)
- Sherry and Donna from Irresistible Ideas have some great photos of their children enjoying parachute play with music and show how working together means you can even make your bouncing teddy hit the roof!
We’re always looking for new inspiration – what ideas for parachute play have you tried?
(Thanks for our Facebook friend Lily Vanilli for the washing machine idea.)