Skip to main content

3 fun parachute games for kids to break out at your next park playdate

Nothing says warm weather like a group of kids playing with a brightly colored parachute outside. Parachute games for kids have been around for ages and they’ve never lost their appeal. Why? Because they’re both fun and beneficial — a healthy way for young kids to improve physical and emotional development while experiencing a world of bright colors and cooperative play.

Teaching kids a few simple parachute games will liven up any outdoor play session, get kids moving their bodies, and make your next trip to the park a truly special event. Read on to learn more about parachute games.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

What does the parachute activity teach children?

Parachute games teach kids a number of skills. The physical aspect of lifting the parachute and running under or around it helps develop gross motor skills, and the balance and coordination help strengthen their arm, leg, and core muscles.

Playing alongside other children during group parachute games helps little ones learn to work and play cooperatively and develop the ideas of teamwork, sharing, following directions, and taking turns. Adding music or nursery rhymes to their parachute play can also help children learn about rhythm.

What is the parachute game called?

There are a ton of variations on parachute games. The most common parachute game is called Mushroom, and it’s the one everyone thinks of first because it’s been played for generations in PE classes or activity groups. Mushroom is a great first parachute game to get kids comfortable holding the chute and using the handles. It also introduces them to how the parachute responds to motion and air (and wind if you hit the park on a particularly gusty day!).

To play Mushroom, children should each hold on to one handle of the parachute. Direct them to crouch down, and on the count of three, they lift the chute up as high as they can. The parachute will catch the air on the way back down and balloon up, creating a mushroom shape. Once kids have mastered this step, they can run toward the center while the chute is falling, allowing it to cover them for some extra fun and stimulation.

Games to play with a parachute

Mushroom isn’t the only parachute game for kids! The sky is the limit when it comes to fun variations. Here are a few of our favorite child parachute games.

Kids standing in a circle playing a parachute game
Image used with permission by copyright holder


A perennial favorite, Popcorn, is the next step up from Mushroom, and it’ll have kids giggling with delight. All you need is a dozen or so soft, plastic balls. Have the children each hold one handle of the chute at waist height while you pour the balls on top. Kids will have a blast shaking the chute and making the balls bounce around like popcorn.

To up the ante for older children, you can easily turn Popcorn into a competitive game. Use two different colors of balls. Each team is responsible for popping the other team’s balls off the chute and keeping their own balls in place. Competitive Popcorn is a great way to teach teamwork and cooperation, while each team works together to keep their balls in play.

Cat and Mouse

Have children sit in a circle around the edge of the chute. One child is the mouse and they climb under the chute while another kid is the cat. The cat must try to find the mouse while the other children around the chute flutter and wave their handles, trying to keep the mouse hidden. Be sure to tell the cat to be mindful of the mouse and not pounce as a real cat would!

Merry Go Round

Merry Go Round is the perfect game to help your younger kids learn about following directions while they get their wiggles out. Each child should turn sideways and hold their handle with one hand and then walk around in a circle, creating a merry-go-round effect. An adult can tell the children to skip, run, or jump or add music and instruct the youngsters to stop moving when the music stops.

Parachute games are a fun, simple way for kids to enjoy time outdoors while they skip, hop, and wave through the day. Parachute games are great for physical and emotional development, and you adapt a parachute game to accommodate either young or older kids so everyone is guaranteed a great time!

Editors' Recommendations

Kristi Pahr
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kristi is a professional writer and mother of two. When she's not writing or playing chauffeur to her kids, she enjoys…
What you should (and shouldn’t) bring to a playdate
Don't be a playdate overpacker
Two little girls playing at a playground


Now that your kiddo is a toddler, it's time to start planning for those playdates. Playdates are an important part of your little guy or gal's development. It will help them when it's time for that first day of preschool. Once you've arranged a playgroup or outing with friends for your toddler and it's officially on the calendar, it's time to think about what to bring on a playdate. Whether you're meeting at the local playground or going over a friend's house to play, we’ve got a list of the essential stuff you won’t want to leave behind, and some you should.

Read more
7-Up: What’s the game and how to play it
Do you remember how to play 7-Up?
Five kids each giving a thumb-up

Raise your hand if you have played the 7-Up game in school? Hands should be shooting up all around because 7-Up is an elementary-school classroom classic. The popular school game is also known as Heads Up, 7-Up, Heads Down, Thumbs Down, or Thumbs Up, 7Up. Regardless of what you called the game as a kid, most parents are familiar with the format and the kiddos just can't get enough. The majority of elementary-school educators have led a round or two of 7-Up at some point in their teaching careers.

Seven-Up is also a summer camp staple on rainy days. It’s an easy game to get going and a fun way to keep a group of children occupied, especially when waiting or transitioning to another activity. To play, you need at least 14 kids, which is what makes it an ideal school or camp game. Seven-Up can certainly be played with less kids, but it's not as much fun. So, are you ready to get those thumbs up? Let's learn how to play Heads Up, 7-Up.

Read more
10 fun games kids can play with just pen and paper
Disconnect and challenge kids to think with games to play on paper
A game of tic-tac-toe on a piece of paper

Tired of seeing the kids with their heads bent over an iPad or staring at their smartphones for hours? You're not alone. It's something many parents struggle with on a daily basis. Getting kids off screens is increasingly challenging, especially as children get older. Finding ways for your kids to be creative and explore activities that don't involve an electronic device can be difficult, but sometimes, simpler really is better. There may not be a lot of technology involved in old-fashioned pen-and-paper games, but they can be just as much fun for younger children, tweens, and even teens.

Paper games for kids can be a quick boredom-buster on an inclement weather day when waiting at a restaurant or while traveling or vacationing -- especially when those airport delays crop up. With paper and a pen or pencil, you don’t need to worry about how much battery charge there is or stress out about finding an outlet to plug into. Putting together games to play on paper is a snap. Don't worry if you don't remember the rules to the Hangman, we've got cool games to play on paper that kids will definitely enjoy. It doesn't even need to be game night to play paper games for kids.

Read more