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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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