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Games & Outdoors : Parachute

Mushroom added 7-25-00 Original Author Unknown

This is not so much a game, more an essential starting point for parachute play. Get everyone to spread out the parachute and hold the edge, spaced out more or less evenly so they're standing in a circle. Pull the chute taut and lower it to the ground (or knee level). On the magic word (e.g. Mushroom!) everyone pulls the chute upwards (don't let go). It will fill with air and rise up like a giant mushroom - or igloo. To get it as high as possible everyone must take a couple of paces towards the center as the chute rises. It's good to practice this so that the group can learn to work effectively as a team and get the chute really high. It won't work without co-operation.
Variations on Mushroom
Once you've mastered the basic mushroom it's fun to experiment. See what happens if:
    Everyone mushrooms and then runs to the center, still holding the chute.
    Everyone mushrooms, then lets go, especially outdoors on a windy day!
    Everyone lets go at exactly the same time. If there isn't any wind, the chute will
retain its perfect mushroom shape and rise straight up in the air. Indoors it may go up to the ceiling. To get this right it's best for someone to shout "One.. Two.. Three.. Go!", or similar, immediately after the "Mushroom!" instruction. For everyone to let go at exactly the right instant will take practice and concentration. Groups of children who haven't played with a parachute before will probably be delighted and fascinated by the effect for quite a while before you move on to any other games. It's particularly spectacular when the sun is shining down through the chute.

Roller ball added 7-25-00 Original Author Unknown

Everyone holds the chute taut. Place a large ball near the edge. Try to make the ball roll around the edge of the chute. To do this someone starts the ball rolling. As it comes towards you, you lower the edge you are holding, and as it goes past you raise your edge. When all the players do this in synchronization it creates a wave going round the edge, pushing the ball round in front of it in a smooth, steady circle. It can not be done without concentration and co-operation! However, it is very rewarding for the group to eventually achieve a smooth, continuous motion. Once you've done this try speeding up - or change direction.

Big Turtle added 7-25-00 Original Author Unknown

Have the children get on their hands and knees under a large "turtle shell" and try to make the turtle more in one direction. As a cooperative game, children have to work together to get the turtle to move. 
Have the turtle go over a hill or bench or through an obstacle course without losing the shell.

The Ocean added 7-24-00 Original Author Unknown

We pretend the parachute is the ocean. I have them give me the name of an ocean. Children move the parachute in response to the 'weather report' they heard. (Encourages children to be creative). For example, I'll say, "I heard on the weather report this morning that there was a slight breeze over the Atlantic. What would that look like?" The children respond by making small waves in the parachute. Other
suggestions have been - high winds, snow (we would have to pull it tight to make the ice), twisters, etc. Once they get the hang of it the possibilities are endless.

Jaws added 7-25-00 Original Author Unknown

Everyone sits on the floor in a circle holding the parachute stretched out with his or her legs underneath it. The chute is the sea and they are sitting on the beach, happily dipping their toes in the water. By shaking the edge of the chute realistic ripple or wave effects can be generated. Once the waves are going well someone is selected to be a shark and disappears under the chute. They move around underneath and because of the waves it will be difficult to see where they are. The shark chooses a victim and grabs him or her by the feet. The victim can give an appropriate scream before disappearing under the chute. This person now becomes a new shark. To prolong the game you can have the original shark revert to being a bather - or to make it more lively you can have several sharks in there at once. To
finish the game you can choose 'once a shark, always a shark' - so everyone eventually becomes a shark. You can introduce freak weather conditions - or even a
killer whale!

See-Saw Pull added 7-25-00 Original Author Unknown

From a sitting position, have the children pull the chute back and forth in a see- sawing motion.

Make Waves added 7-25-00 Original Author Unknown

While gripping the parachute, everyone moves their arms up and down to make small and large waves.

Ball Roll added 7-25-00 Original Author Unknown

Have the children try to roll balls into the hole in the center of the parachute.

Chute Lift added 7-25-00 Original Author Unknown

Ask the children to lift the parachute high over their heads and down again. Talk about the soft sounds and breezes that are created. Move the parachute faster and notice the different effects.

Another Mushroom added 7-25-00 Original Author Unknown

From a standing position, lift the parachute from the ground to waist height, counting
one (lift) and two (lift). On three (lift), have everyone raise the parachute high over their heads and then crouch down, pulling the parachute tightly behind them. A mushroom effect is created as the parachute settles.

Parachute Tag added 7-25-00 Original Author Unknown

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.

One Hand Run added 7-25-00 Original Author Unknown

 Have each child hold the parachute with one hand, extending the opposite arm out for balance. Run around in one direction, then change and run around in the other direction. A variation would be to use music as the cue for changing direction (i.e. direction can be changed every time the music stops).

Parachute Run added 7-25-00 Original Author Unknown

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 maneuver 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).

Popcorn added 7-25-00 Original Author Unknown 

Place a number of beanbags or cotton balls on the chute. Shake the chute to make them rise like popcorn.

Poison Snake added 7-25-00 Original Author Unknown 

Place four to six pieces of yarn on the chute. By shaking the chute, try to make them hit the players on the other side. Keep track of who gets bitten. (With younger children you might want to do snake or worm kisses instead.)

Pompoms added 7-25-00 Original Author Unknown

Put the pompoms in the middle. Sprinkle various sized pompoms in the top of the shoot and try to get them into the middle pocket. You could have teams with different colors and count how many they get in.

Shaking the Rug and Making Waves 
added 7-25-00 Original Author Unknown 

Shaking rug involves rapid movement either light or heavy. Making waves are large movements to send billow of cloth up and down like waves. Waves can be small, medium or large. Kids can alternate turns to see who can make the best waves.

Merry Go Round added 7-25-00 Original Author Unknown

Turn the body so that the chute is held with only one hand, walk, hop, jump, skip around holding the chute. It looks like a merry-go-round.

Cathedral added 7-25-00 Original Author Unknown

Everyone lowers the chute and then on the count of three raise their arms high once the chute is quite high. Everyone takes 3-4 giant steps toward the center and pulls the chute behind them and sit down with their bottoms on the edge of the chute.

Cat and mouse added 7-25-00 Original Author Unknown

(Although some might find this dangerous - just make sure the cat is crawling on all fours and not running upright. I have personally done this and if you take the proper precautions it can be fun and uneventful.) One child ( the mouse) is under the chute, everyone is shaking it, quite close to the ground and another child (shoes off) crawls on top and tries to hunt and tag the mouse.

Running by Numbers added 7-25-00 Original Author Unknown

If the chute is a large one...the kids love to run underneath and switch places with
others - could number them 1 through 5 around the circle- and then call out a number. (Lots of screams for this one.)

There was a man added 7-25-00 Original Author Unknown

Children walk around in a circle hanging onto the parachute
There was a man in our town
 Who went for a WALK one day
But the wind blew so hard
He turned around
And WALKED the other way

 Different actions, such as run, hop, skip, etc. may replace walk.

Weather added 7-25-00 Original Author Unknown

We start calm sitting on the floor and its a gentle breeze then rain and move up to a thunder storm with everyone standing up holding handles shaking as hard as they can to make thunder.

Drop the ball added 7-25-00 Original Author Unknown

Place a soft ball of any size in the center and you have to try to keep the ball from falling off on your side.

Circus Tent added 7-25-00 Original Author Unknown

Pull the parachute up into the air. Step under it. Pull it down behind you and sit down with the parachute tucked under your bottom. We call this our circus tent.

When the parachute goes up added 7-28-00 Original Author Unknown

Sung to: "If your happy and you know it"
When the parachute goes up
Stomp your feet
 When the parachute goes up
Stomp your feet
 When the parachute is high
And floats up in the sky
 When the parachute goes up
Stomp your feet.

... bend your knees
...wiggle your bottom
...lift one leg
..shout hooray
...shake your head, etc. etc.

Name Game added 9-5-00 Original Author Unknown

Sung to: "Row Row Row your Boat"

Up, up, up it goes
Down, down, down it comes
If your name is------- (put in a child's name)
Now's your turn to run

As you sing the song have the children raise the parachute above their heads. When a child is named have him/her run under the parachute. Then slowly lower the parachute to try and trap the child. Continue until all children have had a turn.

Grand Old Duke of York added 11-26-01 Submitted by: Natalie Tasso

Sing the Grand Old Duke of York while playing with the parachute.  Teaches directions up, down, right and left associations. 

The Grand Old Duke of York
He had ten thousand men
He marched them up to the top of the hill (Parachute Up)
And he marched them down again (Parachute down)
And he marched them to the left (Walk to the left)
And he marched them to the left (Walk to the left)
And he marched them to the right (Walk to the right)
And he marched them to the right (Walk to the right)
And he marched them up (Parachute Up)
And he marched them down (Parachute Down)
Oh what a silly sight (Shake the parachute really fast)


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