When you were a kid, the activity you looked forward to the most was probably parachute day in P.E. class. That unrealistic rainbow parachute launched a thousand dreams of kaleidoscopic creativity. And while kids today can watch people parachute in real-time, the screen will never be able to replicate that unique feeling of sitting inside of a rainbow. Give your kiddos the chance to experience that age-old whimsy with these parachute games for kids.
Popcorn is a classic parachute game that kindergarteners to adults will love. The premise is to knock out the opposing team's ball colors while keeping your colored balls inside the parachute space.
Set-up is super easy. Gather about 5 foam balls of each color you're using and have the kids hold on to the edges of the parachute. Task them with raising and lowering the parachute to get it airborne and then toss the balls inside. Now, it's off to the races with kids moving their sections of the parachute up and down, left and right to knock other's balls out and keep theirs in. The team (or kid) with the last ball remaining wins.
Stuffed Animals in Space
Stuffed animals in space is a fun game for younger kids to play that's low on competition but high on energy. Gather a few different sized stuffed animals and place them in the center of the flat parachute. Have each of the kids vote for a stuffed animal, and ask them to hold on to the edges of the parachute.
Now, instruct them to raise and lower the parachute (increasingly getting higher). The animals should start to roll around. Keep raising the parachute higher and higher (like a trampoline), and try to toss the animals into the air. The stuffed animal that reaches the tallest point without falling off the parachute is the winner.
If you're looking for a fun and simple playdate activity for young kids, just ask them to bring their favorite stuffie and add this game to the agenda.
Color Wheel Cross
Color wheel cross is a fun game for young kids to practice their colors and use up some of their excess energy. For this one, all you need is a rainbow parachute. Have the kids grab onto different sections of the parachute and lift it over their heads, holding it in the air.
Once the parachute's airborne, call out one color of the pie pieces on the rainbow pattern. All the kids in those pieces have to run into the middle and to a different pie piece (of the same color) than they left. Any kids who don't make it to the other side before the parachute comes down are out.
Continue the play until there's too many kids out to hold up the parachute or their arms are too tired to lift it up anymore.
You don't want to end up being the bridge troll in this raucous parachute game for older elementary and middle schoolers. In this game, kids try to cross under the lifted parachute without getting caught. Any kids who're toppled by the falling 'chute are now bridge trolls. Their home is under the parachute and their goal is to block the other kids from getting to the other side of the parachute, in turn making them into bridge trolls, too.
You can call out kids by first initial, last initial, birthday month, and so on to see who gets to wrestle with the parachute and the bridge trolls.
A game perfect for older kids is parachute surfing. Bring back the iconic roller trays of finger-breaking infamy in this great indoor game. Set kids in a circle around the parachute. Then, give about every fourth or fifth kid one of the roller scooters. Laying with their chest (or sitting if they're a rowdy bunch) on the scooter, they'll grab onto the parachute with one hand.
The other kids lift the parachute about chest height and start walking in a circle. The kids on their scooters are surfing along the massive parachute waves, trying not to fall off. Then, you can go down the line to let everyone have their turn at taking on the waves.
Catch the Cloud
Catch the cloud is an easy game for elementary schoolers that only involves the parachute and some fast-acting moves. The point of this game, as the name suggests, is to 'catch the cloud.' Everyone will grab onto the parachute, lift it high into the air, and bring it down, trapping a bubble of air underneath.
The key to this parachute activity for kids is calling out different students to rush on top of it and catch the cloud. Of course, as they rush around the trapped air bubble trying to grab it, they'll be smushing the air out and away. Because it's a never-ending game, you'll be able to keep those preschoolers and kindergarteners occupied for hours.
Who Am I?
Taking inspiration from the popular board game, Guess Who?, this is an awesome game for large groups. Kids will stand in a circle around the parachute with their eyes closed. A parent or teacher taps one kid on the shoulder, tagging them to run and hide underneath the parachute. Now, everyone opens their eyes and has to guess who's stuck underneath.
You can set a timer for anywhere between 1 minute to 5 minutes to let kids make their guesses and ask questions for the person under the parachute to answer.
Creature From the Depths
Kids come together to transform into a kraken from the depths in this silly parachute game. To set-up, have the kids sit in a circle around the parachute. Pick out two or three kids to start as the baby kraken. They'll crawl under the parachute and lie in wait while the other kids lift the parachute to about waist-high and gently roll it up and down to create waves.
Now, the kids underneath the parachute can crawl around, trying to tag out other people's feet like tentacles grabbing them from under the depths. A kid's only defense against the tentacles is the parachute, which they can bring down on the tentacles to trap them inside.
If a kid gets tagged, they become another tentacle in the kraken's body and have to join the other tentacles under the parachute. This game continues until there are too few kids left to hold up the parachute.
To modify the game for older kids, have them sit with their legs outstretched, rustling the parachute at chest level. Now, the tentacle kids can grab ahold of the other kids' legs and pull them under with them.
Spend the Day Up, Up, and Away
Playing around with a brightly colored parachute never loses its appeal, and these parachute games for kids can easily be played by adults, too. Whether you want to help kids practice new skills or want to expend some of their excess energy in a controlled way, the best thing to do is spend the day up, up, and away.