Parachute day in P.E. class is the best. Watching that parachute float up and down is mesmerizing. Running around a parachute is great exercise. And working together to keep all the balls on a parachute during a game of popcorn encourages cooperation. Parachute play isn’t just fun and games, it teaches:
- Social skills like sharing and taking turns
- Hand-eye coordination, balance, and mobility
- Core and arm muscles
- Social interaction and communication
- Listening and responding
Parachutes are also inclusive. Everyone can participate, and they’re an enjoyable sensory experience for many kids. All you need to get started are a couple of basic supplies, like this parachute and ball pit balls from Amazon.
Here are 37 parachute games to try with students.
1. Mushroom (The Classic)
Let’s start with the basic mushroom. Students spread out in a circle, holding the edge of the parachute. Students pull the parachute taught and lower it. On the signal, they raise the chute upward, all working together. The goal is to all get under the parachute at the same time and sit down, pulling the parachute behind them so that it creates a mushroom shape.
2. The Umbrella
The umbrella—a mushroom format, but keeping hands up—is a great way to practice teamwork before students move on to more advanced parachute games.
3. Make Waves
All the students hold the parachute and move it up and down to create waves.
4. Treasure Under the Sea
Place “treasures” (balls, bean bags, small stuffies) in a box underneath a parachute. Make waves above it and students are sent in as “divers” to collect the items.
5. Cat and Mouse
Assign students the role of cat and mouse. When the “mouse” is called, the mouse starts crawling under the parachute. Once the mouse is under the parachute, call “cat” and the cat starts crawling after the mouse to see if they can tag the mouse. Set a time limit for the cat to seek and then switch roles.
6. Parachute Tag
Have students lift the parachute high. Then call one student’s name and have them run to the other side before the parachute comes down and tags them.
Students sit and wave the parachute while a ball is rolled under it. Then students sit under the parachute and send the ball back out.
8. Climb the Mountain
Students work together to create a “mountain” out of the parachute and then, two at a time, try to climb the mountain as the other students hold the mountain steady.
9. One-Hand Run
Each student holds the parachute with one hand and extends the other hand for balance. The students run clockwise in one direction, then change hands and run in the other direction. Use music to prompt students to change directions.
Put balls on top of the parachute and wave it so that it looks like popcorn popping. Start with a few balls and then add more and more!
11. Parachute Switch
Using a large parachute, have students hold the edges of the parachute. Give each student a number so there are some repeating numbers (so, if you have 20 students, have them number 1-10 so there are two of each number). Then, call out a number and have the students with that number run under the parachute.
12. Parachute Tug-of-War
Divide students into two teams. Ask the teams to stand on either side of the parachute and hold it. Each team has to try to pull the opposite team onto their side.
13. Windy Day Song
Use this song to warm students up to using the parachute with younger students.
Have students hold the parachute with one hand and hop, skip, or jump in a circle. The result looks like a merry-go-round.
15. Turtle Walk
Have students space out evenly and hold the edges of the parachute. The goal is for students to get into the parachute and make it look like a turtle’s shell. Then, once they have the shape, they try to walk and move the parachute like a turtle’s shell would.
16. Turtle Race
If you have two parachutes and enough students, have them divide into two groups, create two turtles, and then race as parachute turtles.
17. Parachute Twister
Use the parachute as a twister board and call out activities for students to do while they have their hands on one color and their feet on another.
18. Shoe Shuffle
Assign students numbers 1 through 6. Have no. 1 children throw their shoe into the middle. Lift the parachute and have students retrieve the shoes. Then, repeat the procedure with number 2, 3, and so on.
19. Parachute Dance Around the Clock
Students hold on to the parachute and dance clockwise, counterclockwise, backward, and forward depending on your direction. Play music so they can move to the tempo and make it more challenging.
20. Toss the Fleas
Hold the parachute taut. Put all the balls (fleas) on the center of the parachute. Divide students into teams. The goal is for one team to throw the fleas and the other team has to not let the fleas out.
21. Parachute Keepy-Uppy
Students hold the edges of a parachute. Throw a beach ball onto the parachute and students have to work together to keep the ball from bouncing out.
Students lie on their backs and put the parachute on top of them, holding it firmly down. Then they crawl slowly with the parachute over them.
23. Man in the Middle
A student sits in the middle of the parachute and the other students move the parachute to create waves around them.
24. Under the Bridge
Students stand at the edge of the parachute and grip the edges. One student is the referee and they call out names randomly (or, have them draw sticks with the students’ names on them). When a student’s name is called, they must cross the bridge or go under the parachute. The rest of the students try to capture the student who is passing by bringing the parachute down.
25. Weather Station
Students spread out evenly around the parachute. One child is the weather reporter. The weather reporter calls out what type of weather it is. Flutter, wind, storm, tornado (run around), hail (add balls). Have students create movements for other types of weather too.
26. Color Quiz
Place the parachute on a flat surface. Students stand around the parachute. The teacher announces a color and students must identify the color on the parachute. Students can run to the color, jump on it, or lift it.
27. Shake Hands
Assign a number to each student. Students hold the parachute up, and the teacher calls out two random numbers. The students with those numbers run to the middle and shake hands. They can also introduce themselves in the process.
28. Number Switch
Have students sit or stand around the parachute. Assign a number to each player. A teachers calls a number and those two students switch spots by running under the parachute.
29. Fruit Salad
Students hold on to the parachute. The teacher assigns fruit names to each student in a sequence (apple, grape, pear, berry). Make sure that each fruit is assigned to two players. The students move the parachute up and down. The teacher calls names of fruits, and when their fruit is called, students cross under the parachute.
30. Row the Boat
Students sit in a circle, holding on to the parachute. Working together, they pull back and forth so they are moving back and forth and working their abdominal muscles.
31. Rocket Launch
Place a ball in the middle of the parachute and see how high you can send it.
32. Shark Attack
Students take turns being sharks and rescuing other kids who are moving the parachute.
33. Duck, Duck, Goose
Students hold on to the parachute and move it while the student “goose” taps on the student “ducks.” They have to run all the way around the parachute to sit back down without being tagged.
Students lift the parachute up, and then three students at a time run around the circle as fast as they can. The goal is to get back to their places before the parachute comes down.
35. Parachute Volleyball
If you have small parachutes, play volleyball using the parachutes and large beach balls over a net. Or if you have one large parachute and a beach ball, divide students into two teams. One team is on each side of the parachute and tries to knock the ball off the other side, past the other team.
36. Parachute Golf
Throw a ball into the middle of a parachute and have students shake the parachute so that they can count the number of shakes that it takes for the ball to go through the hole.
37. Mad Scientist
One child stands in the middle of the parachute with their head touching the fabric. The other students pull the parachute back and forth over the student’s hair until it stands on end. A great introduction to static electricity!