Warm-up and Cool-down Parachute Activities

Age Range: 5 - 11

Mushroom

This is a basic starting point for parachute games. Get everyone to spread out evenly around the chute and hold the edge. Pull the chute taut and crouch down. On the command MUSHROOM, everyone stands and pulls the chute upwards causing the chute to fill with air and rise like a giant mushroom.

Mushroom Variations

Everyone MUSHROOMS, then lets go.
Everyone MUSHROOMS, takes one step in, sits down pulling the chute behind them, so everyone is sitting in a TENT.
Everyone MUSHROOMS, then runs to the centre, still holding the chute.

Tent Pole:

While you're in the tent, try this: One person is selected to be a tent pole and stands in the middle, holding the centre of the chute as high as possible. The tent-pole person calls out someone's name and goes and sits down in that person's place. The person called has to rush to the middle and take up the role of the tent-pole before the chute comes down. Repeat the procedure as long as you feel like it.
There's also a variation of Tent-Pole, which is called Jellyfish. In this version, all the seated people sway about as much as possible for the tent-pole to stay upright. From the outside, the chute should look like a gigantic quivering jellyfish.

Upside-down tent

An alternative way to make a tent is to have everyone lie on their backs under the chute, heads to the middle with their feet up in the air. Stretch the chute tight and tuck the chute under your backs so it holds your legs up. You can bring in a soft ball and use your hands to bounce it around inside the tent.

Air Conditioning:

This game is good for recuperation after an energetic game. Hold the chute stretched out and have about a third of the people lie on the ground under it (best with heads near the middle). The rest mushroom the chute up and quickly pull it down again repeatedly.
Air rushing in and out cools those underneath like a giant fan, and the sensation of watching the chute rise up and then come down on top of you is very strange.

The Ocean

(suggested by Amy Chartier)

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.

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