Parachute Games for Kids
Kids love parachute games and it’s no wonder! I remember parachute PE games were some of the best games in elementary school PE class. The other PE games seemed to always involve getting hit with balls or running from each other, along with ferocious competition – not my style!
The colorful parachute, on the other hand, was definitely my style. (I also liked a bunch of these non-competitive games I played with friends when we weren’t lucky to have a parachute around.)
Parachute games always involved teamwork, laughter, and a sense of cohesiveness with my classmates. And I didn’t leave with welts from balls on my skin – another plus! Kids group games can be so competitive but using a parachute restricts that. A parachute is a great option for kids cooperative games.
The best part is they are a fun way to keep kids moving!
(Don’t have a parachute yet and looking for some outdoor fun? Check out how to make a backyard obstacle course here!
PE Games to Play With a Parachute
Elephant and Mouse
One child is an elephant and another is the mouse. The mouse goes under the chute while the group sits in a circle shaking the parachute. The elephant goes on top to catch the mouse. Both must stay on their hands and knees! The elephant catches the mouse by tagging them. Everyone gets a turn being both.
This is an activity if you have more adults or older kids/younger kids. The adults hold the edges of the chute and lift it all the way up and back to their chest repeatedly. Kids run under it or lay, watching it rise and fall. Toddlers really love this parachute game!
Everyone sits on the outside with their legs out in front of them, under the parachute, holding the edges. One person – the shark – crawls under the chute as everyone else shakes it. When they feel their toes get tickled they got eaten by the shark! They, too, now go under the chute and tickle toes until everyone is under the chute. This is a fast, but fun game!
Wheels on the Bus and Other Musical Parachute Games
Who doesn’t like musical parachute games for kids?! The song, Wheels on the Bus is perfect for the actions – you just do what the song says! So for the wipers on the bus that go swish swish, hold the ‘chute and swish back and forth.
Another good song is “Pop Goes the Weasel”. Walk around for the song and lift it fast for the “Pop”.
Kids always like “Motor Boat” for the excitement of it. You just do what the chant says…
Motor boat, motor boat, go so slow,
motor boat, motor boat, go so fast,
motor boat, motor boat, step on the gas
motor boat, motor boat, run out of gas
Of course, “Ring Around the Rosie” is a great parachute song too.
This is definitely an activity for younger kids that don’t weigh quite so much, and a few older kids or adults for the outside.
Put the small children on top of the parachute right in front of an adult/older child holding onto the edge. Ideally, each small child will have at least one person holding the parachute by them. Lift the edges up all at the same time, so the child(ren) slide to the middle.
This one usually takes a bit of practice, but is really fun if you get it right! Lift slowly so kids slide, not roll, down to the middle!
Fast action is a great parachute game for older kids.
Everyone holds onto the edges of the parachute and begins making “high rises” (lifting up high, back down just to the chest, repeat). Call two kids names at a time so they have to run under the parachute and switch places – before it comes back down on them!
Alternate versions of this game include calling out a color and everyone wearing it has to change run to a handle on the other side of the chute. Or you can have the kids perform a ‘task’ when running under (a high five is a good one)!
Pop the Bubbles
This is great for teamwork for any age.
The kids lift the parachute together and bring it back down to the floor. If they worked at the same time, it should be a huge bubble on the ground. Have them crawl around, popping all of the air bubbles.
I like to specify in the beginning of this one not to go under it!!
Form a Turtle or Tent
Forming good air bubbles with the parachute is always dependent on the group working together. So these are really great kids cooperative games – and fun for all ages!
To make an awesome parachute tent, everyone lifts the ‘chute up high at the same time, sits down, and brings the parachute down behind their back, sitting on it. It may take a couple tries to get the tent well, but when it does, it stays up for a while (as long as you keep the air trapped inside). Tell stories, sing songs, and have some fun underneath!
Forming a turtle is much the same as a tent, but you lay down with just your body under the parachute and head sticking out. I find the reverse turtle even more fun – heads under the parachute with it over your kneck.
Parachute Fly Away
Ready to put the parachute away? Here’s a fun way – and fast to get it gathered quickly.
Everyone lifts the parachute high and lets go – except you. Hold on to it and it should fly up and right back to you with a slight tug. Kids and adults alike love to watch the parachute fly!
What’s the Best Parachute for Parachute Games for Kids?
This is the one I’ve had for almost 10 years. I use it for classes and my own kids. We used to use it with our homeschool co-op a couple times a month and still going strong. It’s the one featured in all of the pictures on this page!
I definitely recommend this particular parachute, it’s held up beautifully with no tears or rips! Check it out here. Oh, and it’s machine washable – yay!
I have the 20ft size. Smaller parachutes are a lot of fun too, just note many of the games aren’t available with smaller sizes.
If you’re looking for other mats and equipment appropriate for gymnastics and kids movement, check out my mats buying guide here.
So what are you waiting for?? Get your parachute and get playing today!