Never been introduced to the parachute? It’s time you finally used this outstanding “loose material” that you can successfully play with indoors or out. In my blog post of March 11, 2010, I shared some “Parachute Play” ideas with you. Recently, at a Kindergarten conference in California, I brought out the parachute to the delight of the participants. One teacher commented, “This is the first time I’ve played with the parachute...very fun, exciting and educational! Thanks for the experience!”
Here are some more ideas to use with toddlers to kindergartners...
Come Under My Umbrella (Tune: “Did You Ever See a Lassie?”)
Have the children hold the parachute at their waist (belly button), then the teacher says, “Touch toes, ready, lift,” while singing...(and keep touching toes and lifting)
Come under my um-brel-la, um-brel-la, um-brel-la.
Come under my um-brel-la, it’s rain-ing today.
Hold parachute at waist and shake up and down, while singing...
With thunder and lightning,
With thunder and lightning!
Touch toes, ready, lift, repeat - while singing...
Come under my um-brel-la,
It’s rain-ing today!
After a few verses, let the children sit under the parachute and enjoy the visual, auditory, and tactile stimulation with adults shaking the parachute above their heads while continuing to sing...with thunder and lightning, with thunder and lightning...
Have the children hold the parachute at their waist (belly button), then say, “Touch toes, ready, lift.” The parachute is inflated and the children take three steps forward on your command of “Volcano.” They quickly bring the parachute down and kneel on the outside edge (the air that is trapped inside of the parachute makes it look like the shape of a volcano). On the command, “Volcano Erupt,” the children creep on hands and knees or crawl on their bellies to the center of the parachute which deflates the parachute making the “volcano erupt.” The children love this activity which has them working cooperatively as well as using their imaginations. Please...do it again and again!
Sit one child on top of the mesh hole in the center of the parachute or two children sitting back to back on top of the mesh middle. Everyone else holds the parachute with one hand and steps backward so the parachute is very taut and up off the floor, except for the children sitting in the middle on the floor. All those holding the parachute walk in a circle going left (everyone should be walking forward--looking at the back of the person in front of them). As we walk, we chant--
Motor boat, motor boat go so slow,
Walk faster or jog the next time we go around, chanting--
Motor boat, motor boat go so fast,
The last time around the circle pick up more speed and all run, saying --
Motor boat, motor boat, step on the gas!
Continue playing Motor Boat until everyone who wants a turn gets a ride on top of the parachute.
A parachute (plus lots of other really great equipment to use for physical activity) and a DVD with me actually conducting parachute activities can be found in Sharron’s Play Power Motor Skills Set. You can’t go wrong with this teacher-friendly resource kit to get kids up and moving. Any questions or need more info just contact me at 925-980-8353 or firstname.lastname@example.org.