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Musical Parachute Play

The smiles and laughter of the children as they delight in playing with a large, colorful parachute is testimony to how much fun parachute games are!  Parachute play can be effectively combined with musical play for added enjoyment and learning.

Valuable aspects such as teamwork, cooperation and inclusiveness are all shared benefits of both music and parachute play.  The parachute creates an instant circle, allowing everyone to feel a part of the group and encouraging eye contact and interaction between all participants.      

Parachute play can be used to add an exciting element to singing games or music and movement activities.   Games can be played for fun, or to highlight and reinforce musical concepts.  Parachute play is also energizing, helping children switch on their brains for more focused learning.

Starting Out

It is helpful to go through the song or activity slowly first to ensure everyone understands the concepts involved with the game.  Practice a few basic parachute movements such as lifting it together on the count of three, shaking it, holding it still, etc.  

If there are not enough handles for every child to hold on to one, you may ask all the children to hold on to the edge rather than a handle, or at least explain beforehand that it doesn’t matter whether you hold a handle or the edge.

Some young children may find their first exposure to a large parachute a little overwhelming.  Ensure you introduce the parachute with some quieter and less vigorous activities while children familiarize themselves with it.

Explain to the children how parachute play involves cooperation or working together in order to make it work.  

Playing Safe

Most children find playing with a parachute very exciting and therefore there is the potential for children to become over-excited.  Before playing, establish or remind children of some basic safety guidelines.  For example, remind children to “always keep holding on to the parachute” (unless letting go is part of the game!)  It’s a guideline that helps prevent children running underneath or on top of the parachute and helps prevent things getting chaotic.

Always finish with a quiet, settling song or activity with the parachute.

Musical Activities:

Some simple activities to use with the parachute are:

Tempo - Slow and Fast:

Listen to music that contrasts between slow and fast.  During the slow music everyone lifts the parachute up and down together slowly.  During the fast music everyone shakes the parachute quickly.

A fantastic singing game for exploring tempo with parachute play is the song “Floating Down the River”.

Floating Down the River  Explore tempo in this exciting song that contrasts between slow and fast sections.

Vocal Exploration:  

This little activity encourages children to exercise their voice as well as raising awareness of pitch (high and low sounds).  Start with everyone holding the parachute down low near the ground and singing a low sound on an ‘oo’ vowel.  As you raise the parachute slide your voice up high (glissando.)  As you lower the parachute back down, slide your voice down in pitch.  This little activity is helpful in children developing their vocal skills (head voice, range and flexibility.)

Singing Games for Parachute Play

Ring-a-Rosie:

Bring new life to the simple game of Ring-a-Rosie!  Children hold onto the parachute and circle around while singing.  At the end of the song they all fall down.

Ring a ring a rosie
A pocket full of posies
A tishoo, a tishoo
We all fall down!

Cows are in the meadow
Eating buttercups
A tishoo, a tishoo
We all jump up!
  (Jump up while sliding voice from low to high and lifting parachute).

Mango Treats:

You will find Mango Treats in our Free Downloads section.  The Mango Treats song lends itself well to parachute play.  One or two children jump or dance in the middle of the parachute while the other children, seated with the parachute, make waves by shaking it up and down.  At the end of the song the teacher sings the name of a child to jump out and a new child to jump in.  Click here for your free download.


In the jungle there’s a monkey
Dancing to this groovy beat
All he wants is ripe bananas
All he wants is mango treats
So jump out ………....
And jump in ………….

For more fun singing games to use with Parachute Play check out these resources:

Singing Games for Parachute Play:

You’ll quickly build a much-loved repertoire of games with this fun-filled collection that brings together the joy of singing games with the color and excitement of parachute play.  This fantastic resource features 35 songs with games that will have your children begging to play over and over again.  Find out how you can add this exciting element to your program here!

 Singing Games for Parachute Play

 

Jelly on a Plate              

How much fun!  Making jelly out of a parachute!

Little Green Frog  

We all know frogs like to dance –La di da di da!

 


Purchasing a Parachute:


Parachutes are available in bright, colorful designs and come in various sizes including: 6 foot, 12 foot, 20 foot, 24 foot and 30 foot diameters.  The smaller 6 foot parachutes are a bit too small for most groups but are suitable for a small group of toddlers to play with.  Selecting a parachute for your group depends upon the number of participants and the space available to play with the parachute.  Parachutes can be used outdoors or indoors, as long as enough clear space is available.



Non-Musical Benefits of Parachute Play:

Parachute play provides children with important physical activity and exercise while building gross motor skills, coordination, perceptual motor skills and muscle development.  Social skills are also enhanced as children experience teamwork and cooperation.


A parachute is a worthwhile investment and a versatile piece of equipment for using with groups of children for musical activities.  If you don’t have a parachute you can improvise with a large sheet or piece of fabric or lycra.  


Have fun!

 

 

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