Parachutes games are very popular at baby and toddler classes and can help with sensory development, motor skills and hand eye coordination amongst other important early years skills. A lot of the ideas in this section allow babies and toddlers to experience new sensations from seeing the changing colours and shapes around them to interacting with the parachute and eachother. The many songs and actions that go along with each activity can help promote confidence and hand-eye coordination as well as helping them build friendships with others as they get older and interact more. Parachutes are perfect for parents with babies because they can sit or lie on top of the parachute - even if they aren't moving just yet.
When they do start moving - rolling and crawling the parachute gives them a whole new experience - while toddlers love running around underneath the parachute - just like a canopy above their heads. Toddlers will of course enjoy climbing on top of the parachute and hiding under the parachute too so there are a wide variety of activities that will suit depending on the ages and abilities of your pre-schoolers! If you are looking for some more active games for older children or quieter warm-up activities click the link to take a look at these and more parachute games and ideas:
Babies lie on the backs in front of their parent. Raising and lowering the parachute provides a sensory experience for babies as they watch the changing shapes and colours above them. This can be done to a variety of songs and music.
Soft/gentle songs work especially well when bubbles are blown under the parachute so the babies can watch them move with the ripples of the colourful material.
Parents sit their babies on their laps and hold a loop of the parachute - this can be done with older babies and toddlers as they can grab onto the edges of the parachute. You can then do a variety of songs that involve going up and down or forward and backwards e.g. row row row your boat.
Babies who can sit up are placed on top of the parachute while the parents/carers hold up the parachute behind them. This is especially good if your little one is not confident at sitting up and are a bit wobbly as the sides of the parachute create a soft cushion if they were to wobble backwards!
You can then do a variety of different songs and if the babies are a little more robust you can take them all for a ride by walking in a circle or just lifting it gently up and down.
Crawlers and Toddlers
Most babies who are crawling love to crawl under the parachute and toddlers love to run around underneath! raising and lifting the parachute to various songs is a fun way to let them explore while the adults can also be involved!
Come Under My Umbrella(Tune of Did you ever see a lassie?)> Come under my umbrella, umbrella, umbrella Come under my umbrella, it's starting to rain There's thunder and lightning it's loud and exciting Come under my umbrella it's starting to rain.
Lift the bubbles - fill the top of the parachute with bubbles and slowly raise the chute then start to waft it so the bubbles fly higher and higher. If you are a bit too vigorous and pop a lot of them quickly then it is a good idea to have someone continuously blowing more bubbles!
Usually a good game for the end of a session or before quiet time - everyone holds a bit of the parachute, on three everyone throws it as high in the air as possible and the leader quickly whisks it away whilst raveling it up very quickly! This is great for any age and can be a good way to pack it away without any children getting too upset that it has gone!