A parachute is a wonderful addition to the play equipment in any school, organization or child care center. Beautiful and sometimes calming, a parachute can create soft, whispering sounds or loud, rippling noises, depending on how quickly it is moved. Parachutes are usually made of brightly coloured, lightweight nylon and are equipped with strong, reinforced handholds.
Why incorporate parachute play into your program? Because parachute games encourage cooperative, non-competitive play and reinforce turn-taking and sharing. While most gross motor activities for young children develop muscles in the lower body more than the upper torso, parachutes strengthen primarily shoulder, arm and hand muscles. When children work together to make the parachute billow, they also refine perceptual motor skills and develop a sense of rhythm. Language activities can also be incorporated into most parachute games.
Parachutes are a lot of fun for both children and adults to play with, especially in large, grassy areas in the summertime. The opportunities to encourage children's overall development with this exciting activity make it an ideal choice for early childhood programming.
Benefits of parachute play include:
- Encourages cooperation
- Strengthens upper torso
- Differing abilities are non-issue
- Refines perceptual skills
- Reinforces turn-taking/ sharing
- Develops a sense of rhythm
- Requires following directions
- Promotes social interaction
- Enhances language development