A successful summer camp has a *play parachute! Parachute time is one of those activities where you can engage children of different ages to play together. I have also never met a child who doesn’t love participating in parachute time. Before using the parachute, explain your rules to the group to make it safe. I keep it simple. My rules are:
1. Don’t go under the parachute without being asked.
2. Don’t go on top of the parachute without being asked.
3. Don’t shake the parachute without being asked.
4. Let go when I say it’s time to do so.
Once in a while you will have a student who decides not to follow, so for safety reasons I might ask the student to observe and then re-join the game when he/she knows he/she is ready to play it safe.
One more thing is that sometimes there are not enough handles in the parachute for the children to hold onto. I let them know in advance that some of them won’t be getting a handle, but there are other parts at the edge of the parachute where they can grab, too.
Here are some fun activities to play while using the parachute:
Number Tag: Make a circle and everyone holds a handle or part of the parachute. Assign numbers to each child. You will need a number caller. His/her job will be to choose who tags who. For example:
Uno y cinco. The number that gets called first has to tag the second number. They will have to run around the parachute and can also go under. Their turn ends when the tagger tags the other child. You decide when to end the game.
Singing Ball: Place a ball in the middle of the parachute. Have the group sing a song in Spanish while shaking the parachute. If the ball falls off the parachute while singing the song, they will have to start all over again. The game ends when they are all able to sing the song while keeping the ball on the parachute.
Counting Ball or Object: Set a goal with the group of how high they want to count in Spanish. Let’s say the group decides that “veinte” is their goal. Place the ball in the middle of the parachute and the children should shake the parachute and start counting in Spanish. Just like the Singing Ball game, the game ends when they are able to say all the numbers while keeping the ball on the parachute.
Salsacaídas: This game is the combination of Salsa music and paracaídas (parachute). Choose a few salsa songs for your group to dance to. “Vivir mi vida” and “La Gozadera” have been hits in my classes and are also long enough for the children to take turns dancing. Children can go in pairs or by themselves. Everyone holds the parachute high and shakes it while playing the songs. Children take turns dancing under the parachute. You decide how long you want the activity to go.
Last, but not least, I have another post with a fun song to use while playing the parachute. Follow this link to read it.