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Blog | 08 November 2023

17 quick and easy parachute games to play

Nicola Hilliard, Creative Content Producer
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If you're in search of imaginative new activities, we've put together 17 of the most exciting, easy and entertaining parachute games for you to explore. From games that will spark your creativity to others that will put your teamwork to the test, there's a game for you. So, gather your friends, hold on tight to your parachute, and get ready to soar to new heights!

Place a variety of ‘treasures’, such as tokens or pretend money, into a ‘treasure box’.

Place the treasure box under the parachute in the middle of the space. Everyone should hold the parachute at about waist height. 

Ask everyone to make waves by lifting the parachute up and down between their waist to above their head. It should look like waves in a sea storm. 

When you’ve started your storm and everyone’s in a steady rhythm, call out names and send these people under the parachute as ‘divers’ to grab items one by one from the box.

To make it harder, you could ask people to grab a specific item, play in teams, give a time limit, or challenge them not to touch the parachute.

Everyone should hold the parachute at about waist height.

Place a few soft and lightweight items, such as beanbags, small plastic balls or ping pong balls, in the middle of the parachute.

Then, when you give the signal, everyone should wave the parachute as fast and hard as they can to make the items ‘pop’, just like popcorn.

The aim is to pop all the items out of the parachute. Some variations have the young people sitting in a circle with their legs underneath the parachute before ‘popping’ begins. 

To make it more competitive:

You could play it as a race between two teams. Place an even amount of two colours of balls on the parachute. For example, you could use ten soft, red balls and ten soft, blue balls.

Split everyone into two teams, such as red and blue, and make sure both team’s members are equally distributed around the parachute.

The red team wants to shake the parachute with the aim to keep the red balls on and pop the blue balls off. The blue team tries for the opposite.

Whoever gets all their opponent’s balls off the parachute first, wins.

Everyone should hold the parachute at about waist height.

Place a few soft handled skipping ropes or soft ropes in the middle of the parachute. They’ll be the snakes in this game. 

The aim for the people stood around the parachute is to make sure the ropes don’t touch you.

Everyone should shake the parachute up and down for a set length of time. 

Try your best to keep the snakes from touching you.

If anyone gets touched by a snake, they need to let go of the parachute and step back. 

Everyone holds the parachute at about waist height.

Split everyone into two teams, such as a red team and a blue team. 

Place a ball in the middle of the parachute.

In this game, one team is aiming to try to keep the ball on the parachute, while the other team is trying to knock it off. 

However, no one can touch the ball with their hands – they can only move the parachute.

Set a time limit, such as two minutes, and wherever the ball is at the end of the time limit shows which team has won.

Divide everyone into small teams and give each team a fruit, such as oranges or pineapples.

Make sure each team is equally spread out around the parachute. No two people from the same team should be stood next to each other. 

Everyone should hold parachute at about waist height and start to make waves, lifting the parachute up and down between their waist to above the head. It should look like waves in a sea storm.

You should have the parachute move up and down slowly, so when it’s lifted, people can run to the other side before it falls on them.

While the parachute is in motion, the person leading the game gives a direction by calling out a fruit. For example, they could call out ‘Oranges, switch!’

Anyone on the ‘oranges’ team should switch places with each other by running under the parachute. They should try to get across before the parachute comes down. 

If the volunteer shouts ‘Fruit salad’, everyone should change seats with someone else. 

To make it easier:

Instead of swapping places, people could run to the other side of the parachute, rather than to another space. They’d then go back to their spot, having made it safely across.

It’s time to make a big circus top from the parachute. Everyone holds the parachute at about waist height, then lifts it high in the air.

Everyone needs to quickly bring the parachute to the floor and sit on the inside of it, as this should trap the air inside it.

You could then take it in turns to dance, sing songs, or tell some stories.

Pair up all young people and ask them to sit on opposite sides of the parachute.

Give each pair a team name, such as a number, a fruit, a colour or an animal. You may want to write them down.

Everyone should hold the parachute at about waist height and start to gently wave it.

The person leading the activity should call out a team’s name. The group should try to get the parachute as high in the air as possible.

The chosen pair will then need to run under the parachute, high-five each other and make their way back to their spaces, without being tagged by the parachute.

To play this game as an icebreaker:

This is also good as an icebreaker game. Make sure everyone holds one handle using both hands, as the handles will be used to mark spaces. 

Everyone should hold the parachute at about waist height. An adult or young leader calls out a statement and then everyone lifts the parachute as high in the air as possible.

If the statement applies to them, then the players need to run under the parachute to switch places with someone else before the parachute falls.

Some examples include topics, such as birthday months, favourite books or films, if you’re wearing a specific colour, if you have a sibling or pet, and if you like to do a specific activity.

For shoe shuffle, you’ll need at least two adults supporting this game and holding the outside of the parachute.

Ask everyone to take off one shoe and place it in the middle of the circle, which’ll be directly under the middle of the parachute.

Everyone should hold the parachute at about waist height.

On the count of 3, everyone should lift the parachute as high as they can, then move to the middle to find their shoe and get back to their handle or space.

They need to try to do it before the parachute comes down and ‘tags’ them. 

Everyone should hold the parachute at about waist height.

Choose one person to be the cat and one person to be the mouse. The cat should take a blindfold. 

The cat should be on top of the parachute and the mouse should get below or underneath the parachute.

When you’re ready, ask the cat to put on a blindfold. Both players can be blindfolded to make the game harder. 

The remaining players are the wave makers and they should gently flap the parachute.

The cat must find the mouse below the parachute, but the cat will be blindfolded, so will have to listen for clues.

Give the players a time limit, such as two minutes, and see if the cat can catch the mouse.

Everyone should hold the parachute at about waist height, then lift it high in the air.

Everyone needs to quickly bring the parachute to the floor and hold it down against the floor to quickly keep the air inside. It should look like a mountain. 

The person leading the activity should call out someone’s name.

This person will be the explorer and needs to ‘climb’ the mountain. 

They should start crawling across the parachute before it deflates.

Can they make it to the middle? 

Choose some people to be sharks. The number of sharks will depend on your group size. The sharks will go underneath the parachutes.

Remind the ‘sharks’ to be gentle.

Remind everyone else to watch their heads and not to kick.

Choose some people to be lifeguards. Again, the amount will depend on your group size. The lifeguards should then stand up behind the seated players. 

Everyone else should sit on the floor with their legs straight out in front of them, going underneath the parachute.

The sitting players should hold the parachute and make gentle waves with it, while hoping not to get attacked by the shark. 

The sharks should move around underneath the parachute and try to gently pull the seated players underneath the parachute. The players can call out, ‘Lifeguard save me!’

The lifeguards have to try to save the people being attacked by shark. The lifeguard walks around the parachute and can ‘save’ someone by pulling them out before they’re fully pulled underneath the parachute.

If someone ends up under the parachute, they become a shark, too. When most of the players are now ‘sharks’, switch around the roles and start the game again.

Divide the players into teams of two. 

Everyone should hold the parachute at about waist height.

Place several soft foam balls on the top of the parachute, in the centre.

One team is aiming to throw the fleas (balls) off the parachute, while the other team is trying to not to let the fleas out.

Give the group a few minutes and see which team gets the most points.

Everyone should hold the parachute at about waist height.

The person leading the activity should count to ‘3’, or give a signal, and ask everyone to lift the parachute high over their heads.

When the parachute is in the air, the person leading the activity should quickly call one person’s name.

The chosen person should then try to run underneath and to the other side of the parachute before the parachute comes down and ‘tags’ them.

Once their turn is over, they return to their spot and you can play again. 

Everyone should hold the parachute at about waist height.

As the below song is sung, everyone raises the parachute above their heads.

When someone’s name is called, they run under the parachute. 

The parachute is slowly lowered to try and gently ‘trap’ the player.

Play until all the players (who’d like to) have had a turn. 

The song is sung to the tune of Row Row Row your Boat and goes like this:

Up, up, up it goes
Down, down, down it comes
If your name is ——- (put in someone’s name)
Now’s your turn to run

Everyone should hold the parachute at about waist height.

Put one large soft ball on the parachute. All the players need to work together as a team to roll the ball around the outside edge of the parachute, but without it falling off.

You should see how many times you can get the ball to roll around the parachute edge without it falling off.

To make it competitive, divide everyone into two teams by drawing an imaginary line down the middle of the parachute.

Everyone on one side is on one team, and everyone on the other is on the opposing team.

Again, holding the parachute at waist height, one team is now trying to get the large soft ball to travel off the parachute on their opponent’s side. 

The other team is trying to stop them, and get the ball to fly off the parachute on the other side.

Whenever the ball flies off on either side, the opposite team scores a point. You could play that the first team to five points is the winner. It’s a game of rolling and bouncing!

Everyone should hold the parachute at about waist height.

For younger groups, you can match the parachute movements to common nursery rhymes. 

Here’s an example using “The Wheels on the Bus’: 

The wheels on the bus go round and round (walk around in a circle while holding onto the parachute)

The door on the bus goes open and shut (take a few steps forward and back)

The horn on the bus goes beep, beep, beep (jump and lift the parachute up and down three times, once on each beep)

The windows on the bus go open and shut (raise the chute above head for ‘open' and then lower parachute down to toes on ‘shut’)

The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish (hold parachute with two hands and move arms from side to side)

The babies on the bus go waa, waa, waa (pretend to wipe eyes using the parachute like a tissue)

Other good nursery rhymes could be such as ‘Ring Around the Rosie’ or 'London Bridge is Falling Down’.

Everyone should hold the parachute at about waist height. You can incorporate music for additional fun.

Have everyone turn sideways on to the parachute, holding a handle with their left hand.

They should walk around in a circle to create a ‘merry-go-round’. 

You can change the actions and have people skip, hop, or march around in a circle.

If you play music, you can also pause it, telling the players to switch directions.

Top Tips

  • Remember, if you don’t have a parachute, a large bed sheet can also work just as well. 
  • If there are too many people to have a handle each and handles are shared, or if people are holding the parachute itself, you may want to put flat plain dots or markers on the floor to show the spaces where people are stood. 
Squirrel in red jumper running underneath a parachute while other Squirrels and leaders hold the edges.

Staying safe

All activities must be safely managed.

You need to complete a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Take a look at our guidance to help you carry out your risk assessment, including examples. 

Always get approval for the activity, have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers. Don’t forget to make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely. 

The game area should be free of hazards. Explain the rules of the game clearly and have a clear way to communicate that the game must stop when needed.

Make sure everyone understands what contact is acceptable, and monitor contact throughout the activity, too.

Running active games safely

Making the games accessible

Make sure there’s a way to include everyone in this game or activity. If anyone doesn’t feel comfortable playing the game or taking part in the activity, give them the opportunity to take on another role instead. Some examples are timing the games, scorekeeping, playing or stopping music, or refereeing.

The games or roles, such as the detective in wink murder, could be played in pairs if people don’t want to take part alone. People could run in pairs in games, such as Circle Tag, too.

Remember, people who struggle with making choices could find all the options a bit overwhelming, so they might need extra support or to work with a young leader/volunteer to be able to choose something.

For anyone who may not be able to hear the activities, consider printing them a version on paper that they can read at the same time. You could also provide written instructions electronically to allow use of magnification software. Try to use size 12 font and either ‘Arial’ or ‘Nunito Sans’, as this is easier for lots of people to read.

Take time and have patience while telling everyone what to do. Give short instructions clearly and concisely. If you need to, pause, then repeat the same instruction using the same words.

Remember to keep instructions short and precise and be prepared to repeat these. It’s best to break information up into smaller 'chunks', so the person doesn’t feel overwhelmed. You can check for understanding by asking questions, such as ‘What do you need to do first?’.

You could have a practice round of the game to make sure everyone knows what they’re doing. Let young people help explain to each other what to do, too.

Remember when giving instructions, some people may not look at you or make eye contact. This doesn’t mean they're not listening. Eye contact can be painful for some people and shouldn't be forced.

If a player has difficulties communicating verbally, you could explore doing this activity without speaking. Remember not to speak for a young person but help them to develop their communication. For example, a closed choice can be easier to make than an open question.

If a young person mis-says a sentence, you could repeat it after them in the correct form - this will help them learn for next time and is much more useful than saying what they said is wrong or ‘correcting’ them.

To select someone, the game leader doesn’t have to tap people on the shoulder to name them, so make sure they know if anyone doesn’t like to be touched.

People can move at their own pace, so you don’t need to make it competitive unless it works for everyone. You could adapt the competitive element so everyone can be involved and without needing to run.

Avoid shouting or using whistles. Some people may not understand why you're shouting and could find this distressing, particularly if they're hypersensitive to noise. 

During games, make sure individuals who need to can clearly see the person speaking, as they may find it helpful to read lips or body language.

If it’s too noisy and anyone doesn’t like the noise, the person leading the activity can remind everyone to be quieter. You could provide ear defenders for the person to wear. You could also have a noise level warning system to let everyone know when it gets too loud, allow people to take noise breaks, and shut external doors and windows to help reduce noise.

To take part in a noisy activity, a young person with a hearing impairment might find it more comfortable to turn their hearing aid off. If this is their regular practice, you'll need to make sure that it's turned on again afterwards.

You could play some games in a quiet environment by removing any noises. For example, in Rhythm Master, actions need only be facial movements, or moving/waving arms or leg movements. In Broken Telephone, you could pass a sequence of movements down a line, rather than a spoken message.

Make sure any actions are things everyone can do. If anyone needs support in throwing the balls or beanbags, let them work closely with someone else to help them achieve this.

If anyone struggles with fine motor skills, they could use larger materials. You could swap out the items, such as beanbags, for something easier to handle, such as foam footballs.

A lot of these games can be played sitting or standing, either on the floor or on chairs. Make sure to adapt to whichever way works best for everyone and make sure any actions are things everyone can do.

Choose an area that’s suitable for all members of your group. You could visit the area early and remove any large or obvious obstacles. Think about the space you’ll be in and the equipment you’re using in advance to make sure it’s accessible to everyone in the group, including wheelchair users.

The equipment and circle should be laid out in a way that’s accessible to everyone, so making sure there’s access for everyone to move round the outside of a circle.

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