Before you can even begin to play parachute games, you need a parachute to play with! If you don't already have one, or know where you can borrow one, you will find the instructions for making one here.

Cat and Mouse : One child is the cat, another is the mouse. All the rest stand evenly spaced around the edge of the parachute and grip it firmly. The bulk of the parachute is allowed to rest on the ground, only the edges are raised. The "mouse" goes under the canopy of the parachute and the "cat" (with shoes removed) goes on top. The object of the game is for the "cat" to catch the "mouse" (who can change direction and do anything else she likes to avoid capture, apart from coming out from under the parachute! the rest of the girls wiggle the parachute up and down to try to hide where the mouse is. Once the cat has caught the mouse, change over or select new players, the old cat and mouse taking the new players' places around the perimeter.

All Change : If the girls are young (Rainbows or young Brownies) check that they know what month their birthday is in before you start. All the girls are spaced evenly round the edge of the parachute grasping it firmly. Start them flapping it in unison - it will need to move slowly, hoist it firmly until it billows upwards and allow it to settle by itself; when it has descended, hoist it firmly upward again. Once they have the rhythm established, the game can begin : call out any month, and girls born in that month have to let go of the parachute and run under it as it is tossed upwards and out of the other side before it falls again (there is actually plenty of time.) Occasionally shout "Christmas!" or "holiday!" to see if anyone runs anyway! No winners or losers, just a bit of energetic fun.

Mushroom : get the parachute going as above, rising and falling rhythmically. When it is going up and down smoothly, on the call of "mushroom" everyone puts her arms up and behind her, still holding on to the canopy, and goes UNDER the canopy, sits on the floor and tucks the edge under her bottom. The canopy will look like a mushroom until it eventually settles gently down. Pointless, but they seem to love it!

Parachute Ball : All the girls are spaced evenly round the edge of the parachute grasping it firmly. Number them off alternately into two teams (colours, numbers, anything you like, as long as there are two teams alternating round the parachute.) Designate one team to attack and one to defend. Grip the parachute and hold it taut and level. Place a ball - one of those large sponge ones is ideal, especially for younger girls - on the canopy and blow a whistle to start the game. The object is for the attacking team to get the ball through the hole in the centre of the 'chute and the defenders to keep it out, both by raising and lowering the edges of the parachute (this takes co-operation and coordination.) Keep score and set a time limit, then change the teams over so they both get a turn to attack and defend.

Parachute Ball #2 : Need a large sponge ball or a lightweight football. Everyone stands round the edge and the idea is to set up a wave in the fabric to make the ball do circuits around the edge of the fabric. Requires a fair amount of co-operation and concentration, seen it work well with YL/SS and the Guides enjoyed it but weren't very good at it!

Parachute Ball #3 : Get several sponge balls, preferably in different colours, or 2 or 3 footballs. Split the people round the edge of the parachute into teams equal to the number of balls, or give each team more than one of the small ones. The idea is to get your ball off the parachute on one of the other sides and stop any of the other teams getting their balls off your side! Chaos ensues, and it's good to have some ball fetchers too!

Sharks : All sit evenly spaced around the edge of the parachute, with legs out in front (under the 'chute), wiggling the chute up and down to produce "ripples" in the "sea". Choose a girl to be the shark. She crawls underneath and pulls random a random person under (the person attacked should make appropriate noises!). She then takes the "victim"'s place, and the "victim" is the new shark. Utterly pointless but they like it because it gives them an excuse to scream! (not that they need an excuse...)



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