Parachute Play with Babies

Icon-ParachutePlay Baby Storytime was a little different this week. This summer, we have typically had two to three babies with their moms (and dads). Since it is the summer I’m trying different things with my programs. (Summer in my mind means relaxed and fun…although as I reminded my storytime parents, storytime is always relaxed and fun!) So this week we did a parachute storytime. No stories (although I did have one as a back-up in case this didn’t work). Just nursery rhymes and songs.

gr-25972To prepare, I consulted the internet and the book Parachute Play by Liz and Dick Wilmes. So as not to confuse the babies too much, we began with our usual opening song, “Where is Baby?” sung to the tune of Frere Jacques. This is the rest of the storytime (we did repeat each rhyme or song at least two or three times unless noted):

We do a song every week called “The Scarf is on My Head” with lightweight shear colorful scarves. They love this song, so I adapted it for the parachute. I had to change a couple of the actions, but we did this song several times.  

Action Rhyme: The ‘Chute is on My Head! (to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell”)
The ‘chute is on my head, the ‘chute is on my head!
Hi ho the dairy-o, the ‘chute is on my head!
The ‘chute goes up and down, the ‘chute goes up and down!
Hi ho the dairy-o, the ‘chute goes up and down!
The ‘chute goes fast and slow, the ‘chute goes fast and slow!
Hi ho the dairy-o, the ‘chute goes fast and slow!
The ‘chute is on my head, the ‘chute is on my head!
Hi ho the dairy-o, the ‘chute is on my head!

This next song worked really well because we managed to match the lyrics with the action of moving the parachute. 

Action Rhyme: Itsy-Bitsy Spider

This one is a real arm-workout. 

Action Rhyme: If You’re Happy and You Know It
If you’re happy and you know it, lift it high!
If you’re happy and you know it, shake it fast!
If you’re happy and you know it, shake it slow!
If you’re happy and you know it, shake it low!

I didn’t actually read this book during the storytime only because I didn’t find it was necessary. It was one of the most appropriate stories I could find as far as action books. If you have done a storytime with a parachute before, please comment with appropriate books you have used. 

Story: Jump! by Scott M. Fischer

Action Rhyme: Row, Row, Row Your Boat
(sit on the floor, hold the parachute tight and row back and forth)

Action Rhyme: Hickory Dickory Dock

For the next song, I couldn’t find the plastic balls we have (the kind you would find in a ball bin at an arcade in the 80’s or 90’s), but we have soft, fabric blocks, so I placed about ten or twelve of them in the center of the parachute. We waved the parachute slowly as we chanted the rhyme, and then when we got to the end of the song, we lifted it high in the air to make the blocks bounce high in the air. The babies loved watching the blocks fly and land on the floor. We must have done this one at least six times. 

Action Rhyme: Popcorn!
Put the oil in the pot and make it real hot.
Put the popcorn in and begin to grin.
Sizzle, sizzle, sizzle, sizzle, POP!

If there were any blocks remaining on the parachute, I just left them there for the next song. 

Action Rhyme: Toast in the Toaster
I’m toast in the toaster
I’m getting very hot
Tick tock, Tick tock,
Up I pop!

This song is our closing song every week. 

Closing Song: Bounce You Here
I bounce you here, I bounce you there.
I bounce you, bounce you everywhere!
I hug you here, I hug you there.
I hug you, hug you everywhere!
I tickle you here, I tickle you there,
I tickle you, tickle you everywhere!

This was one of my favorite storytimes I have done, but I will say that it could have been a little longer. When I do it again, I will add in a few more rhymes. Repetition was the key literacy skill this week, and we definitely repeated the rhymes many, many, many times, but I would like to add more variety next time.

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15 thoughts on “Parachute Play with Babies

  1. What size is the parachute that you used? I am also interested in the age (obviously they are babies) group that participated. I also do infant storytimes at my library and know from experience that there’s a huge developmental difference between a 3 month old and a nine month old. Some of my participants are a few weeks old. I haven’t used the parachute with infants. Thanks for sharing.

    • I’m not sure how big it is, but I’m guessing 6′ round. I would recommend something smaller although it depends on how many people come to your storytime. I have babies of all ages (but this day they were able to sit up on their own) coming but I treated this one as a true lapsit. The babies sat on their mom’s lap and mom held the parachute. It could work for any age I think depending on the songs you choose. The babies were intrigued most by the air movement and colors of the parachute.

  2. I love your ideas from tots to teens! I’ve just reentered the library world and am looking forward to starting a new infant/toddler story time @ my library. You have such fresh ideas! What was your source for the parachute? Do you all think a plastic tablecloth would work (with a caution to parents about NOT letting babies/toddlers around plastic at home)?

    • I don’t have a source for the parachute, but I’m sure Lakeshore has one or you can get one through Amazon. I wouldn’t use a plastic tablecloth. If children start playing with something like that they may think its always ok, regardless of how the parents teach their children at home.

      • Thanks for your reply. You may be right about the plastic cloth, though I’ve taken a class with a children’s activity professional who suggested using a plastic tarp or cloth, if a classroom parachute was unavailable. I do know the weight of the parachute helps build muscles and coordination. My library has no funds for add’l equipment right now, so I’m going to have to improvise on everything. Perhaps I’ll find a round tablecloth @ Goodwill or America’s Thrift Store…I’m thinking a cloth, instead of a parachute (since I can’t afford one) and colorful easily “found” objects, such as those scrunchy things people use in the bath and colorful baby toys. Thanks again for the idea jump start!

    • I basically just followed the rhythm of the rhyme.

      The itsy-bitsy spider went up the water spout — go up slowly with parachute
      Down came the rain and washed the spider out — go down quickly
      Out came the sun — go up slowly
      And dried up all the rain — go down
      And the itsy-bitsy spider went up the spout again — go up with the parachute

      Hope that helps.

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