Using a parachute can bring limitless joy to a small child. The bright colours and the sheer size of the parachute can be enough to inspire a child to join in with the group activity, and above all, have fun. Placing a ball on the parachute that the children can bounce offers great enjoyment and children will enjoy working as a team in order to throw and catch the ball, or maintain it from rolling off the parachute, promoting excellent teamwork skills.
- Muscle development
While many gross motor activities for young children develop muscles in the lower body, the rhythm of throwing a parachute up into the air develops muscles in a child's upper torso, strengthening primarily their shoulders, arms and hand muscles. When children work together to make the parachute billow, they also refine perceptual motor skills.
- Encourages rhythm
Most young children enjoy rhythmical and musical activities. The parachute can be used in conjunction with music to encourage the development of rhythm, while the tossing of a ball on the parachute also promotes good rhythm. Children will have to work together to shake the parachute methodically in order to keep the ball from falling off, and if this activity can be set to music, the parachute can become a source of rhythmical learning at the same time.
- Promotes non-competitive play
Parachutes encourage cooperative, non-competitive play and reinforce turn-taking and sharing. Children will be encouraged to 'find their place' around the parachute which also encourages spacial awareness. Children become aware of how far away they need to be from their neighbour in order to operate the parachute successfully. If the parachute is restricted to a certain number of people, children will also learn about turn taking and sharing.
- Enhances language development
The use of a parachute can help with a child's language development. Language activities such as poems or songs can be incorporated into the activity allowing children the opportunity to develop speech and language skills as well as listening skills. Using a parachute will also require children to follow basic instructions. They will be expected to take direction from the teacher then carry out the exercise correctly using the parachute, refining their perceptual skills as well as further promoting social interaction.