Use materials you have on hand to make an easy parachute craft for hours of entertainment. Creating the parachute is only half the fun. Experiment with different weights, heights and sizes of parachutes for a great science lesson as well.
This activity should be supervised and children should be instructed that they should only do this with small toys and when an adult is present.
Time: 15 minutes
Age: Under 5's, 5-10's
Light material, plastic or napkin.
Felt pens or fabric pens
Small toy or action figure.
Cut a piece of square material about the size of a napkin.
Cut the corners of the square to create an octagon shape.
Cut small holes in each corner of the octagon. This is where the strings will be attached.
Decorate your parachute material. We used regular felt pens but if you have fabric pens on hand, use these for a more permanent and brighter decoration.
Cut eight pieces of string the same length (about 20 cm for a napkin sized parachute). Attach these to the corners of the decorated parachute.
Select your parachutist. For a napkin sized parachute, a small action figure works well.
The small doll actually worked better than the Star Wars figure as her large head forced her into a horizontal position allowing the parachute to open more quickly.
Fold your parachute in half. Gather four strings from one side and knot together. Repeat for the other side. Hook the knots under the arms of your figure. Tie an additional string around the middle of the figure through the knots to act as as harness.
Find an area to test your parachutes and 1, 2, 3, drop.
How does it work? The parachute is made of a light material but has a large surface area. When the object under it pulls down the strings, this pulls the material of the parachute open and "traps" air under the open chute. This slows down the descent of the weight on the string.
Additional activities: Cut a small hole in the top of the parachute. The hole allows for a controlled release of the air from under the parachute and results in a straighter path to the ground.