Do you need an easy craft for a scout group, a science lesson on air resistance, or merely to keep some active children occupied? This simple craft uses items you probably have or can recycle from other items around the house. After creating it, the craft becomes a toy to use again and again. Older children might easily learn, after one creation, how to make it themselves and repeatedly enjoy the art, science and fun of this parachute craft. Create them easily so that they might be used both as a party activity and favour all in one.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Paper at least 19 inches square
- Pen or pencil
- Nylon or thin cotton material at least 19 inches square
- Fabric markers
- 6 -- 25 inch pieces of string
- Small slightly weighted item such as a medium sized toy soldier or matchbox army tank
Draw a hexagon 18 inches in diameter on the paper using the ruler and pencil to create a pattern. Trace the hexagon onto the nylon or cotton. Cut the hexagon out carefully.
Decorate the hexagonal parachute with fabric markers. Use bright colours and geometric designs as seen on real parachutes. Be sure that the fabric marker dries before going on to the next step. Most fabric markers dry within minutes.
In each of the corners of the hexagon, cut tiny holes or slits with the scissors large enough to push the string through. Push one end of a length of the string through each hole just far enough to secure it to the parachute with a knot. Leave the rest of the piece of string hanging down from the parachute.
Attach weighted item by first gathering the strings together in a bundle on the underside of the parachute. Tie all the strings together in a knot about 3 inches from the ends of the string. Use the remaining 3 inches of strings below the knot to tie to the small weighted toy soldier or Army tank attaching it to the parachute.
Place hexagon on a flat surface with the top facing up. Grab the parachute in the middle of the material and lift, while allowing the rest of the parachute and the attached item to hang down. Use your fingers to run down the parachute material, gathering it into a bundle. Fold the bundled parachute in half twice so that it forms a small packet with the strings and weighted item hanging down.
Drop the parachute from an elevated position. Alternatively, if no elevated position is available, toss the parachute high into the air. With either method, you will notice the parachute open, spin, and glide slowly to the ground,imitating a real parachute.
Tips and warnings
- If you only have small plastic toy soldiers, attach a small rock to their back with hot glue so that it resembles a backpack. This adds enough weight to ensure the descent.
- Be sure to spread children out, particularly on a windy day, when dropping or tossing parachutes so that they do not collide and become tangled.