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Adventures in early literacy

Toddler Storytime: Parachute

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After scouring the internets for ideas for using the parachute in storytime, I finally realized youtube would really be the best place (duh!). There are tons of great ideas for songs and rhymes to use with the chute for babies and toddlers. The best part is seeing how the kids react to the songs, etc. to get a better idea of which activities will work for my space and group. Plus, seeing the words to a rhyme or song are one thing, but hearing them is totally different! I’ll include the words to the songs we did here, but go to youtube if you want to see these things in action. Or just go to see adorable babies playing on a parachute with their adults. Super cute!

Since I wanted to spend lots of time with the parachute (had an inkling it would be popular) I only planned to share 2 books and one rhyme in between the books.

This is how it looked:

Hello Bubble song

Clap Everybody and Say Hello (Kathy Reid-Naiman)

Book: Dinosaur Dig by Penny Dale

Action Rhyme: Jump Like a Frog

Book: Big Bug, Little Bug by Paul Stickland

Now I talked to the parents about what was going to happen: Now we’re going to do some parachute activities. Would you all please scoot around to make a circle and when I throw the chute out in the middle, everyone grab a handle. If the kids want to hold on to the chute with, that is fine, or they can crawl under the chute for our first song.

Once all sides of the chute were being held on to by the grownups we stood up and started the games. Here’s our parachute set list:

Lift the chute up high

Pull the chute down low

Shake the chute fast

Shake the chute slow

Repeat until everyone is comfortable with the chute (just twice for us).

If You’re Happy and You Know It (a great suggestion from Anne)…lift it high…shake it fast…shake it slow…pull it low…anything else we could think of.

All Around the Cobbler’s Bench

The monkey chased the weasel

Monkey thought ’twas all in fun

POP goes the weasel

(For this song I had the parents round up their kids and place them on the chute if the child wanted to, of course. While the kids were in the chute grownups stood up with the chute in their hands, making tight walls with the parachute between adult and child. This is so when we move the chute the kids will land on a soft parachute wall instead of a hard floor. Then we walked slowly in a circle while singing the song. Some of the toddlers who didn’t want a ride changed their minds so we did it a couple of times letting kids on and off in between. )

Ten Little Bubbles

One little, two little, three little bubbles

Four little, five little, six little bubbles

Seven little, eight little, nine little bubbles

Ten little bubbles go POP POP POP (shake the chute with the kids on it)

Pop, pop, pop, let’s pop those bubbles (slap hand on ground on chute every time you say POP)

Pop, pop, pop, let’s pop those bubbles

Pop, pop, pop let’s pop those bubbles at the library!

(We sang this once so the parents could learn the song, then I blew some bubbles while parents carried the tune. Then we sang it again, because they liked it so much! Also, found this in a gymboree video so they say “at Gymboree” at the end.)

We got the kids off the chute, counted to 3 and let the chute fly (I found another rhyme for this that I’ll use next time!) to me so I could put it away.

Then we said goodbye with more bubbles and they got to go fingerpaint. It was an awesome storytime!

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Author: Kendra

Children's Librarian in the Northwest. Lover of toddlers, twitter, and TV (T's, too, apparently!).

15 thoughts on “Toddler Storytime: Parachute

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  6. Thank you Kendra, you’re the greatest ever!

  7. Loved it

  8. Thanks for all of your grand ideas! I took your recent webinar and was just so inspired that I just bought a parachute – so excited to use your awesome ideas for my story times of all ages!

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  11. This is just wonderful. Can you please explain how the “All around the cobbler’s bench” song works with the parachute in another way??? I can’t quite grasp how this looks in action.

    • I’m sure this is way too late-I’m so soorry!! But, here is an attempt at another explanation. With the parachute on the ground, ask parents to set their babies on it (babies must be able to sit on their own), or let toddlers walk on the chute. Once those who want to participate are on the chute, ask parents to grab the edges of the chute. They will pull up the edges so everyone is holding the chute at about waist height. They need to hold it so the space between the parachute handle or edge and where a child is sitting is taut. This creates a soft circular barrier so when the chute moves, if kids fall, they will hit the soft side of the chute. Then, while singing the song, all the grown ups walk in a circle, still holding the chute. This will spin the kids in the middle of the chute very slowly like a merry-go-round. If at any point a child gets upset, just stop and let them off the ride. Does that help?

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