Early Childhood Games that are about fun & moving & learning & co-operating.     

Play is not limited to one specific activity. It can have the presence of joy or intense interest and yet have no real purpose. Play gives children a sense of mastery over their skills and their environment, allowing repetition of actions and learning of new skills. The importance of play has been well and truly researched by Piaget and ...

Here we are focusing on specific games that have some structure and are geared for groups of early childhood aged children.  Scroll down for active games besides parachute.


colorful parachute for games

Slow and fast

Slow - lift the parachute up and down together slowly.

Fast - shake the parachute quickly


Needs music with stops in it - shake chute and freeze when music stops. Vary by having a child or teacher bang a drum for "music".

ball games

 High ball

All hold the parachute with one hand so that it is stretched tightly.

Each child given a ball to hold

Throw the balls onto the parachute when someone yells GO!

Try to make the balls go high into the air without allowing them to fall off the parachute.





SIMON SAYS The good thing about this game is it can be done anytime anywhere, inside or outside, standing up or sitting down. Say “Simon says - do this” and do an action that your child can copy e.g. shake hands, tap head, spin around, clap hands, touch the floor, bob up and down. EXTENSION IDEAS: When they understand the game give only verbal clues - “Simon says - jump up & down” Explain they must only do the action if Simon says. Let them have a turn being Simon. With older children extend the list of commands even further e.g. "clap twice, touch your knees and turn around.”
parachute games
Photo by anjemi

PARACHUTE GAMES develop gross motor skills, coordination, moving and thinking and muscle development. Social skills are also enhanced with teamwork and cooperation.

parachute game siting down

Row your boat - sitting on ground holding chute, pull tight back and forth like rowing a boat singing the song.




Children move around the room, without bumping into each other, on a given signal.  When the sound stops they freeze.

EXTENSION: All bees make a buzzing noise as they move and become silent when stopped.

EXTENSION: Instead of freezing,  come back to mat, or other designated area, when sound stops.

EXTENSION: Say 'Here is the beehive, where are the bees? Hidden away where nobody sees.' Children curl up on floor.

'Here they come buzzing out of their hive, 1,2,3,4,5...BUZZZZZZ'

Children buzz around the room.

Encourages listening skills, movement, language and spatial awareness.


GO FISH  - Helps listening, observation, spatial awareness and locomotor skills. 

Group of 6 or more children.

To begin with someone who knows the game should be the first leader fish. 

Rule: Try not to bump into anyone

Begin by saying "Go Fish" and walking forward, all the children should follow.

Turn and walk in a different direction or backwards. Everyone is to follow as quickly as possible

Give each child a turn to be the leader fish, saying "Go fish" when they start.

EXTENSION: move faster if the children are capable, add arm movements or spinning or jogging.

EXTENSION: Read a fish book like Rainbow Fish by or Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss

EXTENSION: draw or decorate lots of fish and glue them in a school on blue paper (to represent water)- this could be a group activity with one large piece of paper. 


Throw beanbags on the chute. Children shake to make them jump like popcorn. Vary by using white cotton-balls instead of beanbags

Beach ball
Put a beach ball on the parachute, all hold chute and try and bounceit and keep it on.


Songs for parachute games:

Jelly on a Plate

Der Glumph - throw light toy frogs on top

The Wheels on the Bus

Ring a Rosie -

Ring a ring a rosie
A pocket full of posies
A tishoo, a tishoo
We all fall down!

Cows are in the meadow
Eating buttercups
A tishoo, a tishoo
We all jump up!

Fishes in the water, fishes in the sea, they all jump up with a 1...2...3...

Under the water, under the sea, catching fishes for my tea. 1...2...3... Some children are under chute while others are holding and "catching" them with the chute.

Here we go round the parachute - Turn so that everyone holds the chute with only one hand and you all walk around holding the chute and sing to tune of Mulberry Bush." This is the way it goes up and down; This is the way we shake, shake, shake; move in and out... 

IMAGINE AND MOVE Encourage the children to imagine they're tiny seeds in the ground that are going to grow after the rain comes. The itsy bitsy seed lies deep within the ground. First comes the rain… it is falling down. Then out comes the sun and dries up all the rain, And the itsy bitsy seed can start to grow again. OTHER IDEAS: Read books about nature e.g. The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert Grow a plant from a seed. Take a nature walk looking at plants.

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