Creative Kids: Make Your Own Parachute

Posted by the Mom (aka Kelly Biedny)

make your own parachute

Parachutes can be hours of fun for kids. It amazes me how many times they will pick them up, throw them in the air and watch them fall.  Just in perfecting this one both Alex and Soph where out there picking it up, folding, throwing aaanndddd…..trying again.  We have a video of some of the test launches and the successful launch (see below) Oh, and the parachute you see in the pics is NOT the one that will be in the video…these super sized ones, well you need a lot more height for them. We even tried standing on our roof and throwing it from there, but couldn’t get it just perfect.  Soooo, unless you life on a 4th floor or higher, we recommend using a smaller garbage bag when you make yours!

make your own parachuteHere’s what you’ll need:
-1 garbage bag (kitchen size or smaller is recommended)
-Duct tape
-String
-A scissors
-A hole punch (or something that can make holes)
– Something that can be tied on as a weight, we used a little decorative pail we had)

Here’s the Step-by-Step:

2kids-Parachute9Step 1 – Fold Your Bag:
Lay your garbage bag out on the flour and then fold the corners in (see pic to left). You should have a octagon like shape once you’re finished folding.

2kids-Parachute3Step 2 – Duct Tape:
Take your duct tape and tape down each of your folds along the edge. Also tape all along the outer edge of the parachute to add strength.  You’ll want to tape the middle of the parachute as well (see pic to right).

2kids-Parachute8Step 3 – Punch Holes:
Punch 8 holes around the edge of your parachute.  Alex and I have a dispute about where the best place to put your holes is.  He put his in the middle of each of the 8 flat edges.  I put mine in the each of the 8 corners–you can decide where to put yours 😀

2kids-Parachute7Step 4 – Cut and Attach String:
First you’ll want to cut your string to length.  We cute ours so that they are about the width of the parachute at its widest section.  Then tie one string into each hole, securely.

2kids-Parachute10Step 5 – Attach Weight:
For this step your going to take all the strings together, and then tie them about 4 or so inches from the end so they are all about the same length from the parachute to the knot.  You will tie the loose string to your weight.  We used a little decorative pail we had in our craft stuff.  You don’t want something too heaving, or it will adversely affect your parachutes flight.  You can experiment with various weights, but keep it on the lighter side at first.  If your weight doesn’t have a nice handle like ours did, make one out of the duct tape and attach it to the weight that way…be creative!

2kids-Parachute12Step 6 – Fold and Fly:
This is the fun part. First you’ll want to fold your parachute top in half, the in half again. Do your best to keep the strings from tangling.  The pick it up at the middle. To ‘fly’ it, we recommend climbing on a higher location–but be careful!–like a picnic table to or even large tree or a tall deck.  Again, be careful. You’ll see in the video when I get it up, Alex stood on the railing of our deck…I was nervous, but he told me I was being over protective.

Anyway, you may not get a perfect unfurling parachute that floats down, it can take a few tries. You may even have to try folding it a different way–it took us each a bunch of tries and our very own technique to get it to work. BUT, that’s the ‘hours of fun’ part I was talking about!

Let us know how your parachute turns out…we’d love to see video of it, too, so visit us at Facebook or Google + and share your videos. Oh, and leave a comment below, too, so others know where to see it 😀

Here’s the Launch Attempts Video for your view pleasure:

 

Happy Parachuting Everyone!
Kelly, Alex and Sophia

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