You might be asking “Why would seniors want to play with a parachute? Parachute games are for children, right?”
Yes, parachute games are enjoyed by younger children…but the same physical and cognitive benefits that apply to children also apply to seniors!
Parachute play strengthens primarily shoulder, arm, and hand muscles. It also refines perceptual motor skills and helps develop a sense of rhythm.
It’s important for seniors to stay both mentally and physically active in their twilight years, which is why we created this post on the best parachute games for seniors!
What You'll Learn...
7 Best Parachute Games for Seniors
“Waves” is the most rudimentary way to start these fun activities. It serves as an excellent warm-up before the group ventures into something more advanced.
The best part about this activity? It can be played with six or more members, which allows even bigger groups to enjoy it.
A standard parachute has handles at the end of each color strip held by a player. The idea is to make waves by all the team players simultaneously moving their arms in an up and down motion.
Depending on the physical capabilities of the seniors and the heights to which they can raise their hands and lower them down, the waves created can be small, medium, or large.
“Mushroom” is one of the most beloved parachute games for seniors, by them as well as young kids. The idea is to use a parachute to make a mushroom-like shape and cocoon oneself within it. The process to do so is quite simple.
All that is required is for the players to raise their hands as high as possible to create a vacuum under the parachute.
Once a gazebo is formed over everyone’s heads, players must take three steps or more in and let the parachute sink with its handle.
It effectively traps them in and sometimes incites a few laughs.
3) Fruit Salad
“Fruit Salad” is a great idea for an opening game and is often used as a social icebreaker before an activity session begins.
In this game, depending on the number of players, everyone is assigned a fruit name.
The fruit names are given in a manner that compartmentalizes a large group into smaller groups, and the players of each group are dispersed randomly at the circumference.
Players make waves, and an external person announces the fruit name of each group at random. The group members of that team swap places before the parachute free-falls onto the players.
If the team members fail to swap places before time, they are asked random questions about themselves.
Or they have to recite an experience they have had which helps other participants learn more about each other and introduces the concept of sharing fun and personal anecdotes.
The game “Popcorn” mimics how popcorn is made in a microwave. If you can picture corn kernels being tossed inside a microwave under high heat, you can translate that imagery to how the game is played.
Popular ways to play this game are with balloons or balls, but balloons are the safer option out of the two as it causes no injuries.
The parachute is treated as a launchpad and using waves, and the balloons are kept suspended in the air so that they never contact the surface of the parachute.
This game runs its course till however long the balloons can be in the air.
Most of us are familiar with the phenomenon of a tornado. This game seeks inspiration from that natural cataclysm and uses a ball to replicate the motion of a tornado.
In “Tornado”, a ball is placed on the parachute, and players move the ball that replicates the orbit in either clockwise or counter-clockwise motion.
The ball gains momentum quickly, so this becomes a fast-paced game that keeps the players on their toes.
“Airplane” is an excellent activity for full-body movement and to test and maintain balance.
First, a group of players stand sideways and grab the handles at the end of the parachute with one hand, with the other hand straight out in a way that is perpendicular to their bodies.
Then, all that is left is for the players to walk in a circular motion. The pace can be decided according to the group.
7) Merry Go Round
This is the most advanced game on the list. This game is a great way to incorporate music for extra fun.
In “Merry-Go-Round”, a few elements from some of the games mentioned above are added. Players usually play this game by pacing themselves to the beats of nursery rhymes.
Order of actions is decided beforehand (e.g., waves followed by the airplane, which is suffixed by mushroom, etc.).
An external monitor is given the responsibility to manage the music controls by playing and pausing the music.
Each time the music is paused, it acts as an indicator for the following action to be carried out once the music plays again, making the game garner its player’s attention and keeps them hooked throughout.
Wrapping it Up
Seniors require a lot more than just their daily sleep, medication, and a good diet. They also need an activity sphere in their lives that distracts them from a mundane routine.
Having elders participate in these activities is an excellent opportunity for them to isolate feelings of redundancy, socialize with their peers, and create a sense of belonging within a group over shared interests.
The importance of physical exercise is not lost on seniors, and playing fun games is a great way for them to engage in social activities that are a great motivator for them to maintain their mental and physical health for effective functioning in the long run.
So, if you have someone at home who is a senior or are a senior reading this yourself looking to indulge in having a joyous time, get the party going with these amusing parachute games for seniors!