Friday, May 13, 2011

Making Toy Parachutes: Creative Thinking Project

I was driving my 2 boys home yesterday and we started talking about parachutes, both literal and metaphorical.

- asking ourselves what kind of parachute would a tortoise (uugh! spellcheck in sketchbooks) have and why? octopus...a get the idea.!

The kids we coming up with such great ideas we had to try some of them out.

Of course we had to make it into an art project!


- a "jumper", who is going to use this parachute? We went through our collection of little plastic animals but really your "jumper" could be almost anything with some weight to it, you could also get really creative and make one
- some light weight fabric, tissue paper,used dryer sheet, plastic bag or in our case Tyvek to make your parachute
- paint, markers, fabric scraps for gluing on
- string
- hole punch
- something round to trace around
- scissors

When you find your parachute material trace out a big circle and cut it out.

I folded the circle to find the middle and then cut out a wedge.  This is to make it more "cone" shaped.

When it comes time to string I'll overlap these edges to get my cone shape.

You can experiment will all types of parachute shapes.

Draw out your design.  Jeff is making a parachute for a lost penguin so his design includes everything a homesick penguin might be thinking about.

Because we used Tyvek we are painting our parachutes. 

We added some details with sharpies.

I then punched  holes for the strings.  I overlapped the two edges where I cut out the wedge so when I tied it they were together.

I planned on only tying 4 far as I'm concerned the fewer strings the fewer tangles.

Try to get all your strings even by letting the parachute hang and then tie them into a knot together.

Take these strings and tie onto your parachute jumper.

Now the fun part.......the boys sent them flying off from upstairs.

The dinosaur is trying to save himself from extinction ("when in danger of asteroid strike please pull cord").  Like I said the boys got pretty creative devising their chutes!

They were especially fun outside where they could catch the wind and the boys could come up with all kinds of scenarios....much more interesting than just the classic toy "parachute".

So if your kids are bored this weekend why not try creating your own parachutes...lots of possibilities.....

- space alien landing
- elephant escaping the circus (now that's a big parachute!)

Two housekeeping items:  If you haven't noticed I have a custom domain now, unfortunately when I made the switch I lost my blog roll, I'm trying to re add all my links but if I forgot you and you were on my list let me know.
- I signed up for the 2012 Sketchbook project and if you are interested you should too and become part of a co-operative art project that is touring all over the world.  $25 to sign up so a little pricey if you are thinking of a school project but there are 36 pages so I could see it as joint classroom project...think about it.

see you soon.


  1. This is a great idea. Beautiful drawings.

  2. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [14 May 02:15am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  3. I look forward to your posts and get ideas for VBS crafts. Also my grandson. I got this post so I hope you don't loose me. thanks for all your sharing.