Best Kids' Parachutes

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

30 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
212 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best kids’ parachutes

Last Updated October 2019

Parachutes are a perfect pick-me-up, and not just for skydivers. Few children can resist the bright colors and inviting flutter of a kids’ parachute. Whether you’re stuck indoors during bad weather or enjoying the perfect day at the park, a play parachute can provide kids of all ages with hours of active fun.

If a quality parachute can make a child’s day, one that’s poorly made could potentially ruin it. A ripped parachute can bring the fun to a screeching halt. Kids parachutes must be thin, but they also must be able to withstand use and abuse from enthusiastic children.

Playing with a parachute that’s the wrong size can create as much chaos as one that’s poorly made. However, there are certain features that can help you adapt a play parachute to almost any group. Keep reading to learn more about your options. When you’re done, check our recommendations for the best kids’ parachutes on the market.

Most preschools use parachutes measuring about 24 feet across.

Key considerations

Size

 

Size is probably the biggest factor to consider when buying a parachute. Parachutes generally range from 6 feet to 30 feet in diameter. A parachute that’s too small is no fun, but one that’s too large is hard to control, especially for younger children.

For developmental reasons, kids under age eight usually do better with smaller parachutes. If you’re trying to entertain a large number of preschoolers, consider buying multiple parachutes to keep the size manageable. Kids age eight and up, however, can manage with bigger parachutes.  

Ordering a parachute that’s at least a foot across per person is a good rule of thumb. For example, if you’ll usually have 12 people using a parachute, consider getting one that’s at least 12 feet across. This ensures that each child will have room to move their arms freely — as many parachute games require — without hitting their neighbor. 

Besides the number of kids, it’s important to think about the space where you’ll use the parachute. That space needs to be several feet larger than the parachute itself so children are free to move without hitting a wall. It’s hard to imagine a room in a residential space, outside of a basement, large enough to accommodate a parachute much larger than 12 feet wide. If you plan to use your parachute outside or in a gymnasium, though, the sky’s the limit.

Materials

Most kids’ parachutes are made from nylon or polyester. Both of these synthetic materials are good choices, but they offer different advantages. 

Nylon is a stronger material than polyester, so it’s a good choice for users of all ages. It has some limitations that must be considered before using it outside. Nylon is more easily damaged by ultraviolet rays than polyester. It’s also more absorbent than polyester, so if it gets wet, it will take longer to dry.

Polyester is lightweight but not as strong as nylon, so it’s a better choice for use with young children. Its texture isn’t as soft as nylon. It does, however, resist UV rays much better than nylon. It dries quickly when wet, so keep this in mind if you plan to use a parachute outside or in an area where it’s likely to get wet.

Both materials can be strengthened with ripstop construction. Ripstop materials are woven to reinforce the fabric’s strength to resist ripping and tearing. Additionally, polyester can be manufactured in a way that imitates silk taffeta, the material from which real parachutes were originally made. This lustrous material is called polyester taffeta, and it holds its shape without stretching or sagging.

Weight

Parachutes are meant to be floaty and ethereal, but you don’t want a breeze to blow them away. If your kids’ parachute is mainly for indoor use, it’s fine to shop for featherweight items. If you plan to use it outside, though, consider something that’s a little heavier. That way, a gust of wind won't carry your kids’ parachute away — and knock over smaller children who are holding onto it.

EXPERT TIP

Parachute games are a great equalizer between children with differing athletic abilities.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Handles

Holding onto slippery synthetic fabric can be challenging for young children. Many parachute activities include lifting and lowering the parachute, and losing your grip can bring the game to a halt. Handles can help younger children hold the parachute and keep the fun going. Most high-quality parachutes include a handle per foot of diameter, although the total may vary. Plan for one handle per child under age eight, with space in between for adults or older kids, if necessary.

Reinforcements

Parachute play is often intentionally rough. Many games involve lifting, flapping, yanking, and lowering. At times, the parachute may be used to toss balls or bean bags. Reinforced stitching can help your kids’ parachute stand up to the wear-and-tear that comes with the territory. Look for parachutes with reinforced stitching between segments as well as around the edges and handles.

Carrying bag

If parents ranked the easiest items to carry to the park, a 20-foot parachute made of slippery fabric would land near the bottom. That’s why many companies include a carrying bag you can use to transport your parachute to the place where you’ll use it. Look for bags with large handles that can be looped over an arm so you can save your hands and muscles for heavier items.

Colors

Most parachutes are made in primary colors to help with early childhood development games. Some, however, include shades of green, teal, pink, or purple. Stick with primary colors if you’re buying a parachute for therapeutic or developmental reasons. If your purchase is strictly for fun, consider branching out for an unusual look your child will enjoy.

Accessories

Cornhole bags: SC Cornhole Games Weather-Resistant Cornhole Bags
Parachutes take bean bag tossing to a whole new level, literally! Some parachute games use bean bags to foster teamwork, hand-eye coordination, and upper body strength. This set from SC Cornhole Games uses an artificial corn filling that won’t attract pests and dries well, in case the bags get thrown a little too well.

Soccer balls: Mikasa Serious Soccer Ball
Your youth soccer team can get a seriously fun upper body workout rolling the soccer ball around the parachute. They’ll build their cooperation skills in the process. And when they’re done, they can hit the field. Available in a variety of sizes, this winner from Mikasa is made from a soft synthetic material that makes it a perfect choice for both activities.

Play tunnels: Playz 5-piece Kids’ Playhouse
If your child likes parachute games, he’ll love a play tunnel. This impressive set includes two tunnels, a pair of enclosed play tents, and a ball pit to boot. It makes even the rainiest day completely boredom-proof. 

EXPERT TIP

Keep your kids from ransacking the linen closet; parachutes can also be used to make indoor play forts.


Staff  | BestReviews

Kids’ parachute prices

Pricing for kids’ parachutes varies mostly depending upon size. Most quality parachutes on the market include an adequate number of handles for parachute play. Prices are equivalent for both nylon and polyester options.

Inexpensive: You can find small play parachutes measuring six feet in diameter for under $15. Classic 12-foot kids parachutes used by many preschool and daycare facilities cost $20 to $25.

Mid-range: Parachute prices jump significantly in the next tier, with larger sizes intended primarily for gym classes or team sports. Parachutes measuring 20 feet cost around $75. Models in the 24- to 25-foot range are priced around $100.  

High-priced: Oversized 30-foot parachutes are the most expensive at a price of around $150. These parachutes can accommodate at least two dozen people and are best for special events or facilities where they’ll get a lot of use. 

EXPERT TIP

Tossing a beach or playground ball on a parachute can help teach the concept of taking turns.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Shopping for kids age eight or younger? Look for parachutes with handles. Handles make it easier for younger children to keep a grip when the parachute is in motion.
  • Toddlers can make do with one handle per person. Older children may want two handles per person. Teens can often maneuver a parachute without handles.
  • If you think bean bags will be too heavy for younger children to manage, try tossing in a handful of ping pong balls.
  • Standard parachute sizes include diameters of 6 feet, 12 feet, 20 feet, 24 feet, and 30 feet, although it’s possible to find other sizes.

Other products we considered

We loved the adorable, offbeat look of this 8-foot ladybug parachute from Pacific Play Tents. This polyester taffeta parachute swaps primary colors for cheery ladybugs on a sky blue background, alternating with red and black polka-dotted panels. Its 8-foot size splits the difference between 6-foot family-size parachutes and 12-foot models, which are best suited for preschool facilities.

This Whack a Mole parachute from Sonyabecca combines two childhood favorites in one versatile set. Six child-size holes mark the parachute’s colored panels, while a center hole allows space for the “whacker.” Inflatable sticks complete the set.

Parachute play can help develop many of the muscles your child will eventually use for writing.

FAQ

Q. At what age can kids start playing with a parachute?
A.
A child must be able to stand unassisted on their own two feet in order to safely play with a parachute. Every child develops differently, but most children master these skills by around age two. If you’re not sure, start off with games that include gentle, wide movements rather than rapid waving to make sure your child can maintain balance
 

Q. How large of a parachute do I need just to play at home with my kids?
A.
A six-foot parachute is ideal for use with a parent and a small number of preschoolers. Six feet should give each person plenty of room without elbowing a sibling or a wall. It’s tempting to buy a larger parachute with a longer shelf life, but the next standard size up is 12 feet, which may be too big for young preschoolers to physically manage.
 

Q. Why is a kid’s parachute good for a child?
A.
Parachute play can help your child build both fine and gross motor skills in their upper body. This includes motor skills and strength in the arms, shoulders, and hands. Besides stretching your child’s imagination, it can also assist in developing cooperation and team-building skills, since it takes a number of people to use. Lifting and lowering can foster rhythm and related sensory skills. It’s hard to list all the benefits this simple piece of equipment can provide.  

The team that worked on this review
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Karen
    Karen
    Writer
  • Kristin
    Kristin
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

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