Play this fun parachute game with your elementary school gym class: Sharks and Lifeguards
Sharks and Lifeguards is a classic parachute game. I have been hesitant to play it in the past due to the potential roughness of the game. I decided to give it a try this year with some added caution. It was very successful and a favorite for my students.
The rules for parachute Sharks and Lifeguards
- Students sit in a circle around the parachute with their legs straight out in front of them. Their legs are underneath the parachute.
- A few students (I started with 3) are “sharks” and swim underneath the parachute.
- The sharks try and pull beach dwellers under the chute by grabbing their legs.
- A few students (equal in number to starting sharks) are “lifeguards”.
- The lifeguards circle the parachute on foot and rescue those being pulled under.
I instructed my students that if they felt themselves being pulled under, they must let go of the parachute and raise both hands and call to a lifeguard for help. They cannot kick at the shark or hold on to anything, but they can try to scoot away and get extra help from the lifeguards.
- The lifeguards help by grabbing the victim’s arms and pulling.
- Once a player is pulled under, they become a shark.
- If they are saved, they stay in position with legs under the chute.
- As the game goes on more and more players become sharks.
- When 90% of the group is under the chute, I blow my whistle for everyone to come out and we start a new round.
- Play outside on the grass versus inside on a hard gym floor
- Instruct sharks that they may initially only grab one leg — this way the person being pulled will not get yanked too hard and bump their head on the ground
- Have those sitting around the parachute wave it up and down slightly to keep air moving underneath — it gets hot under there!
I played the game with 2nd thru 5th grade and they all had a blast!
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