The end of the school year means more sunshine and fun outdoors. Start the summer holidays with our bright and colorful parachute, and save 15%* when you order it this week with promo code PCHUTE2! The parachute comes in two different sizes—our 6-foot parachute fits up to 6 (pictured left) and our 12-foot parachute (pictured at the bottom) fits up to 8 children for play.
Parachute Play has something for every child. You can teach colors, peer play, and basic prepositions of “over” and “under”. Children love sweeping the parachute up in the air and watching it flutter down. Best of all, it’s just plain fun for all of us!
And if you’re feeling like you should be focusing on school readiness and not play, the Parachute can help there too! You can download a copy of our Modified Instructions for Parachute Play written by our BCBA Sam Blanco for a variety of games modified for learners of different levels. Below are also some of Sam’s tips on various skills that can be reinforced with the simple yet wondrous parachute:
- Manding (Requesting) – I frequently use a parachute to have my early learners mand for actions. For example, I’ll have the learner lie down on the parachute, then they have to mand for me to “pick up the handle,” “swing,” “ready, set, go,” or “stop.” I also use the parachute (or a blanket) to teach early learners with autism how to request a parent’s attention. I will have the parent hide behind the parachute, and when the child says “Mommy” or “Daddy” the parent will drop the parachute so he/she is immediately visible and give the child lots of attention in the form of tickles, kisses, verbal praise, etc.
- Comparisons/Adjectives – To help students understand the concept of big and little, I will have the children stand around the sides of the parachute holding onto it with their hands. I will place an object on the parachute, and we will bounce the parachute up and down to try to get the object to fall into the hole in the center of the parachute. Some objects will fall, but some will be too big to fall into the hole. I will ask the students why the object fell or did not fall.
- Sorting – I will place several colorful objects on the parachute. We will then bounce the parachute up and down playfully. After a 30 seconds to a minute, we will put the parachute back on the floor, and the student will have to move each object onto a panel of the parachute that matches in color.
- Identifying Body Parts – Because the parachute has a hole in the middle, I will sometimes use it for identifying body parts. The learner can lie down on the floor. Then I will put the parachute on top of them. I’ll pretend I’m looking for them (for example, “Where is Charlie?”) Then I’ll position the parachute so that one part (such as their hand or their nose) is clearly visible. I’ll lightly touch it and say “What is that?” and have the student label nose or hand or elbow, etc. Once the learner has an idea of the game, I may let them initiate it, or have them say “Find my nose” and I’ll place the parachute so their nose is visible.
- Song Fill-ins – I like to sing songs while shaking or spinning the parachute. For students with autism or other language delays who struggle with this skill, the parachute can be a great motivator to help with song fill-ins and other intraverbal skills. I will sing the song while shaking or spinning the parachute, and I’ll stop singing AND moving the parachute when I want the child to fill in a word. As soon as the child fills in the word, I will begin singing and moving the parachute again. For many students, this is more motivating than a high five or saying “good job.”
- Quick Responding – If you are working with learners with autism, the absence of quick responding is sometimes a serious barrier to learning. I have found that using the parachute is a good way to motivate the student to respond quickly when presented with at ask by using it as described above with the song fill-ins. Once I am getting quick responding with the parachute, I quickly begin to work on generalizing the skill to other environments (such as the table or during a floor activity).
Don’t forget to save 15%* this week only on your Parachute when you enter or mention promo code PCHUTE2 at check out!
*Offer is valid until 11:59pm EDT on July 8th, 2014. Not compatible with any other offers. Be sure there are no spaces or dashes in your code at check out!