Float – Toy Parachute (Weekly Unplugged Project)

By , February 8, 2009 8:44 pm

I guess I must have picked float as the theme for this week’s Unplugged Project because last week’s marbleizing project involved floating a piece of paper in a baking tray of water.  Well, I won’t do that again, because all I could think of all week long were ideas very similar to our marbleizing project.  I was completely without inspiration.

Then this boring, snowy Sunday, as the kids were playing Calico Critters, I suddenly had the inspiration to try making a Calico Critter parachute.  Parachutes float (…hopefully…)!

We gathered together some scarves of different sizes and fabrics to experiment with, some items for the “cockpit” (a small basket and a little nylon pouch that originally contained some fiberfill stuffing – I am glad to be a packrat, I knew that pouch would come in handy one day!), yarn, scissors, and a couple of fearless test-pilots:

First we cut four pieces of yarn all the same length. Then we tied one piece of yarn onto each corner of the scarf:

Next we attached our basket and pouch.  In an effort to take weight into consideration, we decided to put the pouch on the cotton bandanna because the bandanna was heavier than the play silk and the pouch was lighter than the basket.

We tied the strings onto the pouch by bunching up the fabric just as we had done with the scarf.

We tied the basket on with a string on each handle and a string on each side in the middle in order to keep it as well-balanced as possible:

NOTE: Be careful tying the strings onto your “cockpit.”  You want to keep them in order so that aren’t twisted and it can get a bit confusing, especially if your cloth is big and your strings long.

Also, you could simply tie your object directly on to the strings without having a container. I think it is more fun with a basket or a pouch though, that makes it much easier for children to experiment with different objects and toys.

The cats found this project to be particularly appealing.  Strings plus soft things to lie on meant 5-star kitty excitement:

In popped the intrepid test-pilots, and off we went to the upstairs landing for launch.

Make sure you hold the parachute by pinching it in the center and dangling it all over the edge of the railing before dropping.  Also, for best performance, the strings should not be twisted or tangled.

The bandanna went first – success!

Next was the playsilk.  It didn’t crash, but it went down pretty fast.  I thought that it might be because of the air flowing through the holes in the basket.

We lined the basket with a paper napkin and the second launch was perfect!  The parachute floated gracefully down to the ground.

I am pleased to report that no Calico Critters were injured in the testing of the parachutes.

If you are curious, here’s a 5 second video of our silk parachute:

Link: How does a parachute work?


If you did a float Unplugged Project this week, please put your link in Mr. Linky below (link to your post, not just your blog please so your post will always be easy to find).  It’s also wise to leave a comment so if Mr. Linky ever disappears, you won’t disappear with it! If you did not join in, then please do not link, but read more about how to join in here.

I am trying to visit at least a few projects every week, but I can’t always get to everyone anymore.  I feel a bit bad about that, but blogging is not a full-time occupation for me, so I guess I can only do my best.  I hope you all understand!


The theme for next week’s Unplugged Project, will be:


Have fun!


12 Responses to “Float – Toy Parachute (Weekly Unplugged Project)”

  1. Clare says:

    Yay! We managed to do the unplugged project last week! Thank you for this blog, btw, really inspiring.

    Clares last blog post..Unplugged project – ‘float’

  2. meninheira says:

    I love the video of your parachute!! :)

    meninheiras last blog post..Betty Boop

  3. warillever says:

    That looks like a lot of fun, and simple enough for my troops. Very cool.

    I’ll be back alter today to read all of the ideas that participants had.

    warillevers last blog post..Unplugged Electricity

  4. Meg says:

    Don’t feel bad about not visiting every week! It is more important that you visit the newcomers, so they feel welcome…which I did! It’s enough that you are doing what you are doing. :)

    Megs last blog post..Unplugged – Floating!

  5. Quiet Hollow says:

    Been following for awhile. Thought I’d join in. Such a wealth of good ideas ~ thanks for doing this!

  6. Jennifer says:

    So many great ideas.

    Jennifers last blog post..Unplugged Project-Float

  7. Naomi says:

    We enjoyed this week’s theme, thanks for this blog as it is so much fun and great to share with everyone else.

    I love your parachutes, we used to do that as kids with plastic shopping/grocery bags. Then we tried using them as parachutes for ourselves, we were sure it would have worked if we’d been brave enough to launch ourselves from somewhere high enough. Luckily we only tried it jumping from a kitchen chair. Looks like you had fun, and good idea to use play silks.

    Naomis last blog post..2 Floating Things – Boats and a Valentines gift for D

  8. Schelle says:

    I don’t think we’ve got anywhere high enough to launch a decent parachute – at least, not anywhere I’d want Wombat to think about climbing too lol – but it looks like a fun idea :)

    Schelles last blog post..Unplug your kids – float

  9. Jessica says:

    As usual we had a lot of fun with our projects this week. We made parachutes a while back when the theme was thin. You can check them out here: http://apathwithpromise.blogspot.com/2008/10/unplugged-project-thin.html

    Jessicas last blog post..Unplugged Project(s): Float

  10. Ezekiel says:

    how long does it take if you use a plastic instead of a scarf and pegs instead of a basket?

  11. Mom Unplugged says:

    I don’t know. Try it out! A plastic grocery bag would be fun to try.

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