Babies Walkers to 2 2s to 3s 3s to 4s

Overview and benefit

Young children learn to see colours and even differentiate between similar colours from quite an early age. It’s not till later that they start to learn the names for colours and often have a number of colour names by around the age of three. Learning about colour is an important part of a child’s mathematical development and it is important that children are able to identify and match colours when entering foundation stage. This activity introduces children to some simple colours using the parachute.

Training videos

parachute colours from MAD Academy on Vimeo.

Equipment required

• Large parachute

• Background music (no vocals so the children can focus on your voice)


One to two weeks

How it works

There are a couple of different ways of using the parachute to help teach the children their colours. The parachute is a good prop to use as its so large and the colours are repeated, so the children can revisit the same colour again and again. Also it is very tactile and physical which really helps some children learn.

What to do in the class

Activity 1:

Get the parents to hold the parachute while you go underneath with the children. Ask the parents to hold it still at arms length above the children’s heads. Name and touch each of the colours with the children, then get the children to move from colour to colour themselves as you call them.

To make it more challenging you could speed up as you call the colours. Or you could ask them to touch the relevant colour with different parts of their bodies – hands, feet, heads, noses.

Activity 2:

Alternatively layout the parachute on the floor with parents around standing guard! Have different coloured bean bags in coloured buckets. Take a bucket and give out a bean bag to each child. Ask them to put on the bean bag on the corresponding colour on the parachute.

Or with the parachute on the floor and stretched out between the parents, have the children crawl on and move to sit on the colour that you call. If the parents hold the parachute very taught on the ground, the risk of slipping is greatly reduced, but still remind the parents and children not to run or walk on the parachute!

Activity 3:

Have the children and parents sit in a large circle, holding the parachute spread out in front of them. See if they can name the different colours on the parachute. Ask them to look at the piece of parachute they are holding in their hands – what colour have they got hold of? Now slowly pass the parachute around the circle until the instructor says stop. Ask the children to tell their parent what colour the piece of parachute they are holding is. Repeat. (You could do this activity with a long strip of coloured bunting instead).

You could extend this activity by giving each child 4 coloured bean bags at the start to keep next to them on the floor (making sure they are the same colours as are on your parachute). When they the parachute stops being passed around, and the child identifies the colour they are holding, ask them to find the same colour bean bag. Repeat. At the end you could put all the bean bags onto the parachute and see which coloured bean bags could be bounced off first!

Adaptations for older/younger children

None required

What to do in a nursery setting

If space is short use a smaller parachute