March 28, 2013

Rainy Day Craft Tutorial

Looking for a fun rainy day activity? Here’s an easy way to re-purpose a broken umbrella into a mini-parachute game.

This fun, eco-friendly kids craft project also allows you to sneak in a little education. What better way to illustrate the laws of gravity? Follow these simple instructions, and you’ll have a 5 foot mini-parachute that folds up for easy storage.

Supply List:

Broken umbrella – the larger the better.
Low temp glue gun or hand sewing needle and thread
Small piece of felt

I just happened to have a broken Ikea umbrella that was perfect for this craft. However, if you don’t have a broken umbrella, you can easily pick up a used umbrella at a thrift store. If all else fails, Ikea sells them for around $3.00.

Step one:
Remove the umbrella’s outer cover. This was surprisingly easy.

• snip a few threads on each of the metal spines that made up the umbrella’s frame.
• pull the plastic tips off each point (be careful – they’re sharp underneath)
• cut the fabric away from the top center spoke.

Step two:

You now have three options, depending on your crafting ability and how you’ll be using the mini parachute.

Option one: Using a low-temp glue gun to attach a felt circle to the middle of the parachute, where you cut the fabric away from the center spoke.

Option two: Using a needle and thread, use a running stitch to gather the fabric in the center of the parachute to close up the hole.

Option three: Don’t worry about the hole, as you only plan to use larger balls and toys that won’t slip through the hole. That’s what I did!

That’s it for the construction! Now comes the fun part — playing with the mini-parachute.

Here are a few ideas for educational games:

1. Play hide and seek- the classic game that teaches object permanence.
2. Bounce soft toys in the air- point out that gravity brings them back down.
3. Roll and bounce balloons or balls on it – note which bounces highest
4. Position two people on either side of the parachute, lift it and let it drop. See if your child can dash underneath before it floats back down. We could play that one for hours!

It’s your choice whether to use your new parachute only on rainy days, or throughout the year. Whichever you decide, the great part of this craft is the mini-parachute easily folds down for storage.

Check out our new Pinterest boards for more eco-friendly crafts and kids activities. Please share any other rainy day activities or ideas for using a mini-parachute in the comments.

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