Have you ever picked up a dollar store play parachute toy for your kid…and it turned out to be a total failure? No matter how hard your kid tries or how many times he tosses it into the air…it refuses to open up and instead plummets to the ground in a pitiful tangle plastic and string?
Don’t give up! I’ve got the answer for you: make your OWN parachute toy! They’re simple to make and a joy to watch as they glide to Earth.
Daredevil Skydiver, 1977
When I was a kid, I had the best parachute man ever: a Fisher-Price Adventure People “Daredevil Skydiver” parachute man, circa 1977. He was a full-fledged action figure with a nylon chute, plastic harness and Evil Kenevil inspired jumpsuit with star spangled bell bottom pants. You pretty much needed a slingshot to get him up high enough, but his red, white and blue chute ALWAYS opened.
Naturally, I was pretty disappointed when I tried to find modern parachute dudes for my boys. Though I still have my Daredevil Skydiver, he was getting kinda old and his head always tips down like he’s staring at his toes.
All I could find are cheap hunks of flimsy plastic, with tissue thin chutes your have to string up yourself. Good luck with that! You might get one decent throw before these cheapo toys turn into tangled junk.
How to make a DIY Coffee Filter Parachute Guy!
Our do-it-yourself version used items you probably already have in your kitchen or craft stash.
Because we’re using a coffee filter, we’re going to make a very light weight “action figure” from fuzzy sticks. Daredevil needed a 27-inch wide chute to support his “massive” action figure weight.
Video How to for Coffee Filter Parachute toy
First, you’ll make a stick person from ONE fuzzy stick. Twist a loop in the middle for his head, bend back both ends for the arms, twist those ends together for the torso, then what’s left is legs. Feel free to bend up the very end for feet. (See the illustration below.)
Take a second pipe cleaner and poke one end through the edge of a coffee filter. Fold over once to secure. Take the free end and run through the “hands” of the stick figure (his arms are loops). Connect the free end to the coffee filter and bend up.
Ta da! A coffee filter parachute guy! If you want to get fancy, you could decorate the filter with markers, but plain white works well too. Take the parachute guy someplace high, like a playhouse, second floor deck, balcony or to your local park jungle gym.
You just have to release him and he’ll float down to the ground gently! Remember to leave the parachute open–unlike fabric or plastic chutes, you don’t want to ball this guy up and toss into the air.
We tried out our parachute guy in the backyard and he floated gently to the ground–every time!
Whew! That was fun! Ready to make a catapult now? We’ve got just the thing…