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This is a fun cooperative game for grades 1-5.  
Submitted by Terrance Ostrander and Ellen Dunwoodie, Blasdell, New York.  


“Volcano” is a cooperative game that we use as a group initiative for grades 1-3 and a warm-up game for grades 4-5. We came up with this fun game when the center mesh on our parachute wore out and left a hole in the middle of the chute. The students love it and the physical activity level is very good.


  • 1 parachute (with a hole in the center)
  •  10-12 (or more) Gator Skin balls or foam balls

Background: The group size depends on the size of the parachute, but you need at least 20 students to make it work well. After doing a few parachute exercises (ripples, waves, mountain, etc.), we play the game.

How We Play It: Choose 4-5 students to be the “Lava Flow.” They will crawl under the chute when it is lifted by the rest of the class. The class will make a volcano by lifting the edge of the parachute above their heads and then bringing it down to the floor in front of them (mountain). They will kneel on the edge of the parachute.

The “Lava Flow” students throw any balls that go inside the parachute out of the hole in the middle of the chute. The students around the outside of the volcano will try to shoot the balls back into the hole. We give the students under the parachute about 45-60 seconds at a time to be the lava flow. When they come out, they pick their successors and we start over.

Variations: We have used these two variations with our students -

1. As a group initiative, we time how long we can keep the volcano up as we throw the balls in and out.

2. As a contest we score the number of balls we throw out of the volcano in 30 seconds.

This game, along with the different variations we have played, has been well received by all age levels and some teachable moments arise concerning cooperation, teamwork and communication during the activity.

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