Sky Riders

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Total Time 1 hour Ages all-ages

The classic toy parachute with a surprising twist -- the chute's cords are attached with a fishing swivel that all but eliminates those annoying tangles.

What you'll need

  • Bottle cork
  • Markers or paint
  • Aluminum foil
  • Small screw eyes
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Beads
  • Plastic soda bottles
  • Push pin
  • Newspaper
  • Plastic trash bag
  • Paper reinforcement stickers
  • Kite cord
  • Needle
  • Straightedge
  • String
  • Medium snap swivel
Helpful Tip:

If the chute fails to deploy, wrap the strings less tightly.

How to make it

  1. Sky Riders

    Parachute: Create a template by drawing a 2-foot-diameter circle on newspaper. Use a straightedge to draw three lines through the center of the circle, dividing it into six roughly equal pie wedges. Connect the points to create a hexagon.

  2. Cut a trash bag in half, trace the template, and cut out the chute. Affix one ring reinforcement sticker to each of the six corners. Then decorate the chute with stickers or markers. Use a needle to thread one 20-inch length of kite cord through each reinforcement sticker to each of the six corners. Then decorate the chute with stickers or markers. Use a needle to thread one 20-inch length of kite cord through each reinforcement, then tie. Lift all six cords above the middle of the parachute and tie them together at least a foot from the chute. Tie on the snap swivel and trim any excess cord. Clip the swivel onto either Sky Rider.

  3. Sky Riders

    Space Capsule: Shorten a plastic soda bottle by cutting it in half. Trim so the top of the bottle is about 3 inches long and the bottom 2 inches. Cut a series of 1-inch slits in the edge of the bottom half. Press the two halves together. Finally, poke a hole in the bottle cap with a pushpin and screw in a screw eye.

  4. Sky Riders

    Cork Astronaut: Draw a face on the cork and wrap the rest with aluminum foil. For arms and legs, twist screw eyes into the cork, then thread a half length of pipe cleaner halfway through each screw eye, fold in half, and twist together. String on beads for hands and feet. Twist a screw eye into the cork top to hold the chute.

  5. Packing the Chute: Hold the chute by its center point and let the Sky Rider dangle. Slide your other hand down the chute so it compresses like a closed umbrella. Fold the chute in half once, then again, so it forms a small packet. Wrap the strings and Sky Rider around the packet and toss it into the air.

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