Parachute for an elf

Our elf arrived in style this year attached to a parachute. Unfortunately, the parachute got stuck on a plant, so he needed a replacement quickly.

This activity is a great festive STEM challenge and a fun elf idea.

Don’t forget I also have 24 days of FREE elf ideas you can print and use, including a parachute activity!

Parachute for an elf STEM challenge. Image shows a wrapping paper parachute attached to an elf stuck in a plant.

You’ll need

Gift wrap or brown paper



Hole punch

Four equal lengths of string

Christmas Elf


Cut a large square out of the gift wrap or brown paper and carefully use the hole punch to make a hole in each corner.

Thread a piece of string through each corner and tape it in place.

Tie the other end around the elf.

Hold the parachute high in the air and drop!

Parachute elf STEM challenge. Image shows a parachute made from gift wrap and string

Which forces act on a parachute?

Two main forces act on a parachute. These are gravity and drag or air resistance. Gravity pulls the parachute down, but as it drops, it creates a drag force which pushes the parachute upwards, slowing the fall.

Once the drag force balances the pull of gravity, the parachute will fall at a steady speed ( terminal velocity ).

What is air resistance?

Air pushes back against an object moving through it. This force is called air resistance or drag.

The faster an object travels, the greater the drag as more air molecules are pushed out of the way as the object falls.

elf in a parachute attached to a plant for an elf STEM challenge

More investigation ideas

Experiment with different size parachutes. Can you make a parachute that falls quickly and one that falls more slowly?

The bigger the area of the parachute, the greater the amount of drag created as it falls.

Elf parachute instructions for an ELF STEM Challenge

More experiments about forces

Try one of my experiments you can make fly.

Make some easy paper spinners. These are also great for learning about gravity and air resistance.

A bottle rocket is another fun experiment for learning about forces.

You might also like This IS Rocket Science which is full of simple science activities about space, forces and motion!

This is Rocket Science space science book for kids.

More Elf experiments

Try my free printable booklet containing 6 elf experiments to try at home.

Or, have a go at one of my easy elf themed STEM challenges!

parachute for the elf STEM challenge. Fun Christmas science activity. Image shows an elf hanging from a parachute stuck in a tree

Last Updated on December 5, 2022 by Emma Vanstone