Toby is afraid of heights. That’s why he always carries a parachute with him. Parachute, the new book from Danny Parker and Matt Ottley, tells the story of Toby, his parachute, and how he learns to overcome his fears. This month’s craft from Jessica is great complement to the book and a great way to open up conversations about fears and how to work through them.
- Toby & backpack templates
- Marker (or something to color with)
- Plastic grocery bag
- Needle, toothpick, or other semi-sharp pointed object
Step 1: Print out and color template. (Don’t forget to color the back of Toby’s backpack.)
Step 2: Cut out template pieces.
Step 3: Spread glue on the back side of Toby’s back (the side that is not colored). Place a paperclip on the template so it does not show around the sides. Take the template of Toby’s front and glue it on top of the template of Toby’s back so the non-colored sides are glued together with the paperclip in the middle. (Think of it as making a “paperclip sandwich.”) Press the edges of the two templates together to get a good seal; this will help hold the paperclip in place. Add more glue as needed.
Step 4: Take the plastic bag and lay it flat on your work surface, making sure to smooth out wrinkles. Then cut out a circle that is slightly wider than 9 ½ inches in diameter. Don’t worry about making the edges neat; you’ll clean them up in a moment.
Step 5: Once the circle is cut out, fold it in half to create a half circle. Then take the half circle and fold it in half to create a triangle with a curved bottom edge. (It should look like a piece of pizza.) Fold the triangle in half once more to create an even skinnier triangle.
Step 6: Cut the skinny triangle across the bottom edge. Make the cut high enough so you cut all the original edges of the circle. This will give your parachute nice clean edges. Don’t cut too much off; you want to make sure your circle is about 9 ½ inches in diameter.
Step 7: Now take something sharp (I used a large darning needle, but a toothpick or another small pointed object would work fine) and make a centered hole about 1/4 inch from the bottom of the triangle. Make sure to puncture every layer of plastic, but be careful not to make the hole too big.
Step 8: Take a marker and mark the top point of the triangle.
Step 9: Cut 8 pieces of string or ribbon that are about 9 ½ inches long. Tie a knot at the end of each piece of string. Make the knots big enough so they will not fit though the holes you made in the plastic circle.
Step 10: Feed string through the holes you made in the plastic circle. Make sure all the knots are on the same side of the circle. Lay the circle so that the long ends of the string are face up. Gather the long ends of the string over the center of the circle. (You marked the center earlier.) Tie one of the pieces of string around the others to secure them in place. Make sure you don’t tie the string too short: you want the parachute to lay flat when you let go of the strings.
Step 11: Take the knot you just made and tape it to the back side of the backpack. Now take Toby and lay him on top of the backpack so that the knot is between Toby’s back and the backpack. Now place a piece of tape across Toby’s stomach to attach Toby to his backpack.
Note: To use the parachute, pinch the parachute at the center of the plastic circle (the spot you marked earlier) with Toby hanging freely below the parachute. Hold your arm up and away from your body and then let go and watch Toby safely float to the ground.