Recently we had the opportunity to take the boys to a flight show. It was a wonderful experience all around!
We saw airplanes flying in formation and doing some amazing tricks.
We also got to tour several airplanes and let the boys take a turn in the pilot's seat.
It was an exhausting, but very enjoyable and educational day!
I had really wanted to do some airplane/aviation related activities with Dude before the show, but I ended up forgetting about it until the night before. So instead the day after the show we used the computer to look at the pictures we'd taken at the airshow & talk about some of the planes.
We also read The Magic School Bus Taking Flight: A Book About Flight along with some other airplane books. (You can see more book recommendations at the bottom of this post.) This book is definitely more for the 4+ crowd, but for some reason Dude loves it and has even climbed the bookshelf to get it off an upper shelf. It's so educational that I'm certainly not going to complain. (about reading it at least, the shelf climbing landed him in time out)
After reading the books and talking about some of the parts of planes we decided to make our own paper airplanes. We used the instructions for a design called the arrow from here. It's supposed to be one of the simplest to fold.
Dude did OK with this considering his age. I did end up straitening up lots of his folds as we went and I made the last couple folds on his plane. But his excitement level was so high, that he didn't mind in the least. I was showing him each step by making an airplane of my own and I figured if his turned out too terrible, he could just use mine to play with. But both did turn out flight worthy.....enough ;)
And the rest of the day looked something like this! We had some wind limitations outside, but Dude still loved just holding the airplane and flying it around the yard.
He also played with his airplane inside and I let him throw it from our upstairs banister. It took a little practice for him to figure out how to throw it right, but he did eventually get some "flight time" out of HIS creation.
To finish up our day on flight I let Dude watch the airplane episode on our Magic School Bus: Space Adventures DVD while I prepared dinner. Like I said, we love our Magic School Bus in this house!
(This is the DVD we own, but you can also get the entire Magic School Bus: The Complete Series set on Amazon fairly inexpensively. The Flight episode is #22.)
I hope to do a more lengthy airplane unit with Dude at some point in the future, but for now this was a fun and somewhat educational way to spend the day!
More Book Recommendations:
If your child is old enough, you might also be interested in this The Magic School Bus: Soaring into Flight Science Kit. No experience with it, but it seems to get good reviews on Amazon. I'm adding it to our wishlist!