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{Ten for Tuesday} Things That Go -- Week #7: Airplanes

If you love this series, please make sure you are following my Things That Go! Pinterest board for even more ideas and activities involving all things that go. 

Things That Go has really become one of my favorite series on the blog and, in case you have not noticed, always ends up including way more than ten ways to learn, read, play, create, eat, etc. with whatever the mode of transportation is for the week, and this week it is airplanes. 

You probably could have guessed that, if you are following, since we have done: trains, trucks, cars, boats and buses, emergency services vehicles/community helpers, and Christmas Things that go -- whew! While trains and cars may still be at the top of the list for Wild Thing, airplanes are also pretty cool. See how we (and others) play! Have you figured out what Things That Go we will be featuring next week? It is a good one, and I am not one to ruin the surprise, so you will have to check back next Tuesday to see! 

1. Read - Airplane books are an easy sell for Wild Thing and Caterpillar. They love books about airplanes and these are just a few of our favorites. I also love this post from Pragmatic Mom about Mighty Girl Books On Girls Who Dare to Fly.

2. Learn - Books offer great opportunities to learn about the history of aviation, and I love these three in particular because they expand the history of flight beyond The Wright Brothers and can inspire children as they see examples of men and women from different backgrounds literally seeing their dreams take flight. You can read a review of Fly High! over at Randomly Reading and learn more about Bessie Coleman. Fly High! and The Hallelujah Flight also fit well into curricula this month as part of Black History Month. Plus, The Hallelujah Flight is available as a free eBook at We Give Books, where children can read books online and other children around the world who need books will get books. I shared about this program in a guest post for All Done Monkey about International Book Giving Day this Thursday. 

Flight museums also offer great opportunities for children to learn about the history of flight. There are a few in Southern California where I live, notably: Western Museum of Flight in Torrance, CA and the Museum of Flying in Santa Monica, CA. Other museums include The Museum of Flight in Seattle (an Air and Space Museum), the Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Dallas and Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, FL to name a few and this site features a list of Air Museums and Public Displays in North America, but it has not been updated since 2009, so I would verify links and call ahead. If you have visited one of these museums or can recommend an air or flight museum, please leave a comment here or on my FB page and I will update the post accordingly. Thanks!   

3. A is for Airplane - This simple activity was done with stickers and works well to reinforce beginning letter sounds for early readers. (Wild Thing turned 3 in November and is now obsessed with always telling me A is for Apple, B is for Baby, etc. He also loves to ask me - what letter does it start with and we always figure out the answer together).  You could combine it with B is for Boat and C is for Car to do a quick ABC beginning letter activity. The great thing about this activity when we did it was that Caterpillar (18 months) was with us and he immediately pointed and identified the letter A and the object - Airplane. Of course, he does not yet understand A is for Airplane, but we are helping him build his vocabulary, develop language skills and begin to identify letters. 

4. Classic Airplane Game - You know this one. You put your child's stomach on your feet and lift them into the air - they stick their arms out and are flying. I shared this (and other) classic game here, in one of my first Ten for Tuesday posts about toddler games that only take you! 

5. Watch Airplanes  - At the airport or play I-Spy during a walk and see how many airplanes you can spy (or hear -- my boys often hear them way before they see them) flying over head.

6. Paper Airplanes - These paper airplanes from Frugal Fun 4 Boys take the paper airplane experience to the next level. They made a paper airplane test lab and experimented with adding weights and changing wing shape to improve flight. I think there is some sneaky science going on with this paper airplane fun.

7. Clothespin Airplanes - Inspiration Laboratories threw an amazing Airplane Birthday Party for her son and shared how she made these clothespin airplanes. How cute!

8. Airplane Treats - That birthday party from Inspiration Laboratories must have been a huge hit for her son because the airplane cake and cookies that she made seriously impress -- you will have to head back over to her site and check them out. 
I also love her candy airplane and am thinking of a Valentine version.

9. Pretend Play - Once again, I am featuring a great pretend play idea from No Time for Flash Cards. I loved seeing every aspect of this adventure: creating boarding passes, seat numbers, a ticket counter and rearranged the furniture to create the airplane seating. My favorite part involved a flight attended passing out snacks -- I do not think she made her son pay, so they must have been flying on Southwest. She also has some great airplane book suggestions too in the post. At Chick Duck Goose, they flew to Italy with a fun cardboard box airplane -- I had to include a cardboard thing that goes! I love how she used the cardboard plane to tie into language learning and cultural and geography lessons on Italy.


10. Just Play! It amazes me how many things can become airplanes in our house - a couch arm cushion held behind his back gives Wild Thing wings, a few block put together just so become an airplane or even a special stick in the backyard can become an amazing flying machine. I love encouraging imagination by empowering my boys to create airplanes (or cars or trains) from whatever object they choose. 

Okay, okay -- I am adding a couple of bonus activities again. The first involves using airplanes to inspire. Youth at a film camp that my husband and I run got inspired by the song Airplanes by B.o.B and made this innovative (and very cool) music video in which their paper airplane ride helps them imagine what they can be in life. Try playing the video for your child and seeing what dreams it inspires them to share. 


And, for the adults only - you could always jump out of an airplane. I did. It was one of the most exhilarating (and frightening) experiences of my life. I am glad I did it, but doubt if I will ever do it again. You can see what I looked like when I hit the ground here. The story of how and why I jumped out of a plane is pretty amazing, so I will have to think about sharing it soon. (Teaser: that same day my mom also jumped out of an airplane for her 60th birthday!)

Sharing at: Tuesday Tots, Eco Kids Tuesday, After-School Link-Up, It's Playtime, Mom's Library.

You might also like: 
Traveling w/Toddler + Baby: Busy Bags
Kids Co-Op: Trucks!


  1. This is GREAT!! I am in the process of planning an airplane unit and this will be perfect to include!


    PINNING! ;)

  2. What a fun post on airplane books and activities! I wanted to add my post on female aviator books for kids.

    We list some of the same books which makes me very happy!

  3. These look so great! I'm pinning this so I'll remember to use some of the ideas for my son's preschool!

  4. So fun - I love exploring different types of transportation (your train post was also one of my favorites). Great job with offering such a variety of resources!

  5. Great list! My son went through an airplane phase when he was first signing as a baby...we live under three flight paths so he had plenty of opportunity to gaze up at the sky and learn the sign for airplane! Trains replaced them after a few months, but he still likes to play airport on occasion, so he might enjoy some of these activities and books. Thanks!

  6. What a wonderful list of ways to explore planes. My son used to love to sit in boxes and play.

    I will be sharing this post on the Read.Explore.Learn. Facebook page and Pinterest board.


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