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Preschool children look up whenever they hear an airplane. They are fascinated by the sound and the sight of a shiny, big object moving in the sky. Use this interest to spark learning and take airplane ideas across the curriculum.
Begin your discussion by asking the children the following questions:
- What flies in the sky? (birds, airplanes, helicopters, hot air balloons, etc.) See how many objects the children can brainstorm.
- Have you been on an airplane? Where did you go?
- Who drives the airplane? (pilot)
- Where did you go to get onboard an airplane? (airport)
Show pictures of airplanes and other flying machines to the children while asking these questions.
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Math Lesson Ideas
- Match airplanes by color on a flannel board. Cut two airplanes from each color of felt you have. Place one of each color on the flannel board. Ask the children to pick up a felt airplane from the ground, and match it next to the one you already have on the flannel board. Use this learning experience to not only match colors but to count airplanes as well.
- Purchase a bag of plastic airplanes (from a toy or dollar store) to use for counting, sorting, and matching. For a learning game, give the children a toy airplane, and tell them to follow your directions. Use spatial commands, and have the children stand near the airplane, beside the airplane, under the airplane (hold it above the head), in front of the airplane, or behind the airplane.
- Use shoeboxes to make airplane hangers for these planes. Collect and use six boxes. Number them from 1 to 6. You can increase the number of boxes and counting opportunities if you wish. Using the toy airplanes, invite the children to park the correct number of planes in each hanger.
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Music and Movement
Teach the children to sing this song while "flying" their airplanes. The tune is "I'm a Little Teapot."
I'm a little airplane, I can fly,
Here is my throttle, give me a try.
When I get all revved up, then I fly,
Off the runway and up to the sky.
Try the following fingerplay with your preschool group.
Five little airplanes in a row, (hold up 5 fingers)
Some go fast; some go slow. (move hand fast, then slowly)
They fly up high and then zoom down. (fly hand up, then down)
And slowly, slowly touch the ground. (slowly bring hand down to the ground)
Another fun music and movement game is "musical airplanes". Tell the children to pretend to be airplanes flying around the sky (room). Play some music to accompany their flying. Every time you stop the music, the children must stop flying. Start the music and they fly away again.
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- Give the children two wooden craft sticks (tongue depressors work best).
- Let them paint these sticks any color they choose.
- When the paint is dry, glue the sticks together, one on top of the other, to make an airplane.
- Next, glue the wooden airplanes onto a sheet of heavy blue construction paper.
- Draw outlines of clouds, and fill these in with white cotton balls that can be glued on.
As a variation, these wooden airplanes can be tied with string and hung from the ceiling.
For additional ideas, read Kindergarten Transportation Unit, Part 1: Airplanes and Helicopters right here on Bright Hub Education.
- Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved
- The information offered in this article is based on the author's personal experience as an early childhood teacher.