- Go online. Look for your local airport and see if they offer any tours or other programs for kids. Ask about any security issues.
- Go on a scavenger hunt. See if your child can spot: the runway, three different types of airplanes, a helicopter, a baggage cart, suitcases, a ticket booth, a pilot, a flight attendant, a passenger, an air traffic control tower, a hangar, a wind sock, a passenger terminal, airport ground crew, a uniform, a fuel truck.
- I Spy ABCs. A is for airplane. Pick a letter and see if your child can spot something that starts with that letter.
- Count it out. How many planes do you see? How many pilots? Flight attendants?
- Play airplane. Have kids put their arms out and "fly" around the room.
- Name the parts of a plane. Point out the cockpit, engines, wings, rudder and fuselage.
- Explore air pressure. Have kids hold out their hands on a windy day. Can they feel the force of the air pressing against them? Talk about wind and its power to move flags, kites, trees, balloons and so on.
- Test gravity. Look in your purse for test objects. Hold a pen and a piece of paper or business card at the same height. Which falls faster?
- Meet the pilot. If you're traveling on a plane, ask the flight attendant if your child can meet the pilot and peek in the cockpit.
- Be ready for tough questions. How do planes fly? Find NASA's child-friendly answer at their Web site.
- Investigate. Ask your child these questions:
- How many things can you name that fly?
- What's the difference between the way an airplane flies and a bird flies?
- What's the difference between a jet plane and a glider?
- How do helicopters move differently from airplanes? Can a plane hover?
- What does a pilot do? What does a flight attendant do? What about an air traffic controller?
- Read all about it. Check out A Day the Airport by Richard Scarry, Airplanes: Soaring! Diving! Turning! by Patricia Hubbell, Airport by Byron Barton, The Glorious Flight by Alice Provenson, The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane by Russell Freedman and Zoom! The Complete Paper Airplane Kit by Margaret A. Hartelius.
Thanks to Susan Hood
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