Airplanes & Pilots (week after Thanksgiving)

This is a fun subject to use a "filler" between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Airplanes are a subject most kids can get in to and everyone needs a bit of a break between all the holiday madness!

A - Airplane  Print color sheet
Airplane Coloring Page Worksheet

P - Pilot   Print Alphabet Page
Letter P Pilot Color Poster

SHAPES - Squares

Print the color page. Have the children trace the squares first with their fingers, then with colors. Talk about the different sizes. Have the children color the largest squares a certain color. Then color the smallest squares another color. Count the largest, count the smallest. This can even be a fine motor skill activity if you have them cut out the squares. Once cut out, you can arrange them by size and make it a math activity!

Squares Game!

Collect a selection of different items in different shapes. In circle time, hold up the different items and ask the children to shout out when they see a square! Put the correct square answers in a different pile for each child who shouts out first. The child with the most squares in their pile at the end of the game gets a prize! You could give them a square graham cracker or some kind of square sticker.


What is a Pilot's job?
Pilots fly airplanes and helicopters to do many jobs. Most pilots fly people and cargo from place to place. Some pilots test new planes, fight fires, do police work, or rescue people who are hurt or in danger.

To keep passengers safe during travel, pilots are responsible for numerous flight checks where they verify that the instruments, controls, engines, and other flight systems on their craft are functioning the way they should, checking off each flight system as they finish inspection.

In order to make this task more understandable for the children, make a plane out of boxes or styrofoam. Give them a copy of a Pre-Flight Checklist and have them check out the plane you provided.
example lesson worksheet where students perform a sample flight check

Once they have finished their pre-flight check, you can give them their "wings" to show that they are pilots! You can cut them from construction paper or use a sticker.

MATH - Colorful airplane sorting and patterning

Use stickers or pictures found on the internet or in magazines. Make sure there are 2 of each airplane and there are many different colors. It is a good idea to attach the airplanes onto index cards. Mix them all up in a pile and ask the children to select an airplane from the pile. Once they have put a plane in front of them on the table, ask them to find another plane from the pile that is the SAME. Repeat this a few times to match all the planes.

If you have a good enough selection, you can set out all the planes that are the same (ex: jets) and then just one plane which is different (ex: bi-plane). Ask the children to identify which is DIFFERENT.

Next, line up one set of airplanes on the table in a pattern. Ask the children to create the same pattern using their set of pictures.

 SCIENCE - Paper Airplanes (How do airplanes fly?)

This is a great book to read to help understand airplanes. Available on Amazon:

 Explain that air flowing over and under the wings is what causes the plane to fly. Show pictures of birds gliding, kites flying, and planes flying. It is the same effect for all of these that causes them all to fly. Bring a few large leaves to class. Hold the leaf high in the air and drop it. Explain that the air is why it drifts down so slowly. The leaf is like a wing. Allow the children to do the same experiment. (This is VERY basic, but they won't be able to understand much more at this age!)

Using the template, create a paper airplane. Demonstrate how it flies to the class. Allow the children to fly an airplane too!

MUSIC - I'm A Little Airplane

I'm a little airplane,
Now watch me fly!
Here are my instruments
From down low to up high.
First I get revved up.
Then I can fly,
Lifting off the runway
Up into the sky!

This is a fun song when you add the movements! You can add-lib pretty much anything and the kids will think it is so fun!

ART - Airplane Shape Craft
This is a great way to incorporate shapes into the airplane lesson!

Materials Needed:
Several different colors of construction paper
Glue sticks

  Cut out several triangles from construction paper. One for the nose of the plane, 2 for the wings, and one for the tail. It is a good idea to have each part of the plane a diffrent color, so that explaining how to put it together will be easier. Then cut out a square for the body of the plane. Have the children create a plane using these shapes. Talk about the different shapes and how they come together to make a plane.

SNACK - Travel Snack Mix

When we travel, it is nice to have a healthy snack to munch on. Allow the children to help make their own travel snack for today. If it is possible, enjoy this snack outside or even at the park!

Cheerios (any flavor, or a couple of flavors)
Mini Marshmallows

Place each ingredient in a separate bowl and add a spoon. Give each child a small cup (best to have their names on them for name recognition) and allow them to scoop the ingredients into their cups as they want. This will also become a fine motor activity. They will be so proud of their mix and enjoy it that much more!

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