Monday 11 February 2013


Up, up and away!
When Zac was just 3 he had a dream about flying and decided that he was going to collect lots of feathers so he could make himself some wings. He was so excited and so optimistic about his idea working that I couldn't bear the feeling of impending disappointment. I debated trying to let him down gently by attempting to explain all the problems with his plan, but couldn't bring myself to tell him it would never work. Luckily, although his collection of feathers grew, the original idea simultaneously faded away and we used the feathers for head-dresses, cat teasers, painting with and tickling each other instead.
None-the-less he is still very interested in things that fly, maybe because his Daddy flies model aeroplanes and worked for Airbus!

Zac with a helium balloon kite.
The simplest things to fly are balloons and kites. A balloon or a nappy sack on the end of a piece of string can keep  a small person entertained for ages on a breezy day (see my post about weather.) It's worth tying the end of the string around their wrist if they're likely to be disappointed when it flies off into the distance, but otherwise, chasing it is great exercise!

Daddy releases the parachute!
The boys have also been given several of those little plastic parachute men in party bags. Parachutes are easy to make. Just cut a large circle from a poly bag and either make holes round the edge to tie some strings on, or just sellotape them on if the parachutist isn't going to be too heavy! Any small toys can be parachuted, we spent quite a lot of time parachuting playmobil pirates out of the tree house. Be a bit careful about letting little critters launch parachutes from high places- they are quite likely to launch themselves too in their excitement. It's actually just as much fun to fold up the parachute and then throw it up into the air from the ground, so it floats back down to you, then you don't have to climb down from your starting point to fetch it every time.

Launching the glider.
We have had various flying toys, one of the most successful being a polystyrene glider that flies really well. It's easy for little folk to throw and is pretty indestructible. Martin had a go at making another out of some polystyrene packaging. It flew, but it wasn't quite as aerodynamic as the boughten one!
Who can fly their glider the furthest?
It's fun to make a range of paper aeroplanes and see which design will fly furthest, which will do a loop the loop, which has the smoothest landing etc, and once they're reasonably good at folding paper, kids can design and make their own.

Helicopter flying!
Zac also has a remote control helicopter which he loves and has become very accomplished at flying around the house. Martin sets him landing challenges putting ever smaller helipads in ever more difficult places to reach. It seems to be great for hand-eye co-ordination and spacial awareness, plus it built up Zac's resilience because he found it pretty tricky to start with but he really wanted to succeed so he kept practising long after he might have given up with a less-entertaining challenge.

I wish I could fly like little Ted!

You don't need toys to investigate flight, there are natural things which fly just as well. Finding sycamore seeds which spin like helicopter blades, or "fuffing" dandelion clocks and watching the seeds parachuting down to land can keep kids entertained for ages.
So even if they can't build some wings and fly themselves, investigating things other things which fly is definitely an entertaining way to pass a bit of time. I know Martin's hoping that before too long the boys will be able to accompany him on his trips to the model flying club and do a bit of flying themselves.

Here's Zac trying to encourage our totally earthbound duck to fly when he was a toddler:


  1. I had to laugh at the video of Zac trying to get the duck to fly! Both the boys seem to have a love of flying objects and I'm sure they will be accompanying their Daddy to the club in the future, thanks for sharing all your great photos with Country Kids.

    1. Aah, Zac and White Duck had a special bond, she was amazingly tolerant and quite happy to be lugged around the garden!

  2. My 9 year old son is going through a phase of making parachutes (from plastic bags) and launching them all over house. Everywhere I look there are orange Sainsburys bags with bits of string tied to them! #letkidsbekids

    1. Hahaha. The whole "reduce, re-use, recycle" message that is so popular in schools these days does seem to mean my house looks like a tip most of the time. At least the boys are being creative with the rubbish!

  3. My son loves all things that flies too and my hubby also loves model aeroplanes! We must make some parachutes to throw about.
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

  4. Those parachutes look awesome #letkidsbekids

  5. My son is obsessed with flying too. Even his cars fly! Kids imagination are so limitless! I love how their passion leads to a lot of creative play! #LetKidsBeKids