Spin. Jump. Twirl. Helicopters take advantage of preschoolers' abundant store of energy and channel it into exercise, music and science exploration. Entertain your preschooler for the day or jazz up a preschool party or play date with helicopter movement activities, crafts and games. After your little helicopter pilot wears out from all the fun, she can refuel on helicopter snacks.
Music and Movement
Music and rhymes both tap into a preschooler's sense of rhythm to motivate movement and fitness. Make time in your day to play with your preschooler and move along with him, imitating the motions of the helicopter as you sing or chant. Can Teach suggests alternate words for "I'm a Little Teapot": "I'm a yellow helicopter sitting on the ground. These are my rotor-blades slowly turning round. Faster now, and faster, they're spinning like a top. Take off, turn around, touch down, stop." Or chant "Helicopter flies up. Helicopter flies down. Forward, backward, turns all around. Helicopter goes left. Helicopter goes right. Helicopter goes up, up, and out of sight."
A paper helicopter craft lets your little aviation enthusiast experiment with how helicopters fly. Cut a 2-inch by 8 1/2-inch strip of poster board. Cut a 2/3-inch notch about 4 1/2 inches from one end on both long sides. Fold those flaps into the center section, fold up the bottom edge about 1/2 inch and secure with a paper clip. Draw a 2 3/4-inch straight line from the other end up the center and cut on the line, leaving a 3/4-inch space in the middle. Fold both flaps in opposite directions to form a T-shape rotor blade. Another way to make the helicopter's signature rotor blade is to glue a dowel or chop stick to the middle of a large craft stick. Drop it from a tree house, a deck or play structure to see it spin, lift and float gently to the ground.
Active games are another way to get the wiggles out of your energetic preschooler and encourage good health, fitness and motor development all at the same time. Hop Copter requires one person to drop a paper or craft stick helicopter wing from a height while your little ones hop, skip or jump to catch the copter before it hits the ground. The person who catches it gets to drop it for the next round. Helicopter jump rope works best with a group of children such as at a party or play date. It starts with two people holding the rope stretched between them while swinging it gently side to side and chanting, "Helicopter, helicopter comes on scene, I choose a color and the color is green." All the children wearing green then jump over the rope, trying to land on both feet. Then the chant begins again ending with a new color such as "Helicopter, helicopter in the sky she flew. I choose a color and the color is blue." Repeat as long as the children's interest lasts.
If your youngster is passionate about helicopters, an investment in a helicopter cookie cutter will delight his little heart with helicopter-themed treats. Cut sugar cookies into helicopter shapes and let your junior aviation specialist paint them with a mixture of 2 tablespoons milk, 2 tablespoons corn syrup and 2 cups sifted powdered sugar. Divide it into batches and add different colors of food coloring for a colorful helicopter snack. The same cutter shape can cut bread and cheese to make helicopter sandwiches for lunch. For dessert, your little one can press crispy rice treat mix into the cutter as a mold to make crispy helicopter treats.
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