Preschoolers often get excited when they see helicopters flying through the sky, which can look like giant dragonflies to little eyes. You know if you have a child who has a fascination with these whirlybirds; he wants every book and every 'copter toy you can find. However, buying a ton of twirling toys can get expensive. To satisfy his interest in a cost-effective way, put together a few helicopter-related activities and crafts at home.
Have your preschooler paint an empty pint-sized milk or juice container with tempera paint, and let it dry. Glue two to three craft sticks together to create a star shape; once dry, glue the star on top of a vertical craft stick. Insert these chopper blades into the milk carton so that they remain upright -- glue or tape if necessary. Poke a final craft stick into the back side of the carton to complete this whimsical helicopter.
Alternatively, allow your preschooler to decorate a standard toilet paper tube with tempera paint -- go glitzy or go camouflage -- and let it dry. Once dry, poke a single chenille stick into the side of the tube, then bend the chenille stick into a spiral to symbolize the helicopter's blades. Use paper towel or wrapping paper tubes to make larger or more ornate choppers.
Create a batch of salt dough by mixing together two parts flour, one part salt and one part water. Allow your preschooler to form the dough into a helicopter shape; help her along the way if necessary. Push a single toothpick into the top of the chopper. Once dry, paint with tempera paint. Cut out a blade star form from construction paper, then glue it to the tip of the toothpick. Alternatively, make an edible helicopter by slicing carrots into sticks, then helping your preschooler attach three of the carrot sticks together into a star using a toothpick; push the toothpick into a zucchini or summer squash.
Whirlybird Make-Believe Play
Make your preschooler's dreams of soaring in a helicopter a reality by helping him create one out of a large cardboard or wooden box. Allow your preschooler to help decorate the inside and outside using paint and markers, making sure to include the helicopter's controls and buttons on the inside. Cut out large copter blades from a sheet of cardboard, glue them together into a star pattern and glue the blades on top of the box.
Fold large sheets of craft paper back and forth into a fan, then cut out a helicopter shape with scissors, making sure to leave the folded edges intact. When you unfold the paper, you will have a string of helicopters that you can hang up in your child's room. Give your little one markers and stickers to decorate the helicopter string. You can also cut out helicopter shapes out of felt fabric and show your child how to glue felt forms on top for the helicopter blades, windows and landing gear. Frame a felt helicopter to hang up in your child's room, or sew one on to a throw pillow as a decoration.
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