This post has been updated in April 2014.
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1. Talk About Your Upcoming TripStart talking to your children about your upcoming trip a few weeks before an actual trip. Answer all the questions they might have - our daughter was already a fluent talker at 2, and she had a lot of why and how questions that we took time to answer.
2. Read Books About Plane Travel
Our daughter adores Usborne First Experiences stories by Anne Civardi. There are several different stories in these series, and Going on a Plane details every step of a journey – from getting into airport, going through security, to picking up luggage at destination. This book has bright realistic illustrations by Stephen Catwright. Complete Book of First Experiences proved to be a great investment for our home library, since it was one of Smarty’s favorite books for several years. Another two books I recommend are A Day in the Airport by Richard Scarry and My First Airplane Ride by Patricia Hubbell.
3. Play Pretend
After reading books, play pretend at home. Let your young child go on a plane on her own and guide her through steps in this pretend play if she or he allows you to. My daughter enjoyed packing her little backpack, strapping herself into her high chair and pretending that she is flying to different countries around the world.
4. Make an Airplane Craft
We had a mini theme Things That Fly going at home in preparation for our trip, and we made this airplane collage. Smarty was not in the mood on the first day, so we just colored the template, and I helped her cut it. The next day she was eager to “do some gluing”. She gets pretty good with squeezing just the right amount of glue on her projects. Then I gave her cotton balls for clouds and some foam transportation stickers to embellish her sky scene. She was picking airplanes and helicopters at first, but then decided to expand into all kinds of vehicles. I think the end result turned out pretty nice: