Give your child a chance to feel like an important member of the ground personnel that help guide air traffic at our airports and learn a whole host of skills while he's at it! All you need are some simple materials and a chart of aircraft marshall signals to practice directions, geometry, and following directions.
First, your child gets to make orange wands for aircraft marshalling! Have him cover two cardboard paper towel tubes with orange construction paper. Trim the paper with scissors as needed, and then glue it to the cardboard tubes.
While you're waiting for the glue to dry, your child and his friends can review the aircraft marshalling signals below. These are the real signals used by aircraft marshallers at airports!
When the wands are ready, your child and his friends can practice the marshalling signals. When they feel they have memorized them, they can play a game.
One game idea is for one child to be the marshaller and the other child the airplane. The airplane should follow the marshalling directions given by the child with the orange wands.
If you've got more than two kids to keep busy, you can use the wands for a version of Simon Says. The aircraft marshaller with orange wands is “Simon.” Simon gives his directions as marshalling signals, and the other children must follow. For more complexity, Simon can add verbal directions also such as “180 degrees” or “90 degrees” as he directs others to turn right or left. This game reinforces direction and geometry lessons!
Beth Levin has an M.A. in Curriculum and Education from Columbia University Teachers College. She has written educational activities for Macmillan/McGraw-Hill and Renaissance Learning publishers. She has a substitute teaching credential for grades K-12 in Oregon, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.