This summer we’re working on American geography, and as we learn about each state, we’re reading a picture book or two on a related topic or person. Last week we learned about North Carolina and read The Wondrous Whirligig: The Wright Brothers’ First Flying Machine. This story tells about the time Orville and Wilbur’s father brought home a flying toy for the boys. They decided first to make some adjustments so it would fly better, and once they had done that, they tried to make one big enough for them to fly in! This is a cute story based on a real event and both of my kids enjoyed listening to it.
When we were done, we tried making some flying machines of our own. We started with Zappy Zoomers, and while they weren’t too hard to make, we couldn’t get them to do much flying, unless you count the time it took to fall from the top of the swing set to the ground as flight time. The instructions do say that it “takes a bit of finesse” to make these fly correctly, and finesse is probably something we’re lacking, so you may have better success!
We also made these Paper Helicopters and had much more success! I made the templates for my kids and they did the folding and taping and it was pretty quick and simple. These even worked when we just threw them in the air, though we did get a lot more spin when we tossed them off the balcony.
If you’re looking for a fun and educational way to spend the afternoon, check out this book and try making your own flying contraptions!