Got a child who loves flying? We do! And this DIY Copilot cockpit activity made our last airplane ride enjoyable. Give it a try, it’s easy to make and will spark some imagination on your next flight. This illustration has different flight instruments, dials, and controls to keep your little one interested. Add some strips of colored craft paper, stickers, and other embellishments to personalize your copilot cockpit that is in a class all of its own.
Drawn by yours truly, this diagram was a good way to show our son some of the controls that pilots use to fly an airplane. For instance, we showed him the flight compass and the different directions (north, east, south, west) on it. Also, we explained what the gas tank is and what it looks like when the gas tank is full or empty (general mom knowledge). Our son had so many questions. It was cute to see his face excited with so much curiously. Follow the instructions below to make your own special cockpit or download the free diagram here.
- Piece of White Paper
- A Pencil/Pencil crayons
- An eraser
- A Black fine tip pen
- Something round to trace (i.e. the bottom of a water bottle)
- Something square to trace (i.e. the bottom of an alphabet wooden block)
Personalize your DIY Copilot cockpit
This is where your child’s imagination let’s loose. Get the kids involved by drawing their own cockpit dashboard. Let them decide what to draw to give it their own personal touch. Some things kids may want to include in their DIY Copilot cockpit are the following things:
- Airspeed indicator
- Attitude reference
- Flight map
- Fuel gauge
- Direction finder
- Start drawing by using a pencil so you can erase any mistakes.
- Trace the bottom of the water bottle to make a circle shape. Label what it is (i.e. a clock, fuel gauge etc).
- Trace the bottom of a wooden alphabet block to make a square shape. Label what it is (i.e. a flight display, altitude gauge etc).
- Draw anything on your cockpit dashboard that you think will be helpful (as a co-pilot).
- Go over the pencil lines with a black fine tip pen to complete the drawing.
- Color or glue craft embellishments (such as stickers, buttons) to personalize it.
- Fold your illustration or roll it up (and tie a rubber band around it) for safe-keeping.
Nevertheless, kids can even make up some of their own features to include on their own cockpit dashboard. Whatever inspires creativity. Go for it, the sky’s the limit!
Fasten your seat belts and prepare for take-off
Unfortunately, our little cockpit got a little ruffled in our bag in-transit however, it still did the trick. Needless to say, I didn’t have any clear tape however, I did have some washi tape in my bag. Worked perfectly well to secure the diagram. Score! (Gee, as a mom, you carry so many different things). And, Ta-da! Our son’s very own cockpit! I’ve done a little editing to the original template. Feel free to download the new and improved version here..
After boarding the plane, the first thing we did was tape our DIY Copilot Cockpit to the back of the seat (where our toddler could see it). Then, we explained how take-off and landing works. Our toddler was all ears as he loves to ride on airplanes. Before our trip, I gathered some basic tips to make up a story about aviation that my toddler would love. In addition, this wonderful video clip from our friends at “Reading Rainbow Presents: A Child’s First-Time Flying Story With LeVar Burton” does a great job in explaining how airplanes work.
Copilot Bodhi deciding which direction to fly to on the map. I think he wants to go somewhere South….maybe Patagonia?
Never leave home without it
To summarize, just like our DIY I Spy Goody Bag, the DIY Copilot cockpit has a second feature toddlers like. Can you guess what it is? Of course, it doubles as a fantastic colouring page! Don’t forget to bring some crayons!
Flying with kids is challenging at times, especially if they can’t sit still. Nevertheless, the secret to keeping little ones entertained during a long flight is to bring some activities they’ll adore. We’ve found many good ones for our toddler and the quality time spent together makes airplane rides more pleasant. Happy travels!
Have any ideas to make flights more fun for toddlers? Share in the comments below. Thanks!
We got our inspiration from this: DIY Cockpit Travel.
Darlynne founded Live Love Backpack to inspire others to make a positive difference in the world through traveling, volunteering, and self-awareness. Darlynne has traveled to over 76 countries. Family adventures include backpacking off the beaten path, hiking in Ontario and creating happy memories.