Pretend Play Travel For Kids

airplane pretend play

We love to travel. we don’t get to do it as much as we like or get to go as far as we once did but we still want to instill a love of travel, of exploration and geography in our son. Between the trips we do make, playing with maps and pretend play travel like this I think we are getting to our goal. I like making props because I find they support more complex pretend play, and keep the activity going as well as the questions and learning going as well! It’s easy to sneak in letter and number learning too.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some chairs and your child. Really that’s all you need, but we also used some paper,crayons,  a marker, painters tape ( protect your chair finishes) our passports , an atlas and a backpack.14th 056
  2. Start by making your boarding passes. We chatted about what to add, I asked him where we should be going and we grabbed the atlas and found our destination and decided on our seats ( letter and number recognition! ).14th 059
  3. He decorated the boarding passes while I made14th 061
  4. The seat numbers and pilot sign.14th 065
  5. And a ticket counter sign.14th 062
  6. Next we arranged the chairs14th 063
  7. Added the seat numbers ( in order so it took some talking and figuring out)14th 066
  8. Played- we acted out getting our tickets at the counter, showing them our passports, saying out name etc..
  9. Find your seat14th 068
  10. Fill the rest with friends14th 070
  11. Next I pretended to be a flight attendant and passed out snacks- he’s sharing with Brother Bear.14th 072
  12. Have fun by no means should you follow all our steps, make your own but don’t be afraid to use props. After we played like this my son played independently with his stuffed animals many many times, acting out things we did as well as many new scenarios.



Planes by Byron Barton is a basic little board book that kept my son’s attention as a 14 month old long enough to read it. It’s bold colors and basic text are perfect for introducing planes to babies and young toddlers. We used to read this before going on trips with our son when he was tiny and always took it with us as well.

the little airplane

The Little Airplane by Lois Lenski is the exact opposite to the previous book.  I have been around airplanes all my life and I learned more about them from this picture book than I have from anywhere else before.  To say this book is detailed is an understatement , it goes step by step how a prop plane works, and what a pilot does during the flight. The retro pictures are both a favorite of mine and my son’s, they take you back and make you feel like you are in another place and time. This book will be too long for young toddlers, there is a lot of text.

Angela’s Airplane by Robert Munsch captures children’s fantasies about flying planes and adds in a cautionary tale about what could happen if the fantasy became reality. Angela finds her way onto a plane and starts pushing buttons, before she knows it she is in the air alone. The plane crashes but she is ok, and promises to never fly another plane. Do you think she keeps that promise? My son adores this book and while you may think that the crash would be scary for kids it’s not , the ridiculousness of a 5 year old flying a plane makes the crash equally as fictional though effective in opening a dialogue about touching buttons you shouldn’t!

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The Plane ! The Plane!



Toilet paper rolls pile up quickly in a busy house,
so rescue a few from the recycle bin for this fun and easy craft! It’s not the cutest craft we’ve made but as soon as the glue dries it will become a favorite toy!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a toilet paper roll, a cardboard box ( a cereal box works great) , some paint, glue, scissors and marker.
  2. Draw the wings and tail of the plane on a piece of cardboard.
  3. Mix a few colors of paint, this is always one of the favorite parts of art time with my son.
  4. Paint the toilet paper roll. Let dry.
  5. Paint the wings and tail . I don’t cut them out before painting because it is much easier to paint it as one big piece. Let dry.
  6. Cut the wings and tail out.
  7. Cut a notch in the end of the paper towel roll, slide the tail in , glue the wings on and your environmentally friendly plane is done!


” Planes” by Byron Barton is a basic little board book that kept my son’s attention long enough to read it. It’s nothing special but when a child is into planes, or going on a plane ride this is a masterpiece and will fit the bill!

“Amazing Airplanes” by Tony Mitton is a little long for toddlers but a fun and fact filled book all about plane travel. The rhyming text is engaging and surprisingly educational. I really like this book. The illustrations by Ant Parker are really fun too!

” Planes” by Anne Rockwell is another book that won’t jump off the bookshelf at you but if you have a little one that points up to the sky declaring “Plane! Plane! ” every time there is any sound they will love this book.