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Old-Fashioned Fun With Things That Fly

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Toys that fly seldom fail to fascinate, even when they are simple paper airplanes or homemade kites. Have some old-fashioned fun with the grandkids by introducing them to these things that fly.

This is one in a series of old-fashioned pastimes for kids.

1. Paper Airplanes

You can recreate your favorite from your youth, or you can find patterns online. Just search for "paper airplanes," or "paper airplane printables" if you want to be able to print one with lines for folding. Teaching your grandchildren to make paper airplanes may not be as much fun as throwing them at that substitute teacher you had in fourth grade, but it just might come close.

2. Rubber Band-Powered Airplanes

Remember the fun you used to have with rubber band-powered airplanes? You still can. Find the kits at craft stores or Cracker Barrel for a few bucks. They assemble in seconds. They may not last more than an hour or two, but the look on your grandkids’ faces the first time they see one in flight is worth a couple of million bucks. If you want to get more creative, you can make your own airplanes. Instructions are available on the Internet.

3. Parachutes

When we were kids, boys made these with plastic soldiers, but today's kids are more likely to use a Lego figure. We used men's hankies for the parachutes, but you can also use a square piece of plastic, cut out of a trash bag or similar item. The parachute needs to be about ten inches square. Use ordinary string to tie the four corners of the parachute to the figure. Fold the parachute up and throw the whole thing straight up. The parachute should open, and the figure should float down. Experiment with different materials and folding techniques. That's part of the fun.

4. Homemade Kites

When I was a kid, we used to make our own kites with sticks and tissue paper. They never flew very well, because the sticks were always too heavy. There are lots of directions for kite-making on the Internet, but I like these one-page paper kites. They use ordinary colored typing paper and bamboo shish-kebab sticks. Guess what? I already have those.

5. Paper Helicopters

Paper helicopters are even easier to make than paper airplanes. Here's one set of directions, but there are lots of others available. Paper helicopters are dropped instead of thrown, so if you have a balcony or stair landing to drop them from, they are even more fun. Help the grandchildren color them in psychedelic tones to enhance the effect.

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