Watching Planes and Trains with Kids

Watching Planes and Trains with Kids


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Some days you need something to do with your kids, and you may be out of ideas. That seems to be happening a lot lately thanks to this stay at home order. This is one we’ve picked up again.

Both of my kids love airplanes and trains. Whenever we see one of the two, there is a frenzy to make sure everyone sees it. It would be the end of the world if someone didn’t get to see yet another airplane in the sky :).

We’re fortunate in that we live fairly close to the airport. That means that there are plenty of airplanes to see in the sky. It makes for an easy activity to watch for airplanes.

In addition to airplanes, trains are equally cool for my kids, and a little more rare to see. There are train tracks that run down the middle (or close to the middle) of the city that we live in. This means that we see plenty of trains - more than we would like to when we’re late to get somewhere too.

Watching planes

There are a couple of different ways that we like to make this fun for the kids. First, whenever we’re in the car, we like to see who can see an airplane. You get a point per plane that you see first. This can be a fun car game. In addition to that, it also keeps the kids entertained on a drive that might be slightly longer.

The other way we watch for planes is just going out in the yard and watching from the grass. It’s kind of fun to watch the planes coming in and taking off. My older son likes to determine which airline it is that’s coming in as well.

There’s also a little regional airport that’s pretty close by, and it’s fun to every now and then drive over and watch the planes land and take off there as you can park right next to the runway for the little planes.

Watching trains

This one may be a little more challenging, but it will depend on where you live as well. Trains run all over the country, so if you live in a fairly populated area, there’s likely some train tracks somewhere in your area.

Regardless of where the tracks are at, I hope that you don’t have to drive over train tracks on a regular basis - at least tracks that get a lot of trains on them. I still have nightmares of the two sets of train tracks we drove across on a regular basis as we would see trains 3+ times a week. The kids love it, of course, but it’s frustrating.

Besides riding the train, our favorite activity for trains is watching them. Get close enough to the tracks where you can see the trains, but far enough away that you're safe. Make sure to find some active tracks - ones that get enough trains on them that you don’t have to wait forever.

When a train comes rumbling by, you can try to guess what might be on the trains - it’s actually a great opportunity to explain to your kids how things get across the country, and why trains are important for moving things from one place to another.

We used to live in a place that was quite close to train tracks. Fortunately, it was far enough away that we didn’t hear the trains all night long, but it was close enough that a 3 minute walk got us to those tracks. We would watch trains basically every day - they were very active tracks, so we rarely waited more than 10 minutes for some type of train to come by.


If your kids like planes and trains, then work on finding ways to make those things fun for them in real life. If they have other interests, do the same for those interests as well.

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