I recently took my daughter on her first airplane flight. She became intrigued with every aspect of the plane – the wings, the wheels, the lights, the cockpit, and (most importantly) the flying.
A couple of hours spent piecing together or painting your model can clear your mind of the problems of the world. — says Brendon Udy from Deagostini.
I decided to extend her excitement home – building a model airplane! I’ve worked with children in a professional setting for over 11 years. I have expert knowledge on kids’ products (or so I like to think!).
However, my search was not so simple! There is a huge online market of airplane kits for kids. Which has the best features? Which is right for her age? Which ones will fly?
The world of model airplanes is so much more than meets the eye – from children’s craft planes, to delicate and highly detailed to-scale models. They can be static or flying, desk-top size to many feet long!
Fun fact! Did you know the first model airplanes were built from lightweight balsa wood and often covered with tissue paper? This was a time-consuming process that modeled the way full-sized planes were built at the time!
I was hooked – so I took a deep dive into researching model airplanes. I watched videos, read reviews, tested products, and explored forums (find some of my favorite content from Flying Giants here! I researched 35 products and chose the top 7! I even decided not to include Glider Planes and Viloga Mini RC Plane Kit in this list.
After reading this article, you’ll know:
- features to look for in airplanes kits;
- which airplane kit is appropriate for your kid’s age;
- where to find video content to teach kids about planes;
- 7 recommended products and a review of each;
- my top pick for the best airplane kit for kids;
- related must-haves for kids interested in building models.
Let’s get building!
What makes it great?
- Realistic, true-to-scale, and highly detailed
- High quality, durable plastic
- Authentically designed and licensed with the airline to display their logo
- Pieces are built to snap together with no glue required.
The Daron Airplane came in at the top of my list with its realistic, life-like, true-to-scale appearance. The colors pop and the model is licensed with the airline to display their trademarked logo.
It is an exact replica of what kids see at the airport and flying in the sky. This is a particularly exciting feature for kids, especially after having been to the airport.
This collectible model is ideal for kids wanting to learn more about the parts of a plane, how they work and how they fit together. Whether it’s their first build or their 100th, the ease of assembling the snap-fit pieces makes for a pleasant and successful experience.
The Daron Airplane model plane is built to last and will stand out as a quality and intriguing display piece for many years.
What makes it great?
- Ideal for experienced builders
- Realistic features including machine guns, glass nose, and weighted tires
- 138 pieces
- Illustrated instruction guide
- Decals Included
- The details and attributes of the Revell B-25 are well worth the amount paid.
The B-25 was one of the most widely used twin bombers during World War II. The Revell 1 B-25 Model stands out with its realistic weighted tires, glass nose, machine guns, crew figures, and decals.
Being a history enthusiast with retired Air Force in my family, this model was particularly impressive. Whether your kid is already interested in planes used in the war, or you’re trying to spark their interest in history, the Revell 1 B-25 Model is sure to do the trick!
Using the provided illustrated instruction guide, your child will glue the 138 pieces together, cueing in on their attention to detail. Following assembly, your child will embrace their creativity by painting the model to match its realistic colors and adding the included decals for extra defining details.
What makes it great?
- Ideal for younger children (5 and older)
- Simplistic model of a civilian airplane
- Wooden pieces made to slide-to-fit
- “Puzzle Style” Model
- Paintbrush and paint set included
- the puzzle-like building of this model plane promotes problem-solving, STEM thinking, imagination, and creativity.
If your kids are younger like my daughter, the Allessino 3D Paint Kid may be the best model plane for you. While it may not be the most realistic on my list, its features make it a quality design for young builders.
The kit includes flat wooden pieces that snap out of a wooden sheet, a paint set, and a paintbrush for finishing details. Creating an airplane from scratch is sure to intrigue your child!
The puzzle style of this airplane kit promotes focus, critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity. All of which are ideal skills for kids with a future in model building.
To choose an airplane kit that’s right for your kid, you’ll need to answer some questions. Follow the steps in my buying guide to determine the qualities best for you!
Step 1: Analyze Your Budget
First, you need to decide your budget. How much do you intend to spend on an airplane kit? Do you have a range in a dollar amount? Do you have a top price that is as high as you’ll go?
For instance, I chose a top price of $50. To determine this price, I considered that it was our first model build, that my daughter was still quite young and the time I had to put into building it.
Model airplane kits can range in price from $20 to the high $900s (and sometimes more!). Typically, the price you pay represents the quality of materials.
Your budget doesn’t have to be set in stone and can fluctuate as you explore options, but having a price in mind will be a good starting point!
Step 2: Consider the Interests of Your Kid
The next step to picking the right airplane kit for you is to consider your child’s interests.
I will tell you that my kid wanted a model plane that she could fly. So I knew that the top kit in her mind would not be the one that we would build and then sit up on a high shelf to observe. A static model plane will not fly, as opposed to a flying model.
She also wanted one that she could build in a short amount of time and then paint it in the way she wanted to. Some, typically older, kids want to learn how to put a model plane together from completely deconstructed pieces.
What is your kid interested in right now? Is it becoming an airline pilot for a commercial company like Delta or Southwest? Maybe they’re interested in the parts of an airplane like we learned here.
Is it the fighter jets used in World War II? Is it seaplanes that can land on a runway or on water (like this one on Blippi’s channel)?
Narrowing down your child’s interest to the type of plane, the activities they’d like to participate in, and what they’d like to do with the plane once it’s built will help you determine the model kit that’s right for you.
Step 3: Consider the Age of Your Kid
Recognizing the age of your kid and where they are developmentally will help you to narrow down the wide range of choices in buying a model plane. Kits are designed for kids ages 4 and beyond, some even targeting adult buyers.
If you have a young kid like mine, you’ll be better off considering kits containing larger, more durable pieces that can connect together, rather than needing to be glued. You’ll also want to look for kits that require fewer pieces and simpler instructions as an introduction to building model planes.
Younger kids will likely enjoy flying planes (either ones you throw into the air or ones that fly via remote)! Static planes that rest on a shelf are not frequently the most intriguing (or lasting) choice for this population.
If you have older kids, your possibilities are much wider. Once your child is old enough to exhibit the patience and attention to detail required, you can consider model kits with many pieces, intricate directions, and steps that may take extended periods of time to complete.
Older kids may place more value in static planes. The feeling of looking across the room to see a plane that you built from 150 tiny pieces is a proud and accomplished one – yet more recognizable as children grow. Depending on their interests (which we considered in step 2), your older child may want to experiment with model planes that have engines and can actually fly!
Step 4: Consider the Materials of the Chosen Kit
Finally, my last step is to consider the materials of the airplane kit. Considering the ties of the material in many factors from our above steps – like interests and age of your child.
Airplane kits for kids are assembled using primarily plastic, wooden, or metal pieces. While there isn’t a wide range in materials, there is a wide range in the quality of the materials.
Both plastic and wooden pieces range from extremely pliable and easily broken to strong, durable, and built to last. Metal models are generally built to last. When considering the materials in the kit, think of the intended use (display or play!).
Another consideration when looking at the materials is the design. Has your child watched a video like this one that explains all of the parts of a commercial airplane, as well as their function and purpose? They may prefer a kit that provides realistic and detailed plane parts.
Additionally, keep in mind that while some kits come with everything needed for assembly, others do not include necessary materials like glue, paint, and tools. These extra purchases will add to the price of your model build.
Good for kids ages 5-10 and ideal for group projects, birthday parties, and siblings.
|Amazon →Faber-Castell →Walmart →Christianbook →
Best for kids 14 and older with an interest in passenger aircrafts who want a display model.
|Amazon →Daron WWT →Airplane Shop →
Ideal for kids ages 5-10 who want a simpler version of the model building process.
|Amazon →HigherToys →
Perfect for kids 10 and older with model building experience who are interested in military aircrafts.
|Amazon →Walmart →eBay →
Good for kids ages 8-16 that intend to play with their model plane.
Targeted to kids aged 10 and older.
|Amazon →Sprue Brothers →eBay →
Best for kids ages 8-15 who are interested in model bi-planes.
|Amazon →Robotime →Rolife →Walmart →
7 Best Airplane Kits for Kids
Now when we’ve established our criteria and parameters in choosing the airplane kits for kids, it’s time to get to the main part already. Here are the airplane kits that I highly recommend for you to try with your children.
1. Faber-Castell Stunt Squadron Craft Kit
Creativity for Kids Stunt Squadron Craft Kit included the materials to create 5 flying foam planes.
These soft but durable foam planes are made for kids 5 and older who want to build, decorate and fly their own model airplane. The kit includes 5 plane colors, markers, and stickers for a fun, simple, and complete project.
- 5 airplane color options.
- Soft and durable foam.
- Indoor and outdoor use.
- Flying model plane.
- Simple assembly.
- 5 airplanes to build.
- Markers and stickers included.
- Flying model.
- Affordable price at $18.50.
- Unrealistic design.
- Small size.
- Limited “model building” experience.
Creativity for Kids Stunt Squadron Craft Kit is perfect for kids who want to quickly assemble and decorate their plane and enjoy flying and playing!
- Check price on Amazon →
- Check price on Faber-Castell →
- Check price on Walmart →
- Check price on Christianbook →
2. Daron WWT Skymarks Southwest 737-Max8
Daron Worldwide Trading’s Southwest 757 Model Airplane came in at the top of my recommendation list! With its to-scale, realistic, licensed representation of a true Southwest aircraft carrier, it’s sure to “wow” any kid who loves planes and their airport.
The snap-fit plastic pieces come together with no glue necessary and the finished product is sleek and showy.
- Display model with stand included.
- 1:130 scale Southwest 757.
- Realistic appearance, design, and logo.
- Targeting kids 14 and older.
- High-quality, snap-fit plastic pieces.
- Licensed with Southwest to display true logo and design.
- Simple assembly.
- Display stand included.
- Limited “model building” experience.
- Higher price coming in at $40.23
With its simple assembly and snap-fit pieces, the model can be built-in within an hour and is perfect for beginners.
3. Alessimo 3D Paint Kit
The Allessimo 3D Paint Puzzle Model Civil Plane Kit is a fun and engaging model airplane kit that will engage your child in a creative and motivating project.
The 35 wooden pieces slide together in a puzzle style to create a simplistic model of a civilian airplane. Once assembled, the kit includes paint and a brush to add finishing details.
- 35 wooden pieces.
- Simplistic model of a civilian airplane.
- “Puzzle Style” Model.
- Ideal for younger children (5 and older).
- Snap-fit wooden pieces (no glue required).
- Instruction booklet and video guide.
- All materials for assembly included.
- Great model-building experience for younger ages.
- Limited realistic design.
- May require adult assistance for kids lower in the suggested age range.
The Allessimo 3D Paint Puzzle Model Civil Plane Kit is great for kids with an interest in STEM and the arts.
4. Revell B25J Mitchell 1:48
The Revell 1 B-25 Model is a to-scale, realistic representation of the B-25, which was one of the most widely used twin bombers during World War II.
This static display model stands out with its realistic weighted tires, glass nose, machine guns, crew figures, and decals.
- 138 plastic pieces, crew figures, and realistic decals included.
- 1:48 scale display model.
- Intended for kids 10 and older.
- True model building experience (assembling, gluing, painting).
- Mid-range price at $30.29.
- Realistic design, figures, and decals.
- Assembly equipment not included (glue, paint, tools).
- Challenging build; may require adult assistance.
- Stand not included.
Although the kit includes an instruction booklet, the model takes attention to detail, extended time, and an established set of assembly equipment. Best for kids with model building experience.
5. Lucky Doug Model Airplane Set
Lucky Doug’s model airplane set is an ideal kit for kids who intend to play with their model!
While this model fighter can’t fly, the wheels and rudder are functional and the metal pieces are assembled with the strength to withstand play. Everything needed to complete this model plane is included in the kit and the finished product is an eye-catching, built to last, piece.
- 258 metal pieces.
- Larger size (4″ H, 14″ L, 16″ W).
- Intended for kids aged 8-16.
- Durable bolt and screw assembly.
- Metal pieces can withstand rough play.
- All required tools included.
- Clear and easy to follow instructions with diagrams for each step.
- Functioning wheels and rudder.
- Mid-range price at $25.99.
- May require adult assistance in using tools, bolts, and screws.
- Less realistic design.
Lucky Doug’s model airplane set is best for kids ages 8-16 that intend to play with their model plane. What it lacks in realism, it makes up for in durability and functionality. This kit requires about 5 hours of assembly time.
6. Revell P-51D Mustang 1: 32
The Mustang is the most celebrated fighter plane of WWII. The Revell Mustang P-51 Model is a 1:32 to-scale model that gives a true model-building experience.
This option is a great choice for proficient builders with an established collection of glue, paint, and tools.
- 158 plastic pieces.
- To-scale model of a legendary fighter pilot.
- True start-to-finish model-building experience.
- Full model building experience from assembling, gluing, and fine-tuning to painting and detailing.
- Realistic cockpit.
- Detailed instructional booklet.
- Functioning rudder.
- Assembly necessities not included: glue, paint, sandpaper, and tools must be purchased separately.
- Display stand not included.
- Higher-end of the price range ($46.99), plus the additional price for assembly products.
The Revell Mustang P-51 Model is best for proficient builders looking for a start-to-finish model assembly experience. This project will take multiple building sessions.
7. Rolife 3D Puzzle Airship
Rolife’s 3D Wooden Jigsaw Bi-Plane is a static display build, perfect for creative minds 8 years and older. The bi-plane features a natural wooden look and an included display stand.
This kit will spark creativity, promote hand-eye coordination, and require patience of your child. The easy-to-follow instruction booklet has this project completed in around an hour.
- 145 natural wooden pieces.
- Stylish and timeless packaging.
- Snap fit pieces.
- Natural wood design.
- Stand and instruction booklet included.
- Natural wooden pieces made with no.
- Laser-cut pieces for detail and accuracy.
- Detailed and easy-to-follow directions.
- Affordable price at only $12.99.
- Snap fit pieces – no glue required.
- Pieces are cut from plywood, a thin material.
- Some sanding is required to ensure a snug fit (sandpaper included).
Rolife’s 3D Wooden Jigsaw Bi-Plane is best for kids ages 8-15 who are interested in model bi-planes. The ideal builder will have attention to detail and ability to focus on small pieces. The timeframe to build this model is around one hour.
Related Must-Haves for Kids Interested in Building Models
Did your kid enjoy the process of building their model airplane? Here are three related must-haves I found for expanding your child’s model-building experiences!
If your kid is looking for a challenge, the 3D Wooden Prime Steam Express is the ultimate scale model vehicle. The 19th century inspired features are intricately decorated wooden pieces to make for a lasting design for display collections – even the packaging is stunning!
The pieces come in pre-cut wood sheets and easily pop out when you begin building. Assembly is complete by sliding wooden pieces into place – no glue needed (a huge plus for me if you’ll recall from my prior reviews!). The kit also comes with a detailed instructional booklet and accessory tools.
The kit comes with 308 pieces with problem-solving needed to assemble. The targeted age is 14 and up – a great joint activity for parent and child! Perfect for train-loving teens.
The 3D Wooden Prime Steam Express comes in at only $22.99, closer to the inexpensive range of pricing for these products. However, the quality is not compromised on this kit! Beautiful model for a great price.
I haven’t met many kids that don’t go through a military-loving phase! The soldiers, the tanks, the helicopters. Sounding familiar to you? If your kid is showing intrigue in military vehicles, the Revell SnapTite Apache Helicopter Plastic Model Kit is a great purchase for you!
The U.S. Army helicopter combat machine features realistic equipment including rotor blades, pilot night vision sensors, rockets, and missiles.
You guessed it – the 41 plastic pieces snap together, no glue required! The pieces are molded in color and the kit includes decals to apply after assembly.
The kit is perfect for beginners, targeting kids ages 8 and older. The assembly is simple enough for even a first build and at $16.79, it’s a great project to gauge your kid’s initial interest in model building.
The Tamiya America, Inc US Tank M4A3E8 Sherman Easy Eight continues in the military theme, but with the more advanced builders in mind. The cast metal design catches my eye and adds a truly realistic look to any model display collection.
The kit comes with an instruction booklet that is relatively simple to follow, but the finished product requires paint, glue, and modeling tools to complete.
The kit is targeting kids 16 and older. It is one of my higher-priced recommended models at $42.40, but the quality is well worth the price for this Tank.
- Airplane activities for kids to keep them busy all flight long →
- Parts of a plane →
- Principles of aircraft flight and operation →
- The history of airplanes and flight →
While there are countless options for airplane kids for kids, I hope this article made it easier for you to choose what’s best for yours! Keep in mind the age and interest of your kid, the budget you have to work with, and your preferred materials and you’ll find the optimal kit. Happy building!
Did model airplane kits spark your kid’s creativity and imagination? Consider checking out candle-making kits for kids next! In this article, you’ll find all of the information you need to know on buying the candle-making kit that’s right for you and your kids.