Children of any age can participate in kite making – toddlers can help decorate the kite paper, preschoolers will love cutting up string as well as gluing the paper to the kite frame, and your school-age kids can practice their math by measuring with rulers, gauging balance and tying ribbons evenly onto the tail. Then, everyone can fly it together.
Here's what you'll need to start your kite project:
• Two doweling rods, or two straight bamboo or wooden sticks. One should be 16 inches, the other 24 inches.
• String or twine (the tail should be made from string as opposed to heavy twine)
• Utility knife
• Strong string
• One sheet of strong paper (about 102 cm by 102 cm)
Optional: crayons, markers and spray paint to decorate the paper
How to make a kite:
1. Form a "t" shape using the two rods (the short one goes horizontal and over the long one, at about one-third of the way down).
2. Using either string or twine, fasten the two sticks together so they are at right angles to each other. For added durability, dab glue onto the joint you have made.
3. You will need to cut notches on the ends of the sticks (there will be four notches in total), and they must be wide enough to accommodate the string or twine that will be used to form the frame.
4. To make the kite frame, cut a single piece of string long enough to go around the kite frame, along with some excess. Starting at the top of the kite frame, insert the string into the notch and wind it around the rod a few times to fasten it. Continue to draw it around the rest of the notches to make the frame. When the string is back at the top, tie the two ends together in a knot.
5. Lay out your sail material flatly on the floor or a table. Place your kite frame on top of it face down. Cut out your sail material to match the shape of your kite, but make sure to leave a margin of a few centimetres around the frame.
6. Fold the margins over the string and tape or glue the material to the frame, ensuring it is taught.
Page 1 of 2 -- Get the kids to help! Ideas on page 2.7. Tie a piece of string to each end of the shorter stick (the string must be a little longer than the length of the stick). Then do the same for the longer stick (again, making sure the string is somewhat longer than the stick).
8. With one hand, pick up the kite by the strings you have just tied, find where they intersect, then tie that point together with a small piece of string. This is where you will tie your kite string when you are ready to fly it.
9. To make a tail, cut another length of lightweight string and tie ribbons to it roughly 10 cm apart. It's better to tie the tail to the kite, rather than glue it, as you may want to vary the length of the tail according to the wind.
Where the kids can help:
• Get the kids to decorate the paper beforehand (make sure not to weigh down the paper with heavy stickers, or cut-outs)
• Kids love to tie the ribbons on because they don't have to be perfectly tied, but try to ensure they are evenly spaced – you can use markers to show where the ribbons should be tied.
Tips for flying:
• A lightweight paper kite like this is delicate, so moderate winds are best
• Don't fly your kites near trees or overhead wires, as they may get caught
• Kites fly best when they are balanced, so if you notice the kite is tipping to one side when you pick it up by the intersected two strings, glue some paper onto the other side.
• The tail provides stability in the air, so a stronger wind may need a longer tail, while a lighter wind may require you to shorten the tail in order to get it launched.
• Most of all: have fun!
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