Let’s Go Fly A Kite!

We have had so many windy days that I thought you might enjoy kite flying with your host kids!  Why not make your own with the children!  make-your-own-kites-med
 

 

Handmade Kite How-To

Supplies
Downloadable instructions
1 dowel rod- 2 feet long (3/16” diameter)
1 dowel rod- 3 feet long (3/16” diameter)
Pencil
Wood glue
Craft knife
Nylon, plastic, fabric or paper
Tape or glue
Lightweight string or fishing line
Ribbon or repurposed fabric
Kite string (on a spool) or lightweight string and a cardboard roll
Scissors

Instructions

1. Take your 3-foot long dowel rod and measure a foot from the top of the stick, making a mark with your pencil. Center the 2-foot long stick horizontally on top of the longer stick where you made the mark, creating a cross shape.

2. Attach the two dowel rods where they intersect with a couple dabs of wood glue. Once the glue has dried, use your string to weave in and out of the four posts until the two sticks are sturdy. Secure the end of the string with a dab of glue.

3. Use your craft knife to cut a small notch in the end of each point of your kite’s frame. Starting at the bottom notch in the cross, wrap a piece of string or fishing line all the way around, securing it in each of the four notches. Upon reaching the bottom of the cross, tie the string or fishing line into a knot.

4. Once you’ve built the frame of your kite, lay it atop one of the following materials:

  • Ripstop nylon: This lightweight material has a checkered weave that’s designed to prevent ripping. Purchase ripstop nylon at a fabric store or online, and the frame of your kite won’t require a combination of materials. While ripstop nylon is great for kites, any lightweight, wind-proof nylon is ideal.
  • Plastic: Plastic bags or sheeting (found at hardware stores) can easily be used to cover your kite. If you’d like to give your kite a decorative appearance with fabric, apply plastic as a base layer since most fabrics aren’t wind-resistant.
  • Paper: Newspaper, rice paper or butcher paper can all be used to cover your kite, but these materials aren’t always the best for especially strong winds since they can be prone to ripping.
  • 5. Trace the outline of the frame onto your material, measure 2” from each of the four sides, and draw a 2” wide border.

    6. Cut out your material and make a slit in each of the four corners so the material doesn’t bunch when you fold the border. Lay the material on top of the frame, and wrap the border around the outer string or fishing line of the kite. Use glue or tape to adhere your material of choice in place.

    7. Make the kite’s bridle—an arrangement of strings attached to the bottom of your kite that allows it to maneuver. The bridle is also what you’ll tie your kite string to in step 8. To make the bridle, Cut a 3 1/2’ piece of string, and tie one end around the top of the frame. Make a small loop one-third of the way down the string and tie it in a knot. Tie the open end of the string to the bottom of the frame.

    8. Tie your kite string or a lightweight string to the loop in the bridle. If using string that doesn’t come in a roll, wrap it around a cardboard roll.

    9. To make the kite’s tail, tie a 6’ long piece of string or fishing line to the bottom of the frame. Knot several short pieces of ribbon or strips of repurposed material to the string, each about 8” apart. After completing this step, you’ll be ready to fly!

    Flying Your Kite

  • The right weather: Check the weather for the wind conditions in your area. A lightweight kite will require at least 5 mph winds to fly while strong winds over 25 mph can prove to be more challenging. As a general rule, if you see branches blowing, the wind should be strong enough to fly your kite.
  • Where to fly: Clear, open areas like beaches, parks and fields are best for flying. Steer clear of areas with power lines and trees.
  • How to fly: Start by standing with your back to the wind. Hold your kite up by the bridle point and let the line out. If there’s enough wind, your kite will go right up. Let the kite fly away from you a little, then pull in on the line so it will climb. Repeat this step until your kite gains the altitude necessary to find a good, steady wind. The higher your kite flies, the stronger the wind.
  • Tip: If you’re having trouble getting your kite in the air, try letting out a small length of string and begin to run with your kite until it’s lifted by the wind.

  • Dipping: If your kite begins to take a sudden dip, run or pull on the kite string to give your kite a lift.
  • Landing: When you’re ready to wrap up your activity, begin to steadily wind the kite string around its spool. To prevent any damage to your kite, have a partner catch it as it nears the ground.
  • Tip: When you’re done flying your kite, consider hanging it as décor. We love the look of a kite hanging in a child’s bedroom. Try making a few kites of different sizes, and display them in a whimsical arrangement.

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