Go Fly a Kite!

Let’s Go Fly a Kite
Let’s go fly a kite
Up to the highest height
Let’s go fly a kite
And send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let’s go fly a kite

“Mary Poppins” {1964 Disney film}

go fly a kite 1

The month of April has been declared National Kite Month by the American Kitefliers Association and the Kite Trade Association International.  Kite flying is great fun and a perfect way to celebrate the arrival of spring. You can buy a kite or make your own.  There are many different kinds of kites, but I am going to focus on the simple Diamond Kite…like the ones I remember from my childhood and that you see my grandson, A.J., flying with his grandfather, Papa Steve, above.

Making and flying kites is an educational adventure!  You can learn about science, physics, math, history (think Benjamin Franklin and The Wright Brothers), culture, weather, ecology, art, and aesthetics.  

Kite Basics

A kite is a heavier-than-air object that flies… just like an airplane.  The Diamond Kite has  4 main components:

  1. Frame
  2. Kite covering
  3. Tail
  4. Bridle & line

go fly a kite 2The kite body is made up of a framework and outer covering.  The framework is usually made from a lightweight material like wood or plastic.  Paper, fabric, or plastic is then stretched over the framework, turning it into a sort of wing.  The bridle and the control line help the kite flyer control the kite.  In flight, the kite is connected to the kite flyer by the control line, which is connected to the kite by the bridle.  The kite pivots and dives about the point where the bridle connects to the control line.

How Kites Fly
Kites need wind (moving air) to fly.  When a kite is lifted by the wind, the wind pushes against the whole surface of the kite to lift it up.  To find out if there’s enough wind to fly a kite, go outside and look up. If you see leaves blowing on trees or flags waving sideways, it’s probably good kite-flying weather. When the wind is strong enough to move a flag, it’s moving at 7 to 18 miles per hour. That’s just right to lift a typical kite.  You can make your kite dance across the sky by pulling in and letting out the line.

How to Fly a Kite

  1. Stand with your back to the wind. Hold your kite up by the bridle point and let the line out. If there is sufficient wind, your kite will go right up. Let the kite fly away from you a little, then pull in on the line as the kite points up so it will climb. Repeat this until your kite gains the altitude necessary to find a good steady wind.
  2. For younger children or if there is light wind, have a helper take the kite downwind and hold it up. On command, the helper releases the kite and the flier pulls the line hand-over-hand while the kite gains altitude.
  3. If there is no helper, prop the kite up against a bush, post, or wall. Reel out enough line for altitude and simply pull the kite aloft.
  4. If the kite sinks tail first, there might not be enough wind. If it comes down head first or spins, there might be too much wind.
  5. Adding tails to your kite helps it remain stable in stronger wind. Use light-weight materials so you can use lots!
  6. Be sure your kite is put together correctly or it may not fly.

Kite Safety
Parks, beaches, and open fields are great for flying kites. The more room you have, the more line you can let out.  It is each kite flier’s responsibility to think about safety and what you are doing.

  • Be considerate of others.
  • Be aware of who or what is behind you as well as in front of you.
  • Kite lines conduct electricity so do not fly near overhead power lines.
  • Never fly in rain or lightening.  Electricity in clouds is attracted to damp kite lines.
  • Always fly away from other people, kites, kite lines, and kite fliers.
  • Never fly with your line across a road.  If the kite comes down, you can cause a serious accident.
  • If you do tangle lines with another kite, don’t yank the line or it might break.  Fliers should walk together and the tangle will slide right down the line to where you can unwrap it.

Decorate a Kite
Decorate this easy-flying “blank canvas” polyester kite with paint, markers,  stampers and stamp pads, and stickers. Then assemble and lift that kite into the bright blue sky and let the breeze take it and you wherever it may.  Have fun!

kidskite

Product Recommendations:
Decorate a Kite – kit for 12 (KIDSKITE)
Colorations® Super Stamper Classroom Pack (STAMPACK)
Colorations® Washable Stamper Markers Bucket – 44 pieces (STAMPBUCK)
Colorations® Permanent Marker classroom Pack – 84 pieces (PERMPAK)
Colorations® Fabric Paint – set of 12 (FABSET)
Colorations® Fabric Paint Classroom Pack – set of 100 (FABPACK)
Colorations® Washable Chubbie Marker Classroom Pack – set of 30 (COLORMRK)
3-D Gem Stickers – 2150 pieces (RAZZDAZZ)

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