Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Let's Go (Make and) Fly a Kite!

We've had a windy spring here in Blackfoot, so last week our first Art Adventures homeschool class made colorful Dutch kites. These kites require nothing more than a piece of paper, a glue stick, scissors, and string. It also helps if you have a broom lying around...

We used the directions for the Dutch kite in Margaret Greger's Kites for Everyone. These kites are sturdy, steady fliers and can be made from just about any type of paper... even brown grocery bags with newspaper tails! For a first Dutch kite, start with a 8 1/2" X 11" sheet of regular paper of any color (try Astro-Brites, or Hammermill colors). We used plain white paper so the children could decorate them with colored markers. The only directions for decorating their kites are to go for a symmetrical design, and to fill in all or most of the white space.

Then simply follow the directions at the above link to construct the kite. Children under nine or so can do some of the folding and gluing, but will need help attaching the bridle (which is tied to one-inch bits of broom straw, or broken toothpicks for larger Dutch kites). We used brightly colored strips cut from newspaper ads for the tails. You can also use a long strip cut from a plastic grocery bag. Note: I recommend that you eliminate Step 8 in Greger's instructions. The kite seems to fly better when the top two corners (and the artwork!) are left intact.

Create a small loop in the bridle of the finished kite, and attach a length of kite string through the loop. Wind the string around a small piece of heavy cardboard, and go fly your kite! No running is required; simply let the wind carry it up. (The kids were so excited - It flies! It flies!)Now , try making more Dutch kites of different sizes (same proportions). Use heavier paper for larger kites, tissue paper for tiny kites.

For another easy one-sheet paper kite, try the 20-20-20 Kite (20 kids, 20 kites, in 20 minutes).

Now, go fly a kite!

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