By Meg Albers
Making and flying a kite with your child is a great way to spend time together and teaches useful skills, even some basics of aerodynamics. Best of all, it’s fun to take advantage of blustery days! No special materials are necessary—you and your little one can construct your kite using our cute animal pattern and some common household items.
What You’ll Need
For the spars (framework)
-Drinking straws (the kind that don’t bend)
-Bamboo skewers, pointy end clipped off
For the tail
-Crepe paper or ribbon
-Plastic bag or scrap paper, cut into strips
For the sail (wind-catching material)
-Copy or printer paper
-Wrapping paper, plastic shopping or garbage bags
-Tyvek (polyethylene fiber material from which some mailing envelopes are made)
-Scrap magazine or catalog pages
For the flying line and bridle
-Cotton string, embroidery floss, or dental floss (use a lighter-weight string for smaller kites and low wind)
-Clear or masking tape
-Adhesive stickers or labels, cut to size
TEN SIMPLE STEPS TO BUILDING YOUR ANIMAL KITE
1. Enlarge the above pattern 200% to fit on an 8” x 11” sheet of paper, or go click here for a printable 8” x 11” version. You can scale the pattern up larger if your printer can accommodate larger paper sizes.
2. Trace or copy the enlarged pattern onto your sail material and cut along the thick black line to create your sail.
3. Fold the sail in half to confirm that it is symmetrical. Trim as necessary.
4. Decorate the sail surface with the art medium of your choice. (Get a traceable animal face here or create your own design.)
5. Tape two spars to the front side of the sail along the pattern’s “A” lines.
6. Tape the tail(s) to the two “B” points. A looped tail (connected to the kite at both ends) works well with a sled kite, like this one. High winds require longer tails; low winds call for a shorter tail.
7. Reinforce both towing points (“C”) with a piece of tape. Poke a hole in each taped area. With the sail’s decorated side facing up, put each end of a bridle—a length of line at least three times the width of the kite—through each hole, tying a knot that won’t slip through.
8. Suspend the kite by the bridle so that the two sides of the sail align exactly. Pinch the bridle together at its center and tie a knot with a loop at the end. Make sure that when the kite is suspended from the loop, the sides still align.
9. Tie the flying line securely to the bridle loop.
10. Choose a breezy spot and launch your kite!