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! No special materials are necessary—you can construct your kite using our simple steps and some common household items. So, take flight this summer and let your child’s imagination soar!
What you’ll need
- drinking straws (the kind that don’t bend)
- bamboo skewers (clip off the pointy end)
Sail (wind-catching material)
- copy/printer paper
- plastic shopping/garbage bags
- wrapping paper
- Tyvek (polyethylene fiber material from which some mailing envelopes are made)
- magazine pages (newspapers and comics do not work well)
- junk mail
- crepe paper
- plastic bag/scrap paper cut into strips
- surveyors’ tape
Flying line and bridle
(choose one to fit size of kite and strength of wind)
- cotton string
- dental floss
- sewing, embroidery, crochet thread
- clear or masking tape
- adhesive labels or stickers can be cut to size
Kite crafting: 10 simple steps
1. Trace or copy the template onto your sail material and cut along the thick black line.
2. Fold the sail in half to confirm that it’s symmetrical. Trim as necessary.
3. Decorate the sail surface with the materials and designs of your choice. (Go to newparent.com url TK for a traceable butterfly or animal design, or create one of your own.)
4. Tape the spars onto the kite sail along the two “A” lines.
5. Tape the tails to the bottom of the kite at the two “B” points. A looped tail (connected to the kite at both ends) works well with a sled kite, such as this one. High winds require longer tails; low winds call for a shorter tail.
6. To connect the flying line to the kite, start by reinforcing each of the two towing “C” points (outermost corners of the kite) with a piece of tape. Poke a hole in each of the taped areas.
7. 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 the hole. Use lighter weight line for smaller kites and low winds, and heavier line for bigger kites and higher winds.
8. Find the center of the bridle: 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, making sure that when the kite is suspended from the loop, the two sides still align.
9. Tie the flying line securely to the bridle loop.
10. Choose a breezy spot and launch your kite!
A member of the American Kitefliers Association Education Committee, Meg Albers has been combining kites and education for 25 years.