Let’s Go Fly a Kite

Did you know that kites are thought to have originated in China over 2,500 years ago?  The first kites were made of silk, silk thread, and bamboo.  By 500 AD, paper kites were being used.  Historically, kites were used to measure distances, test wind, signal, and communicate during military operations.  During the Tang Dynasty, kites were used for entertainment and kite-flying was believed to be good for your health.

We here at SDCHM love any excuse to get outside, have a little fun, and save energy.  So this week, we’re going to show you how to make a kite using a leftover paper grocery bag.

A paper grocery bag
A ruler
A pencil
Crayons, markers, colored pencils, or paint
Crate paper or an old newspaper
A hole punch

Directions (adapted from The Warlord's Kite by Virginia Pilegard and Nicolas Debon):
First, take a paper bag and cut from the opening to the base.  Cut around the base and you should have one long rectangle.  Measure and draw an 8-inch by 11-inch rectangle on the remaining paper.  Cut out the rectangle.  Recycle your scraps.  Now here’s the fun part: In order to transform a regular old paper bag into a colorful kite, you get to decide how to decorate it.  Traditionally, Chinese kites are decorated with mythological motifs or legendary figures.  For our kite, we drew inspiration from the fish in the koi pond in our Chuang Garden.  To decorate our kite, we sketched our design in pencil first, then went over it in a permanent marker, and then colored the design using crayons.

After you have finished decorating your kite, fold it in half, then take each of the halves and fold them in half backwards.  Your kite should look like this:

Next, place a piece of tape over the upper right and left hand corners of your kite.  Then, punch a hole in each corner over the tape using a hole punch.  This will help keep your kite from ripping when you fly it.  Measure a piece of string that is 18 inches long and tie each end through the punched holes at the top of your kite.  This will be your bridle.  Then, measure at least 6 feet of string and tie it to the center of your bridle.  This will be your line.  Next, tape several feet of crate paper to the bottom center of your kite.  This will be the tail.  (If you are using newspaper, select one piece of newsprint.  Start about one inch from one corner and cut towards the opposite corner.  Keep cutting and turning the paper, like a snail, spiraling towards the middle until you have a long strip of paper.  Then attach this to the bottom center of your kite.  Trim as necessary.)

The final step is to take your kite for a test drive.  Wait for a moderately windy day and head outside!

Did you try this activity?  Share photos of your kites on our Facebook page.  We would love to see what you did!

Thank you SDG&E for making this and other posts possible.


Popular Posts