Kite Flying

Flying kites is a great spring activity and encourages your child not only to run around but also learn about physics: Kites are lifted when air is directed downward, resulting in a change in momentum that creates an upward force, and kept in flight by the string the flyer holds. The more string your child lets out, the more drag will be created and the higher the kite will fly.

Making a Kite

Kite varieties include flat, bowed (bending the frame gives the kite a bow shape and more stability), diamond and weather. For a fun at-home project for you and your child, try making a diamond kite.

Materials
2 wooden dowels, one 16 inches and one 24 inches
Strong, thin string
1 large sheet of paper
Glue
Markers, crayons, ribbons, etc., for decorating (optional)

1. Position the two rods together at right angles, making a cross shape. Bind the dowels together where they meet with string, tying a knot and cutting off the excess string.
2. (This step requires an adult). Use a utility knife to cut notches in the ends of both dowels. Place string through the notch at the top of the kite frame, wind it around the top of the dowel, and wrap it tightly around the edge of the frame, making sure it fits well into each notch. Secure the string by tying the ends together at the top of the frame.
3. Place the finished frame on top of the large piece of paper and cut around it, leaving about 1/2-inch margin. Fold the edges over the frame and glue in place.
4. Tie a length of string to both ends of the longer dowel and tie another length of string to both ends of the shorter dowel. Each length should be a bit longer than the corresponding dowel. Tie the two strings together where they meet in front of the kite; this is where the flying line will be attached when it’s time to fly!
5. Decorate using markers, crayons, etc., and make a tail by gluing ribbons to the bottom of the kite.
Adapted from http://familycrafts.about.com

Kite Safety

  • NEVER fly kites near power lines.  If the kite gets stuck, leave it there!
  • Avoid flying kites over people.
  • Never fly kites near cars.
  • NEVER fly kites in stormy weather or if a storm is approaching.
  • Always keep a safe distance between you and other kite flyers.

Here are some wide open spaces that make for great kite flying!

  • Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
  • Piedmont Park
  • Stone Mountain Park

Best Conditions for Flying Kites

Wind speed: 4-18 mph (light-moderate); causes leaves to rustle, trees to dance

Kites consist of several different parts:

The Spine is the vertical stick you build your kite around.
The Spars are sticks that cross or slant over the spine and give the kite support.
The Frame is the spine and spars joined together by lightweight string or twine.
The Cover is paper, plastic or cloth that wraps around the frame.
The Bridle are strings attached to the spine or spars that help control the kite while it’s in the air.
The Flying Line is where the flyer holds onto the kite.
The Tail is a long strip of plastic or paper that gives the kite balance.
The Reel is used to wind the flying line to prevent it from tangling.

For more information

The Kite-Making Handbook compiled by Rosella Guerra
For the beginner kite-flyer, this book gives you everything you want to know about kites, including the history, dating back to ancient China, step-by-step instructions for constructing your own kite, and tips for getting your kite off the ground.

The Magnificent Book of Kites by Maxwell Eden
This book includes over 1,500 illustrations needed to create a variety of kites, including 37 of the world’s most popular models. An added bonus is a list of nationwide festivals and events, kite clubs and stunt kiting.

Web Sites