Kite-flying has a long tradition in India, and Independence Day and Makar Sankranti are some of the regular occasions you’ll see kites swooping and diving above the rooftops of our cities and towns. But it’s a tradition that’s in danger of dying out, as children spend longer and longer in front of TVs and computer screens.
So, why not make kite-flying and kite-making one of your Independence Day activities this year. Just follow these simple instructions for using household items to make a starter kite that will inspire your kids.
How to Make a Kite for Kids
There’s quite an art to making fighter kites (putang), but they’re not safe for your youngest children to use. The ability to cut other kites out of the sky using glass-covered strings and clever combat techniques is the stuff of family legends – but many a finger has been spliced open in the attempt!
This starter kite uses a basic aerodynamic design to flutter in the wind and will take very little effort for you and your child to get off the ground. Your child will learn so many valuable skills when he or she designs and decorates this kite – and outdoor fun is always so beneficial for children. Here’s how to make your own simple kite.
Plastic Bag Kite Design
You will need:
- A large plastic bag
- Two sticks * Insulating tape
- A hole punch
- Some string
- Permanent marker pens
- Cut down one side and the bottom of the plastic bag to make a large expanse of plastic.
- Lay the plastic sheet flat on the floor and position the two sticks (bamboo is ideal) vertically, in parallel, about a foot apart. Use three pieces of tape to secure each stick in place at the top, in the middle, and at the bottom.
- Use a marker pen to draw the outline of the kite on the sheet: a straight line between the tops of the sticks, a straight line between the bottom of the sticks, and a triangle on the outside of each stick where the stick is the bottom of the triangle and the point is positioned two thirds along at the top.
- Wrap two pieces of tape over the points of the triangles and then punch a hole through each.
- Use a two-metre piece of string and secure to the kite at either end, through the punched holes. Loop to find the middle point in the string and tie the end of your ball of string to the middle.
- Use coloured marker pens to decorate your kite with an Indian flag or another inspiring Indian designs.
Make sure that you test the markers before using them on the plastic, to make sure that the colour doesn’t bleed. If you do end up with marker stains, check out the Stain Gang for stain removal tips.
- Now, it’s time to fly a kite!
Kite Flying Tips
Though kite-flying is lots of fun, it can also be dangerous – regardless of the type of kite you’re flying.
Here are some safety dos and don’ts to keep you and your child from harm:
- Do help little ones learn to fly a kite by working in a team: let them hold the string, while you position the kite to catch the wind. You should also look out for potential obstacles that they might not otherwise see.
- Don’t let a young child fly a kite unsupervised. * Do always make sure you’re in a clear open area before your attempt to fly your kite.
- Don’t allow the kite to come into contact with electricity lines or other electrical appliances, as this could result in an electric shock and death.
- Do be careful of low walls, fences, slopes and other obstacles when running with a kite.
- Don’t fly near busy roads or over-hanging trees.
- Do be careful when trying to retrieve kites when trapped in hard-to-reach places.
- Don’t make the kite swoop low around other people – it could cause injuries.
Have you ever flown a kite with your little ones? Or do you have ideas for kite designs? Let us know in the comments below!