Shoestring Parenting - Let's Go Fly a Kite

When our kids were younger we liked to put kites in their Easter baskets. Spring days usually offer breezy kite flying weather and here at Woodsedge there are no power lines to get tangled up in. As the kids would work to get their kites in the air I would think about Charlie Brown and his hopeful but often disastrous experiences with his kite. If you haven't heard the kite song from the musical "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown", you should check it out, it's so funny and true to life.
Anyway, back to kites. Kite flying is such a fun Shoestring family activity. You don't have to buy the really expensive kites to have a successful kite flying experience. You can make your own. What a fun way to spend a weekend together, making and flying your own kites. To get started, read this beautiful picture book, Henry and the Dragon Kite (below is an excerpt from my post on Wondersome StoryTime about this award winning book.)

Henry and the Kite Dragon
written by Bruce Edward Hall
illustrated by William Low
Laptime: kindergarten - elementary
Story Circle: kindergarten - elementary

This 1920's story takes place in Chinatown in New York City. Mr. Chin, also called Grandfather, makes beautiful kites that he and the Chinese children fly from the rooftop of his building. Grandfather Chin can make the kites fly as if they were alive but one day the Italian boys from Little Italy start to throw rocks at the kites. Why would they do such a mean thing? Find out how the kids from Chinatown and the kids from Little Italy resolve their differences and bring peace to the sky over their neighborhoods.

This story is inspired by a man named Mr. Chin who lived in Chinatown when the author's father was a little boy. The book won the Jane Addams Children Book Award in 2005 given by the Jane Addams Peace Association for its depiction of peaceful resolution of conflict. Award winning artist, William Low gives us beautifully intricate and vibrant illustrations. I particularly enjoyed looking at the faces of the children; each face seemed familiar.

After you enjoy a storytime together, it's time to create your own kites. If you google kite making you will find lots of sites with directions. Here are two of my favorite sites:
How To Make a Kite Out of a Plastic Bag - I have piles of plastic grocery bags at home so I thought that this would be a great reuse idea. The site has clear instructions and lots of pictures. Along with this Wikihow article is a list of other articles on kite making and kite flying.
Make your own Kite - This site is the result of somebody's Independent Study Project for a physics class. The instructions for making your own diamond kite are clear and there are accompanying illustrations. What I really like about this site is all of the extra fun information - the history of kites, how does a kite fly, and kite flyers. I found the FAQ especially helpful.

Learn the lyrics to the song Let's Go Fly a Kite from the movie Mary Poppins and sing while you fly.
Let's go fly a kite
Up to the highest height
Let's go fly a kite
And send it soaring

Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let's go fly a kite
Let's go fly a kite!

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1 comment:

Gayle said...

You made me sing it! "Let's go fly a kite!"

My kids love kites. It is a great family activity.

My husband also does a kite unit with his 6th grade class that incorporates history, reading, and math. It is great fun, and the local paper has come to take pictures on the day that the students head outside to test their final projects. They are all so proud to get their kites up in the air. Pure, clean fun!