It started out with my youngest beavering away to make his own kite, presumably being inspired by some brave kite-flyers and surfers on the beach the other day. He wanted a bit of help with the tail, so I gave him some coloured paper and showed him how he could stick triangles on to create the ‘bow’ effect.
Once my eldest saw it, he wanted to make one too, so, with “Let’s go fly a kite” from Mary Poppins ringing in my ears, I helped him make a diamond-shaped one, thinking that they’d look nice and jolly suspended from the ceiling. But that wasn’t what he in mind – as far as he was concerned, we were going to make a kite and “…send it soaring”. Ahem…
How we made it…
- We stuck four sheets of A3 paper together to make a rectangle big-enough for a kite-sized diamond to be drawn. It’s obvious in retrospect, but we should have drawn the vertical/horizontal crossbars before the diamond around it (as we did it the other way and it wasn’t straight…).
- Then we stuck coloured paper to each quadrant and stuck different coloured spots on to jazz it up.
- Then we used some small green garden canes to make the cross structure which we sellotaped to the back.
- Then we cut some triangles from coloured paper and stuck them to some red ribbon for the tail.
- We put Sellotape around the four edges of the kite, to prevent it from tearing when being flown.
- We then tied white parcel ribbon to each end of the garden canes to form a cross-shape and tied a longer piece to the middle which became the main flying line.
- In retrospect, we should have also decorated the back (as that was the part of the kite that ended up being most visible when we tried to fly it), but there’s only so much cutting and sticking a 7-year-old can be bothered with – he wanted to get out and try it as soon as it was vaguely ready.
When the kite was nearly ready, I mentioned to my husband that we were off to the beach to test it – his response was luke-warm to say the least – he didn’t think it’d work and suggested buying one instead. It was a bit like the pirate ship all over again and just upped the ante to prove our own ‘Mr Banks’ wrong…
But by the time we were down at the beach, the reality-check had sunk in. It began to dawn on me that this would end up as another elaborate lesson in expectation-management – like the non-exploding Mentos.
However, it was more successful than I’d feared – although it involved a lot of running around and holding the kite high. I’m not sure why it didn’t catch a higher wind-current (aerodynamics is a bit beyond me), but despite one of the cross-bars snapping, it got a bit of height.
The making of Mark II…
After we got back home and fixed the broken bit, we ended up making another one using plastic bags and a different design.
Mark II involved making the diamond-shaped structure and the cross bar out of the garden canes first, then attaching different coloured plastic bags to it (a white bin bag and an orange Sainsbury’s bag). We also made the tail differently, by using off-cuts of ribbon which we stapled together (much quicker!):
We went out again the next day with both kites and although one of the canes snapped again (they definitely need doubling-up), it worked pretty well and the boys liked running around trying to get them off the ground and watching them bob about in the wind. I wouldn’t exactly say that we “sent them soaring”, but it was fun giving them a go.
It also seems that Mark II won’t be the last as my eldest said “we’ll crack it by the end of the Summer” – just six weeks to nail it then…