Summer’s here! We’re currently having our second brilliant spell of wonderfully warm weather, along with a little breeze to keep the air moving…and it’s just the perfect weather for flying a kite! Each year the kids make a new kite, and this year they’ve selected one from Asian Kites For Kids.
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Asian Kites For Kids: Make & Fly Your Own Asian Kites, Easy Step-by-Step Instrucctions for 15 Colorful Kites was written by Wayne Hosking, and we were pleased to receive a copy of it from Tuttle Publishing.
Tristan and Kallista love folding origami airplanes, and this is a step up from that; no, it is indeed very different! There are 15 kite projects included in this book, and they fall into the following categories:
- Kites from China
- Kites from Malaysia
- Kites from Thailand
- Kites from Korea
- Kites from Japan
In addition, there are also some very valuable resources included:
- Explanations for the different parts of a kite
- Making a Kite Carrier
- How to fly kites
- Troubleshooting tips
- Information o setting up a kite workshop
- Online suppliers for kite materials and associations
Did you know that no one know exactly where kites originated from? You’ll find out a few of the theories as you read about some kites from around the world; there’s even a very cool photo of a kite made out of a leaf from Okinawa, Japan that’s on my summer bucket list!
I thought making a kite would be a fun project for Phil to do with the kids, and I thought they would start with the Bug Kite…however, when I returned home from a trip to the library, they had already begun the Lark Kite from China.
Unfortunately, Northern Ireland isn’t big place for craft supplies; so we had to try to use what we had on hand, which in this case has made some difference in the final performance as they used something similar to butcher paper instead of silkspan. That is why I thought the bug kite would be good as it uses tissue paper, of which we do have quite a bit of red. But there’s no better way to learn about the forces of nature versus man than through trial and error, and half the fun is in the making!
Phil and Tristan drew and cut out the lark shape from the paper and glued it onto the frame. It took some time to dry, much to the impatience of Kallista.
On another day, Tristan took out his paints and had Phil mix an orange just to the right shade for Tristan’s liking. Tristan then used this to paint the body and feathers onto his kite. He took his time with this as he wanted to get just the right effect.
Finally everything was done and the kite was ready to fly!
Did it work?
Well…it didn’t work so well on this particular day. I think perhaps there wasn’t as much wind as was needed for our heavier version of a lark. I would say that we haven’t had much wind other than Storm Hector, but it wouldn’t have been advisable to fly a kite in that storm unless you wanted to risk being lifted and taken across the Irish sea to Scotland!
However, the lark makes a nice addition and flutters in the wind when hung outdoors, and it will also make a nice piece of wall art, so not all is lost!
The best part for me was seeing Phil and Tristan work together on a project that didn’t involve technology. Spending time together and bonding is priceless.
Next year (or maybe even later this year), I want to get in on the Asian Kites action, too…I have my eye on the Six-Sided Kite from Niigata, Japan as I can apply the skills I learned in a Japanese painting class to it as well when painting a Kabuki character to it (Kabuki is one of my favourites – I went to Kabuki-za four times while visiting Tokyo on different occasions).
How fun would it be to pair up Tuttle’s series of All About books with a kite, too?
So the next time your children are bored, instead of just telling them to go fly a kite, tell them to build their own kite, first and they’ll learn new skills and culture along the way, too!