National Kite Month!

31 03 2012

May is National Kite Month and celebrations run from March 31 – May 6. There are plenty ways you can get involved with this celebration. It is believed that kites were first flown by people in China over two thousand years ago!

Many people in history have used kites to help with their experiments, such as:

Benjamin Franklin conducted a very famous experiment in 1752. This experiment was to see whether lightening was electricity. This experiment was successful and allowed Franklin to create later inventions such as the lightening rod.

The kite has also been influential with other inventions, such as the airplane. The Wright brothers discovered that they could use kites to lift a man off the ground! After figuring this information out, they were then able to modify their kite so that it could simulate the wings of a bird, later leading to their design of the airplane!You too can create your very own kite with your own design! Take a look back at one of our blog post entitled:  How to make a kite! This will show you step by step, how to make your very own kite! By keeping the kite lightweight and not adding anything else to it, will allow it to fly more easily. You can still decorate it using color.

However, if the weather was not suitable for flying kites, there are still other things that you could do!

  • Draw and color in kite scenarios! What would happen if a kite got loose on the street? What would happen if a kite got to close to a power line?
  • Come up with a kite related word search and then challenge someone else to find the hidden words!

Some Kite Safety:

  • Make sure you are not close to other kite flyers otherwise you may hit their line.
  • Do not fly near power lines, the kite will conduct electricity.
  • Do not fly during a storm
  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Know your skill level, do not try to perform tricks that you are not ready for.
  • Make sure to keep a tight hold on the string of your kite, you don’t want it to fly away!
  • Avoid trees and buildings

But most of all… HAVE FUN!

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Step-By-Step Kite making!

10 02 2012

With the weather changing day by day, why not create a kite to play with on those windy days? Kites are simple to make, of low cost and can be decorated in any way that you like! Here we will give you a step-by-step guide on how to create a basic kite, but first:

How does a kite fly?

When you pull the kite using the string/yarn, a force known as resistance is applied from the wind to the kite causing it to lift, this is called drag.

What you will need:

–  2 sheets of Paper

– 3 Straws

– Yarn/String

– Scissors, Tape, Pencil.

Be sure to have permission from an adult, or an adult helping you before you start to make your kite.

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First: Tape the two sheets of paper together to form a larger working areas for your kie (as shown in the picture, left)

Then draw a diamond shape using a

pencil and a ruler to make sure it is straight. Then cut the diamond out carefully or ask an adult. (Keep the cut off pieces to use later)

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Second: Using the straws, tape them to the diamond, as shown in the image, to form a cross shape.

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Third: Once the straws are secured into place, take your yarn/ribbon and tie it, or get someone to help you tie it in a knot around the straw at the bottom on the diamond. Cut the end of the yarn so that your kite has a tail of whatever length you would like.

(The tail on the kite in the image was approx. 2 yards)

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Fourth: Using the pieces you cut off from the diamond at the beginning, draw a bow shape, or any shape you like. Repeat this 6 times so that you are left with 6 bows. These can then be attached to the tail of the kite to add decoration.

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Remember that all of the paper  on these kites can be colored and decorated however you would like!

Your Kite is Finished! Enjoy!






Spring Forward!

14 03 2010

Daylight Saving Time is here once again, meaning we changed the time on the clock today to be one hour ahead. But do you know why?

Originally Daylight Saving Time was created to help save energy. When we set our clocks forward an hour like today, we have more hours of sunlight during the day.  With more sunlight, we don’t have to use as many lights in our houses

and buildings, saving energy.

Daylight Saving Time also affects farming and flying since both rely on sunlight.

Don’t forget, today is the Zilker Park Kite Festival, too! What a great way to take advantage of extra sunlight.

What will you do now since there is more time to spend in the daylight?





New takes on kites!

8 03 2010

Here are the kites I was talking about earlier. These kites are a little different from the traditional kites, but will fly just as well and are a little more interesting.

If you have a lot of time and want a challenge, try making this tetrahedral kite:

Supplies:

60 long, straight drinking straws
Scissors
Kite string or thin, strong string that will stay knotted, at least 30 feet
4 wooden dowels, 1/8 diameter
Big sheet of paper
Newspaper, cellophane, or plastic bags
Tape
A pen/marker

1. Cut your string eight times as long as one of your straws.

2. String three straws together by pushing the string through the straw with a dowel. Tie the straws into a triangle. Leave two inches of string at the end. Then use the longer piece of string and pull it through two more straws and tie a knot so it looks like this:

3. Use this frame to make a pattern. Place the frame on top of the sheet of paper and trace around it, leaving about a one inch around the edge. Cut it out and use it to make ten cutouts of the newspaper, cellophane, or plastic bags, whatever you would like your kite’s shell to be.

4. Use the leftover string in the frame and add another straw onto the triangles. This makes a 3-d triangle, which will be one cell of the kite. Take the frame and place it on one of your cutouts. Attach with tape.

The kite frame.

Covering the frame with the shell.

5. Make 9 more cells. Attach all the cells together in the shape of a triangle with the leftover bits of string. To make them more secure, you can tape the knots and excess string to the inside of the cells.  Make sure all sides covered with the cutouts are facing the same direction.

The first layer should have 6 cells, the second should have 3, and the top layer should only have 1 cell.

6.  Cut off excess string between the cells. Along the leading edge of the cells tape your dowels to the straws for reinforcement.  Then cut two small holes on the top cell’s and lower cell’s shell, each in the middle of the cells. Tie the string around the dowels and straws and secure with tape. Then take the string you want to fly the kite by, and tie it one-third of the way down from the top of the kite. Wrap the excess around the left over dowel. It’s now ready to fly!

A kite ready for flight!

To make a kite out of recycled materials and for almost no money, try this:

Supplies:

Plastic shopping bag
Two thin wooden sticks
Duct tape
String

1. Take the two sticks and lay one other the other perpendicularly, so it looks like a + sign. Then take one piece of the duct tape and place it over where the sticks intersect.

2. Attach the 4 ends of the sticks to the bag with the tape. Then attach the string to another piece of tape and stick that piece to the bag of the center tape piece. Now it’s ready to fly.

I love my new kites and can’t wait to fly them at the festival or during the next few months.  I hope you go out and fly some too!





Make your own kite!

8 03 2010

This Sunday is the Kite Festival. To be prepared, I found a few kites to make. You can make them for anytime, and usually spring is the perfect time to fly a kite.

For a traditional kite, try this:

Supplies:

String or yarn, at least 10 feet
Tape
One large sheet of strong paper (I used recycled wallpaper)
Markers or crayons
Two thin wooden sticks, one 1 foot long, the other 8 inches long
Something to wrap your string around when flying

1. Use the two sticks to make a cross, with the 8 inch stick lying horizontal on the 12 inch stick. Make sure the 12 inch stick is in the center of the 8 inch stick. My sticks were a bit short so I taped a few together to make them the right lengths.

2. Wrap the string around the stick and make sure it is bound strong. You can use the tape here to reinforce the string.

3. Cut notches on the ends of every stick for the string to catch. Then starting from the bottom, take your string and fit it into the notch at the end of the stick. Continue all the way around the frame. Use the tape on the ends of the sticks to prevent the string from moving.

4. Decorate you paper if you please. Then place the sticks on top of the paper and cut around the  string frame, leaving about an inch around the perimeter. Then fold the edges over the string frame and hold down with the tape.

5. Tie a spring around the middle of the frame where the two sticks intersect. Make sure the string is long enough that the kite can have room to fly. Wrap the excess string around something easy for you to hold. I used a strong straw. Now try flying it!

Check back here later for some more kites you can make at home!