A man flying a kite on the beach, a good locat...
A man flying a kite on the beach, a good location for flying as winds travelling across the sea contain few up or down draughts which cause kites to fly erratically. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even in the winter, making and flying your own kite is an option. As long as the day is dry, there is wind, and you and your kids are bundled up appropriately for the cold, you can make and fly a kite. There are some really wonderful designs and ideas for home-made kites, and they do not have to be complicated. Here are some ideas for making and flying some really cool kites.

Regardless of the style of kite you choose to make, the list of supplies is essentially the same:

– Plastic straws or wooden dowels (for the frame)
– Paper or plastic sheets (for the body of the kite)
– String (for the bridle and to hold onto the kite)
– Glue (for stabilizing the frame)
– Scissors (to cut paper or plastic sheets)
– Utility knife (to cut notches in the straws or dowels)
– Ribbon (for the tail)
– Paints, crayons, markers, and other decorative materials that are flat and light

Make a cross shape with the plastic straws or dowels, and criss-cross the joint with string to hold it together. Stabilize the joint with a drop of glue.

Cut notches in the bottoms of the dowels or straws using the utility knife. Then, run string through these notches to make a classic kite shape (like a diamond). Bring the ends of the string toward the middle, cross them over the middle joint, and tie in a knot.

Now, cut out the paper or plastic in the same shape as your frame, only bigger by an inch or two. Decorate it, and then glue it onto the frame.

Punch a small hole in the top and bottom points of the paper or plastic part of the kite. Run a piece of string through these holes so that the string goes underneath the kite. Make it loose enough to get your fingers under, but not so loose that it flops around under the frame. Cut the string off and tie knots to keep it from slipping through the holes. This piece of string is called the “bridle” of the kite, and is where you attach the long string to hold it.

In the middle of the bridle, tie another piece of string. This is your flying string, and will need to be long. You can wind the excess around a toilet paper tube, wooden block, or other piece of scrap wood or cardboard.

To the bottom tip of the kite, tie a piece of string that is about the same length as your kite. You can tie ribbons to it for decoration and added weight. This is the “tail,” and it helps balance your kite.

If you have trouble visualizing some of the above steps, there are a lot of visual tutorials online that can help.

Now bundle up, get outside, and enjoy the winter wind! You can even make this a community event, inviting people to make their own kites and participate.

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