Saturday, April 05, 2008


It is springtime, and although warm weather in Colorado comes a little later than in some places, it is getting to be kite flying weather. The winds of spring, coupled with the pleasant temperatures make for the perfect season for kite flying.

Kites have a long history, maybe going back as far as 3,000 years ago to China. They have been used for scientific experiments (think Ben Franklin and lightning), military applications, and navigation. Of course, kites are great fun too!

Now you can buy a kite and have fun flying it. Or even better, you can make your own and have the gratification of making something that will fly. Some of my early childhood memories are of my dad teaching me to make a diamond kite when I was about 4 or 5 years old. We would get the sticks, glue, and string, and use the paper from a grocery bag to create the surface of the kite. If you are artistic, you can decorate your kite to make it really unique.

I have also purchased my share of kites as a kid. Brands I remember are Hi-Flyer and Gayla. The store-bought kites used to be paper also, but they went to plastic and nylon over the years.

I have a particularly vivid kite memory of when I was about 8 years old. I was trying to get my kite aloft, and some of the older kids were taunting me, because they had theirs flying. Well, finally I got the kite up in the air. Not only was it flying, but I kept getting more and more string. I don't remember how much string I used, but the kids who were teasing me started bringing me more string, and by the time it started getting dark, my kite was so high you could barely see it. But if you looked closely, it was visible for miles around. My mom and sisters saw it from the mall that was about 3 miles away. To get it back down, one of the older boys got his dad's electric drill and we used a wooden stick on a drill bit to pull it back in. So as not to tear up the kite, we just kept punching the drill trigger in short bursts. Finally, the kite got back down, in one piece, but a little battered for its journey.

I found some kite-building resources on the Internet. Actually there are a bunch of them.

For a video on making a sled kite, CLICK HERE.
For a whole lot of other kite types, CLICK HERE.
For a history of kites, CLICK HERE.

So get a kite built and start flying! I think this will be a good project for me and my grandkids!

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