Parent to Parent: Go Fly a Kite!
Parent to Parent
Go Fly a Kite!
by Patti Hermes
When the weather finally warms up and the snow finally melts away, it’s time to take up the wind and go fly a kite! You’re never too old to fly a kite, and even the very young can participate, making this a great family activity. All you need to be able to do is hold on to the line. The wind can take care of the rest, although sometimes it’s fun to get a running start, too.
Now where is the best spot for flying kites? You want to make sure there are no obstacles to catch your kite, like trees, houses, power lines. Play it safe and stay away from power line easements. If you live near the coast, the beach is a great place to launch your kites. Make sure they are good and strong, because the winds will surely be strong near the water. Inland dunes can be fun places to fly kites, especially when you can see all the kites in the air, but your friends are hidden between the dunes. But most of us don’t live near the shore, so we must hunt down our own kite flying fields. Unused athletic fields are good spots, although it’s sometimes hard to find one that is not in use. Football fields maybe your best best. Look for parks, schools, and even the parking lots of vacant shopping centers (watching out for all the light poles, though, could get tricky).
Small children with small kites can get their first taste of kite flying in a cleared backyard, as we did. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly my son got his shark kite in the air, over the tops of the houses, at only four years old. All it takes is the right wind, and a willingness to keep trying, over and over, to catch that wind. Watch out for that tree!
Kite flying has been around for centuries, and there are many, many different kinds of kites. You can buy an inexpensive starter kite at your local discount store for only a couple dollars, or you can go to a specialized kite store and spend whatever you can afford. It doesn’t matter, once you get it in the air they all look beautiful.
We still have plenty of rainy days ahead, which are good days for making your own kites. Aside from saving money, you get to put your own designs into the air, and experiment with a variety of shapes and sizes. You may already have all the materials you need laying around the house, or you can pick up supplies at a nearby craft store. A great site with precise directions on making your own basic diamond kite is www.skratch-pad.com/kites/make.html . You can find plans for more advanced designs here: www.kitebuilder.com/plans.html .
Making and flying kites inevitably leads to learning. Art, history, design and, most importantly, flight, all come into play, and you can’t help but learn something new. And let’s not forget the benefits of being outdoors and running around with your kids. So when the sun is shining (or just hiding behind a few clouds) and the breezes are blowing, get your family outside and go fly a kite!
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