'Fly A Kite' Workshop

by Joanna
(Washington, DC, U.S.A.)

Q:

I work at a museum in DC and we are participating in the Blossom Kite Day during the 100th anniversary of the Cherry Blossom Festival in March 2012. I would love to offer a family workshop outside amongst the kite flying.

Keeping in mind that we would like kids from 6-16 years old working with their parents outside to make kites, which design would you suggest? Could I find that suggested design in your book?

Thank you.

A:

My Simple Series of kites springs to mind immediately :-) This a short series of just 3 kites that were designed to be absolutely quick, simple and easy to make and fly. As far as materials go, you just need plastic garbage bags or garden bags, insulation or packing tape and wooden dowels (48" long, 3/16" in diameter) that you should find at most hardware stores.

Several reels of 30 pound line, each on a stake line winder from Amazon will go great with these kites. There's 500 feet on each winder so you could save some money by cutting some of them down to 100ft lengths and winding on to some small cardboard boxes or short wooden off-cuts. But leave at least one line at full length, so someone gets the thrill of seeing one of these kites going to 400 feet above the gound! All 3 kites are capable of it.

And yes, my latest eBook Making Dowel Kites does cover the 3 Simple Series designs. Being a PDF file, it would be a simple matter to refer to the index and print out just the pages containing the Simple Series kites. Do some photocopying and some stapling and you could have a number of booklets available on the day.

I would suggest you try at least one of the kites for yourself, during some spare time before the event happens. I could then help you with any minor hiccups to minimize the chance of any disappointments on the day!

Finally, some suggestions regarding age...

The 6 year olds will have fun helping to cut out the tail for the Diamond. Apart from that, they could decorate some sails with colored permanent marker pens.

The 16 year olds should be capable of making the entire kite by carefully following the instructions. The Delta is probably the trickiest, and the line must be connected accurately for it to fly well.

In between - I guess you just help out where needed :-)

The only thing that will really hinder flying success is too much wind. If the weather is calm, at least the kids can tow the kites up by running around.

Hope all this is helpful!

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P.S. Keep an eye out for books by kite author Glenn Davison, a prominent kite person in the USA.

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Wind Speeds

Light Air
1-5 km/h
1-3 mph
1-3 knots
Beaufort 1

Light breeze
6–11 km/h
4–7 mph
4–6 knots
Beaufort 2

Gentle ...
12–19 km/h
8–12 mph
7–10 knots
Beaufort 3

Moderate ...
20–28 km/h
13–18 mph
11–16 knots
Beaufort 4

Fresh ...
29–38 km/h
19–24 mph
17–21 knots
Beaufort 5

Strong ...
39–49 km/h
25–31 mph
22–27 knots
Beaufort 6

High Wind
50-61 km/h
32-38 mph
28-33 knots
Beaufort 7

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