Kites: Educational & Recreational
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
April is National Kite Month
Learning & creative opportunities for celebrating National Kite Month at home are endless! Kites lend themselves to lessons in geometry, physics, measurement, design, history, culture, literature, and more – and such lessons can be exciting and informative for kids of all ages.
Part of many momentous scientific discoveries, kites have served for centuries to study weather, have been used in examining the principles of flight, and, of course, played a central role in Benjamin Franklin’s discovery of electricity. These days, kites are used for recreation much more often than for scientific research, but a day of kite flying is an experiment in math and science in and of itself. Celebrate springtime as a family by spending a windy day testing out your kite flying skills!
Educational & Recreational Value
April is National Kite Month, an annual month-long celebration of the history, design, modern use, and outdoor activities of kites. Organized by the American Kite-fliers Association and the Kite Trade Association International, National Kite Month promotes kite-flying’s educational and recreational value to folks of all ages by providing online resources and community events to support families in learning to understand, build, and fly kites.
Educational and creative opportunities for celebrating National Kite Month at home are endless! Kites lend themselves to lessons in geometry, physics, measurement, design, history, culture, literature, and more – and such lessons can be exciting and informative for kids of all ages. Of course, the best way to learn is by building and flying your very own kite – so get building! Kite Plan Base offers a database of over 1,500 kite plans, which families can search through based on the complexity of design and ease of use that they’d like to have. Particularly useful for older children, Kite Plan Base’s designs often require a basic understanding of geometry, measurement, and perhaps some physics to understand how the kite will fly. But carrying out one of their plans is an excellent way for older students to practice these concepts and expand their understanding of how each idea is used.
When kite-making with younger kids, the possibilities for DIY kites are endless – and many (if not most) of them can be created using recycled materials! Families can make a simple construction paper kite using sticks found outside, take leftover wax or tissue paper to create a colorful flying design, staple together printer paper for a binoculars-shaped flying object, or turn paper shopping bags into uniquely decorated kites. Each of these projects presents an opportunity for practice cooperating, reading and following directions, motor-related skills like tracing and cutting, and using tools for measurement, and plenty of space for kiddos to exercise their imagination and creativity!
KITES IN LITERATURE & MUSIC
Add some kite-themed books to your reading pile to supplement your kite studies and flying fun. Western MA author Jane Yolen’s The Emperor and the Kite tells a story about a young girl who separated from her father and used a kite to connect with him. In contrast, Ji-Li Jiang’s Red Kite, Blue Kite (illustrated by local artist Greg Ruth) tells a similar story, where a young boy communicates with his father using a kite-code. In contrast, his father is imprisoned during China’s Cultural Revolution. Less serious kite-themed books include Oliver Jeffer’s silly story Stuck, and Kite Day: A Bear and Mole Story, a story of friendship and cooperation by Will Hillenbrand.
Get outside and enjoy the spring weather – go fly a kite! (And if the weather is terrible, you can always sing about kites with a young Dick van Dyke!)
[Photo credit: (cc) tengku iskandar zulkarnain]