Kites for a Blustery Day

Outside the wind is lifting just so, ruffling the new leaves on the trees and chasing the old ones away. It's spring, a time to celebrate the rebirth of the flowers and the greening of the trees. It's time to go fly a kite and watch it buck and soar in the breeze.

You can make a simple kite all by yourself, paint it or color it with markers, and let it fly up in the air. 

Good Places to Fly a Kite

Open fields, parks, and beaches are good places to go kiting. Just remember to avoid power lines, roads, kite-eating trees, and other people. In our area, Maury Field, Old Mill Park, Kenmore Park, and St. Clair Brooks Park are popular choices. Kite-flying is easy and fun, but it's important to always play it safe.

Places to See Really Impressive Kites

If you love watching beautiful kites soar into the sky, make plans to attend kite club events in our area. Wings Over Washington kite club keeps a calendar of events across Virginia and also has some listings for other states. One of the most famous is the Blossom Kite Festival, formerly known as the Smithsonian Kite Festival. For 2013, the festival will showcase “100 years of friendship,” encompassing 100 years of blossoms, Japan-US friendship and springtime in Washington, DC. The Japan Kite Association, represented by President Masaaki Modegi and Yoshizo Sakuraba will demonstrate Japanese woodblock printing and painting, and the art of Tsugaru kite flying . The festival will be held on Saturday, March 30, 2013, on the grounds of the National Mall from 10 am to 4:30 pm.

At a kite show, you will see all kinds of contraptions. The parafoil designs can be really creative. They soar best in a stronger wind. You may see competitive fighter kites, a tradition carried over from China, India, and Japan, and modern stunt kites performing tricks Ben Franklin never dreamed of.

Read more about kites online and in the library:

In the Library

Catch the Wind! All About Kites by Gail Gibbons.
Ike's Kite Shop is the place to go to learn about kites and how to fly them. Includes instructions for building your own kite.

The Emperor and the Kite by Jane Yolen.
The emperor has never paid much attention to his smallest daughter, Princess Djeow Seow. Yet when he is imprisoned in a high tower, it is she who must use her beautiful, handmade kite to rescue him.

Kite Flying by Grace Lin.
Kites are an old tradition in China that's still enjoyed today. When the wind is right, and it's time to make a dragon kite, the whole family pitches in. Ma-Ma joins the sticks together, Ba-Ba glues paper, and little Mei-Mei cuts whiskers while Jie-Jie paints a laughing mouth.

Flying Skills and Techniques, from Basic Toys to Sport Kites by Rosanne Cobb.
A complete guide to kiting--from flying a paper kite at a park to para-kiting over the ocean featuring detailed descriptions of equipment, step-by-step photographs, guidelines for choosing a kite, setup, safety and more.

Kites: Magic Wishes That Fly Up to the Sky by Demi.
Long ago in China, kites were flown high as a way to send messages to the gods. The paintings on kites were the message: a dragon for wealth, a bird for peace or good luck, as well as many others. Today, people fly kites in a great festival. They fly them as high as they can as a way to show they are striving to be better, stronger, and smarter in whatever they do. This beautiful book, blending history and legend, also has instructions on making a kite.

You Can Fly a Kite [videorecording].
Create a kite, and teach it to dance! Lots of fun! Check out the history of kites and how they are able to fly.

On the Web

How Does a Kite Fly?
http://www.skratch-pad.com/kites/fly.html
A basic explanation of the physics behind kite-flying.

Kite Flight: Safety First!!
http://windstarkites.com/KiteSafetyFieldCard.htm
Read this through thoroughly, and then keep these important rules with your kite gear to help avoid nasty accidents.

National Kite Month: Kite Plans
http://www.nationalkitemonth.org/plans/
Has plans for four kites, background on kites in other countries, kite games, and kite photos from around the world. Includes teaching links.

The Virtual Kite Zoo
http://www.blueskylark.org/zoo/
Can't get enough of kites? Philip Le Riche's Virtual Kite Zoo has in-depth information on different kinds of kites. Advanced beginners will enjoy his list of kite terms, how-to knots page, and construction techniques.