Deaf Life11th November 2013

The Wonders of Kite Flying

In bygone years dads used to know how to make a kite with their children. We thought we would show you how

by Sarah Lawrence

If I've heard it once, I have heard it a thousand times - there is just nothing for kids to do these days. What can they do, where can they go? The trouble is we have forgotten about some of the things mums and dads did with their children 30, 40 and more years ago, when money was a lot tighter and before we all got caught up in the 'want it now' and 'want to buy it cheap' mentality.

A wonderful cheap activity, perfect for the weather systems on the UK shores is kite flying. I used to love it and on the odd occasion I see children flying kites today, you can tell they love it to.

The Kite:

A thing of enchanchment, beauty and mystery.

To children an object of awe and enjoyment.

To adults a chance to relive childhood.

To all, the kite gives freedom from the pressures of the modern world.

To feel the freedom of one's kite when the wind lifts the canopy and makes it soar into the sky.

The thrill of a controlled stunter kite as you steer it across the sky, tracing enchanting patterns with its long tail streamer.

The feel and mysteries of the wind as it pulls on your line and brushes your cheeks into a glow of colour, the fresh air in your lungs and the relaxtion of body and mind.

Is this not still an activity that parents and children can enjoy together. Better still, highly visual and using other senses, kite flying seems like a perfect activity for deaf families.

In these days of mass production and a throw away society, some of the old skills commonly used by mums and dads are slipping away, so I thought I'd fight that today, by re-introducing the activity of kite flying. Thanks to a lovely older deaf man, I'm also going to set out how to make a kite.

Buying a kite which has been professionally made by a good quality manufacturer, will always ensure that your kite flies properly with little practice, but to build one's own that flies well is a matter of great and enjoyment. Even the children will enjoy it!

The first kite I am going to choose is the classic Diamond Kite, a type of kite that has been around for many years and survived the test of time.

To make this kite:

Take one piece of wooden dowel 5mm thick and 915mm long and one piece 4mm thick and 710mm long.

Drill a small hole at each end of the dowels about 12mm from the ends.

Cut a small piece of plastic tube and rill holes as shown in the drawing for the dowl rods to go through. If the plastic tube is not available then the two dowels can be tied togather with cord, making the + shape.

The joint should be 305mm from the top of the longest dowel.

Thread the cord through the holes at all four ends and secure, but not so tight to pull it out of shape.

Next, lay a piece of good paper (or dustbin liner, nylon, piece of silk) on the floor. Cut it to shape, making a 25mm overlap. Fold over all the way round the dowl frame, securing with glue, or if you want to have a really posh kite and have used silk or nylon, woth a needle and thread.

Make a two legged bridle using a piece of cord that is 1.39m long. Tie each end firmly at the top and bottom of the kite, as shown by the crosses on the diagram.

Then find your towing point on the bridle, (This will vary in different wind conditions, so will need to be subject of trial and error when trying to fly your kite) and tie the main kite line.

A tail may be attached to stablalise the kite using a strip of light material, black bin bag or brown paper.

Depending on the materials made to use your sail children might like to paint a pattern, making your kite totally unique. The only job left to do is to find a suitably windy day, a safe location away from power lines and you are ready to go.

Making your own kite takes a little bit of time, but should cost no more than a few pounds to make and if children are involved in the making, they will have great fun making their kite fly!

Article by Sarah Lawrence

posted in Community / Deaf Life

11th November 2013