Fall/Winter 2010

As an adult, I don’t have to go to school, but I can take many of the adult- ed classes offered. I recently enrolled in the study of Ben Franklin and am finding him to be such an amazing person. Of course his study of electricity and the use of kites had something to do with my decision to take the class. Ben’s birthday is Jan. 17; regardless of the weather, a lot can be done to celebrate.

Kites…on a Roll® News

A wonderful site, www.surfnetkids.com/ben_franklins_kite_experiment.htm, has various excerpts and links discussing this experiment conducted in
June 1752. 

The book, Benjamin Franklin: an American Life by Walter Isaacson, 2003, pages 140-142, gives a description of the experiment within the framework of his life and interest in scientific happenings.

For older kids, check out http://www.codecheck.com/cc/BenAndTheKite.html. This site discusses building and electrical codes, but B. Franklin is included because of his contributions.

Kit prices will be going up in January. Take advantage of the pricing now before it changes.

Two new links are added to our Links page: www.kitehistory.com/index.htm. By clicking on any of the historic individuals or kites, you will get quite a nice summary on the selected topic and www.scienceweekly.com/interactive/kites_Answers.pdf, presenting a brief discussion of kite history, kite parts and kite physics.

Hints for an Easier Activity

Duck® brand duct tape recently introduced new designs, prints and colors. Animals, the 60’s, hot rods and others are added to the familiar silver. Visit www.duckbrand.com/products/duck-tape.aspx and click on the color or pattern of interest.

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Summer 2010

National Kite Month was quite successful, lots of kites and kiting events held all over the country. Even though the month is over, there are some special days this summer that would definitely encourage kite flying: June 21–Summer Solstice, flying late on the longest day of the year; June 27–Sunglasses Day (though, sunglasses should be worn when kite flying); July 2–World UFO Day; Aug. 15– Relaxation Day; Aug. 23–Ride the Wind Day. For more dates to use as an excuse (as if you needed one) to fly a kite, visit

Kites…on a Roll® News

The Fly Me Kite kit, the clever, paper-bag-make-into-a-kite-kit has been redesigned! Easier instructions and safety tips are now printed on the actual kite sail, and slats have been added for the kite to fly in more wind.

A Girl Scout leader for Cadettes (girls in the 6th-8th grades) suggested using our kits as an activity for their Journey It’s Your Planet-Love it. Breathe. The kite making and flying would certainly take the girls outdoors and help them learn about air.

For a fun activity to add to the kite making, visit www.freekidscoloring.com/sports/kite and download some kite pages to color.

Hints for an Easier Activity

Another way to attach the bridle line to the Sled sail: Instead of taping each end of the bridle string to each corner of the sail, stick 1/2 of the tape on the back of the sail and fold the remainder over to the front. Using a hole punch, create a hole about 1/4” from the triangular point on each side of the sail. Pull about 2” from each end of the bridle string through the holes and tie. The tape acts like a paper reinforcement. Then pull out your line and make a loop in the middle to create the bridle point.

A toothpick is a handy hole punch for the Malay Bird kite. Use it to punch out the two circles on the kite sail. Stringing and tying kite line through these holes create the bridle point on the kite.

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Spring 2010

Spring is on its way!!!! Daylight lasts longer, seed catalogs arrive in the mail, garden and boat shows excite visitors, and National Kite Month is on the calendar.

Kites…on a Roll® News

National Kite Month is scheduled from March 27, 2010 to May 2, 2010. Visit www.nationalkitemonth.org for loads of information. You can find kite events scheduled near you, you can schedule your kite activity, you can find resources, read about kite history–everything you need to find to have a successful kiting event (except the wind).

Samples: We send a sample pattern with each order so that you can make the kite ahead of time and contact us with any questions. Please note that these are samples; sometimes the sticks are not the same diameter as the pattern requires or there is a printing error on the sail. The completed kits you receive are just perfect!.

Hints for an Easier Activity

NASA has created an interesting interactive site for middle school age kids and above who are interested in the physics and math of kite flight. According to the introduction, you are invited to participate in the beta testing of KiteModeler. Since the site is interactive, you can see what will happen when you change different variables of the kite you’re designing.

We have added another link from NASA to our LINKS page: a kite index listing all the topics in their Beginner’s Guide to Kites. Clicking on the subject line leads you to a scientific explanation of that particular topic.

Visit www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/k-12/airplane/shortk.html.

Keeping hands clean when working with permanent markers: have the young kitemakers wear thin vinyl (without latex) gloves purchased at a food or medical supply store.

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