Spring/Summer 2002

In early April a friend of ours celebrated a major birthday. He asked all his friends and relatives to donate their time to a variety of social agencies in lieu of presents. We offered our time to an agency that helps mothers newly released from prison. The day we volunteered was an open house for the moms and their families. Instead of working in the kitchen, we made kites with the kids. Since I didn’t know their ages in advance, I used our sled kite pattern, thinking that older kids could help younger ones decorate and fly.

The kite making was a bit chaotic because we had no set time for people to arrive. Even with moms and their kids and siblings coming in at various times during the 3-hour slot, the event turned out well. We had a fenced-in parking lot for our flying and the wind was perfect. I was exhausted; but 35 kids were happy, and only 1 kite got caught in a tree. We even made the evening news.

Kites…on a Roll® News

Some of you have found that your Malay Bird needs help to fly better in squirrelly winds. If your kite is dancing too much, you need more tail. Suggested ways to add drag: cut plastic strips from your pattern scraps, tape them to your existing tail; add a second tail; loop the tail or tie strips across the tail to make an old-fashioned tail. Any of these methods will add more stability to the kite.

Families get together more during the summer. Consider using our Kites…on a Roll® as a wonderful activity for this gathering. This is a terrific intergenerational project.

Hints for an Easier Activity

The volunteer project I mentioned above taught me that creating stations for each step of the project keeps the activity moving. The more stations you create, the smoother the flow of people. The first station was a welcome station that created nametags. That is always helpful when working with people you don’t know. Since we did not know the ages of the children and were reluctant to let everyone have scissors, we cut out the sails and tails ahead of time. The second station was set up for decorating the sails. (Make sure the kids have the top of the kite in the correct position.) They then went to taping the sticks, taping the tails, taping the bridle line and creating the bridle point. The last station was worth all the confusion—the flying. Always have extra tape on hand at your flying site.

An extra hint: For any workshop, have plenty of newspaper on hand, not only to cover the floor from marker and glue damage, but also to create a sense of territory.

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