Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Kites for Spring
The preschool where I teach had a kite theme so I wanted to introduce the Chinese tradition of kites to the children. It was with some trepidation I ventured into kites. Three dimension construction is not my forte. In college, I remember having fits constructing a complex box kite from thin dowel rods for a sculpture class only to have it crushed flat between heavy doors carrying it to the dining hall. My older son and I did not work together smoothly making a kite for a scout den meeting which was an embarrassing public display. But when I picked out a children's book at the library explaining the history of Chinese kites and thus the Chinese New Year, I got an idea to make the dragon kite using paper plates. This was a managable and easy medium and I think the results are quite impressive. I can see making the individual plates more elaborate perhaps with cloth or tissue paper and making some spectacular looking kites. Getting them to fly would take some engineering skills I don't possess but I feel it could be done. The only real problem I had was when hanging the plates on the ceiling. I had knots tied in the yarn to hold the plates in place along the string but the weight of the plates slid all the plates to the bottom of the string and pulled the knots too tight to hold the plates. The head of the dragon is made from a milk jug. The children were to draw wishes on the plates but many focused on animal kites and symbols they saw in the book. They really loved the book, Kites: Magic Wishes That Fly Up to the Sky by Demi.