- Paper straws (5 per kite)
- Sticky tape
- Greaseproof paper
- Cardboard tube (optional)
Ideas of when to run this activity
You could do this activity around International Kite Day on 11 January.
Before you begin
- Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional help to carry out your risk assessment, including examples can be found here. Don’t forget to make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.
- Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers.
Introduce the activity
- Gather everyone together and tell everyone you’re going to be making kites.
- Ask everyone to find a space or sit at a table and give out the craft materials.
Making the frame
- Take two straws. You’ll be joining these together to make the horizontal part of your kite’s frame. This is known as the crossbar.
- Pinch the end of your first straw and slide it into the end of your second straw.
- Use a small amount of sticky tape to hold the two straws together.
- Now, doing the same again, pinch and attach three straws together, then secure them with sticky tape. This’ll be the vertical part of your kite’s frame. This is known as the spine.
- Lay the crossbar part over the frame to make a cross shape, noting where the two parts will cross.
- Take a piece of string.
- Knot one end of the string onto the crossbar, tying the knot at the point where it overlaps or crosses over the frame.
- Now, you need to loop the string around the crossbar and frame to fix both parts together.
- You should loop it diagonally around the cross a few times one way and the other, then tie a knot to make it secure.
Making the kite's sail
- Now that you’ve got your frame, you need to make the sail of your kite.
- Lay your frame onto some greaseproof paper.
- Use a pencil to draw a diamond shape, as big as your frame, on the greaseproof paper.
- Carefully cut out your diamond shape.
- Lay your frame on top of your shape.
- Use sticky tape to stick the end of each straw down onto the greaseproof paper. You may want to add extra sticky tape going along the straws too
- Next, you need to attach some string. This is so you can fly your kite. It's known as the kite line or flying line.
- Take a long piece of string. Tie one end onto the cross of your kite’s frame. The other end will be the handle, which you can make a spool for. You might also want to tie the loose end of the string to a stick, so you can wrap the string around the stick.
- Another way to attach your flying line is to tie a piece of string from one end of your horizontal stick, to the other. Then tie your flying line onto the centre of this piece of string.
Make a spool (optional)
- You could use a cardboard tube to make spool for your kite.
- With adult help and supervision, carefully make a small hole in one side of your tube. Put some plasticine inside the tube and using a blunt pencil, push the pencil through the cardboard tube and into the plasticine to make a hall. Mind your fingers!
- You may also want to snip a hole into the top of the cardboard tube using scissors, again with adult supervision and help.
- Thread the end of your string through the hole. Push the string through, so it comes out one end of the tube.
- Next, carefully tie a knot at the end, so it stays inside the tube and can’t go back through the hole.
- You can now wind your string around your cardboard tube.
Add a tail (optional)
You could attach ribbons or strips of coloured tissue paper to the end of your kite to give your kite a tail.
- Make your frame from two long thin stick or twigs, one longer than the other. Use paper for the body of your kite and make a hole in each corner. Tie your sticks to the paper using the holes, then add some string to hold the kite with.
- Cut a diamond shape out of a plastic bag for the body of your kite. Use thin dowel or bamboo sticks as your frame and attach it together with some strong tape, then add some string to hold the kite with.
Flying your kite
- Now it’s time to test out your kite. The best time to do this is when there is a light breeze. You don’t want it to be too windy, as your kite might get damaged.
- Find a clear open outdoor area, away from any roads. Check that there are no overhead cables or branches.
- Remember to keep your distance from other kite fliers, so your kites don’t collide or get tangled.
- Face away from the wind, and hold your kite up high. Wait until you can feel that your kite is catching the breeze, then let go. Next, slowly let out a bit of string at a time.
- When it’s starting to fly, you can try gently pulling on the string to help it go higher.
- If you’re struggling to launch your kite, ask a friend to help. You need to keep you hold of the string. Ask your friend to hold your kite up in the air, a short distance away from you. When you feel that your kite is catching the breeze, your friend can let the kite go and push it up into the air.
Could you get your kite to fly? Did it work first time, or did you have to keep trying? If it worked, how did you feel when you managed to get it to fly? If it didn’t work, what do you think you could do differently next time?
Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using scissors. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.
- Outdoor activities
You must have permission to use the location. Always check the weather forecast, and inform parents and carers of any change in venue.
- To make this activity easier, you could prepare materials before the session. For example, cutting lengths of string or connecting the straws.
- Parts of this activity might be a bit fiddly. Encourage everyone to help each other, or work in pairs. Give extra support if needed.
- Make sure you choose somewhere that is accessible to everyone to fly your kites. Provide chairs if people will find it easier to sit.
All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.