Tips and tricks

This page is designed to help you get the best from your workshops with hints and tips from our many years of experience. Got a question that isn't here? Just ask me!

Plastic kite decoration

What can the kites be decorated with?

The best thing to use is permanent marker pens, such as 'Sharpie' pens. You can also use stickers or acrylic paint and glue/glitter - but allow over night to dry

Sharpie pens too expensive?

You can often buy them in pound shops or 'The Works' much more cheaply. 

 

Worried about using permanent pens? 

Get children to roll up their sleeves and put paper down to protect your desks or floors

Tight on time?

Get the children to pre-draw their design and place it under the plastic for them to trace - this can save time on the day and take the pressure off children to come up with an idea on the spot.

Make or decorate first?

Decorating the kite before placing the sticks and string on is much easier and will allow for the image to cover the full area of the kite.

Images should be big and bold and fill the whole kite so they can be seen in the sky.

Not much time for decoration or coloured pens too expensive?

Just provide a black marker pen to allow them to personalise it with their name.

 

Paper kite decoration

What can the kites be decorated with?

he best thing to use is felt tips, but you can also use crayons and pencils. Paints should only be used on the kakudaku kites as this is special Japansese washi paper that can be painted on. Please allow to dry overnight before the kite is made.

Stickers and glue/glitter can be used but please allow the glue to dry before making the kite.

Make or decorate first?

Decorating the kite before placing the sticks on or adding string is much easier and will allow for the image to cover the full area of the kite.

Images should be big and bold and fill the whole kite so they can be seen in the sky.

 

Kite making tips

Teacher-led workshop

Although instruction sheets can be copied and handed out individually, I'd recommend the workshop is led classroom style where each step is demonstrated by an adult followed by time for the children to complete each step.

Step by step

The instruction sheets have been designed to allow you to make the kites step by step with the children. Make sure all children have completed a step correctly before moving onto the next step. This helps them feel confident throughout the whole workshop and ensures they all have a working kite at the end.

Sticky tape

Some kites come with pre-cut tape, but for those that don't, I'd recommend the adults cutting the appropriate lengths of tape and sticking them to either the sides of their desks or workspace, or somewhere else in the room where they can go and collect a piece each time they need one.

Unless child friendly, tape dispensers can be quite dangerous and the child won't always take a piece that is long enough.

 

Safety

Taking the kite outside

It's important to try and avoid tangles when taking the kite outside. If it is a sled kite (hexagon shape), then it can be rolled up with the kite reel and tails inside. It can then be placed in the little bag it came in or carried tightly so the bits inside don't fall out.

If it is a kite with a frame, such as the star or kakudaku, then ask the children to hold the kite in one hand by the centre of the frame at the back of the kite, and hold the kite reel in the other hand.

Children should be asked to stand apart from their friends and not to run across each other's path - just in straight lines up the field in the direction of the wind.

Getting the kite in the air

The best way is to have somebody hold the kite whilst the child walks backwards into the wind, unwinding their string. They don't need to unwind it all - just about 5 metres.

The adult should let go as the child tugs the string. If there is enough wind the kite will fly straight up. If the wind is low, the child will need to run towards the wind a little. Once in the air they can then let out more string.

Please try and ask them not to run in circles - this will only result in tangles and frustration! The kite will only fly when running towards the wind.

Field accidents!

Children can be quite rough when flying their kites; they will run hell for leather and not look behind at their kite which is dragging along the ground! This can result in sticks which pop out of their sellotape. Simply take a roll of sellotape and some scissors out to do on-site repairs.

Another common accident is the dreaded tangle which happens when children collide and run around each other in circles! Rather than try to untangle the kites, it's often easier to cut the flying string and re-attach it to the kite.

Safety

The kites should not be made and flown by children under 36 months due to possible entanglement by the string.

Another reason to ask children not to run across another child's path is to avoid kite lines cutting across a child's arm or neck which can sometimes result in a burn.

DO NOT fly near trees, roads and power lines.

 

Supplying kites from birthday parties to corporate events

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