I think "Mary Poppins" may have been the first movie I saw in a theater. Before that we watched movies on television and occasionally went to the drive-in. The reason I remember that movie fondly is not because it was my first theater experience, but because of the song, "Let's go fly a kite."
It was the most magical thing I had ever heard, because it captured exactly what it felt like to fly a kite or to dream of flying -- the swooping sensations, the thrill of going higher and higher. And when it was over, the reluctant tugging feeling as the string had to be wound in and the kite began to descend to become earthbound again.
You don't see many kites flying anymore. That's too bad. Flying a kite is something every child should experience and every adult should revisit.
I went looking for a kite in the store a couple of days ago when I started thinking about this article. I wandered up and down the toy aisles at least twice and circled them once more after that, but there were no kites to be seen.
So, that leaves making a homemade kite.
I found several different sources on the Internet, but they all seemed to take themselves too seriously and became too complicated for my tastes. But I will try to simplify the instructions.
Generally, you need two lightweight sticks, either actual sticks or 1/4-inch dowels, ranging in length from 30 and 34 inches or 26 and 22 inches -- so one stick or dowel needs to be four inches longer than the other. The longer of the two pieces will be the spine (the up-and-down) portion of the kite frame, the other is the cross portion. A notch needs to be put on the end of each piece of wood, about a 1/2 inch down from the actual ends.
About seven inches down from the top of the spine is where you place the cross portion, with an equal distance from the spine to each end of the cross.
The point where the wood actually crosses should be fastened together, either with string or lightweight glue.
Using string, attached to the spine about four inches from the top, make a frame for the kite. Start at the top and slip the string through the notches, then tie it off with the knot at the top of the spine.
With all the paper and fabric choices available you can make the kite from any number of things: crepe paper, wrapping paper, lightweight paper bags, sheer fabric or nylon.
Flatten the kite material and smooth it out. Trim it in the shape of your frame, leaving enough excess at the edge to hem over the string shaping the kite.
Put the frame on the material and wrap the excess over the string, gluing it into place, if it is paper or stitching it, if you are using actual fabric.
Let the glued product dry.
Next at the bottom of the spine, tie another string, leaving a loop large enough to put the end of your kite string through. Tie the kite string through the loop, add a tail if you want, then go find some open space on a breezy day and see if you can soar.