Tiny Chinese Kite

Why

Celebrate the Ch'ing Ming Festival, or any festive holiday, with these Tiny Chinese Kites!


Steps

1. In China, kites were tools before they were toys. More than 2,500 years ago, wooden kites were flown there. Silk kites were used for religious purposes. When released, the kites became flying messages, soaring upwards to sky spirits. With the invention of paper, kites were more available and were used to help with farming and fishing. Can you think of how a kite would help with these jobs?


2. Kites performed military tasks such as calling troops to action. Soldiers flew in kites to spy on enemies and to enter walled cities. One story tells how kites with flutes were flown over military troops who became so homesick from their music that the soldiers gave up and went home.


3. Now kites are flown for pleasure and competition. There are many kite festivals in China. The Ch'ing Ming Festival falls 106 days after the winter solstice. It is a time to remember ancestors, family members who lived before you. Families pay respects to their dead relatives by visiting and cleaning their grave sites. Ch'ing Ming means Pure Brightness. Why do you suppose it is called that? It is a celebration of springtime and the renewal of life. The custom of kite flying is tied to the ancient religious rituals of releasing diseases or calamities with the kite.


4. Look at Chinese kites and symbols of the country. Choose a bold Chinese image for your kite, so the picture can be seen from the ground.


5. With Crayola® Scissors, cut out a small, heart-shaped kite (without the dip in the top) from a folded recycled file folder. Match the size of your kite to the length of the wooden dowels you will use for cross pieces (disposable chopsticks or bamboo skewers work well). Unfold and draw your Chinese symbol on both sides of the kite with Crayola Washable Markers.


6. Fold your kite vertically along its centerline. Punch out two small holes near the top and bottom of kite. Unfold and fold the kite horizontally about one third of way down from its top. Punch three holes each on the left and right sides of the kite. Weave the wooden sticks through the holes in a lower-case T shape.


7. Cut a piece of strong thread for the kite's bridle and tie it to the spine. Tie a small loop of thread to the bridle. Attach another loop to the bottom of the spine and connect a long length of ribbon to it for the kite tail. Tie a kite flying line to the thread loop on your bridle. Your kite is ready for take off. Adjust the length of the tail to help the kite fly evenly. These kites also make beautiful decorations.


Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Kites— CAUTION: Do not fly over or near electric power lines, trees, buildings, radio-TV antennas, or any other obstruction. Avoid flying over spectators, moving traffic, within 5 miles (8.05 km) of an airport, or more than 400 ft. (121.92 m) high. Fly in an open area. NEVER fly a kite in extremely high winds, in thunderstorms, or with wire, wet twine, metallic string, or cord containing any conductive or metallic materials whatsoever. Do not try to recover a kite from electric power lines or other high or dangerous places.

Scissors—ATTENTION: The cutting edges of scissors are sharp and care should be taken whenever cutting or handling. Blunt-tip scissors should be used only by children 4 years and older. Pointed-tip scissors should be used only by children 6 years and older.

String-Like Materials—Includes string, raffia, lacing, yarn, ribbon, and other similar material. Children 3 years and younger should not be given any string-like material that is longer than 12 inches. Close adult supervision is essential whenever children use string-like material. When crafts are to be worn around the necks of children 8 years and younger, attach the ends of the “string-like material” with clear adhesive tape, which allows easy release of the bond if the craft becomes entangled or caught on equipment. For children older than 8 years, the ends of the “string-like material” may be tied and knotted.

Wood—By its nature, wood is rough and may contain splinters or sharp points

Adaptations

  • The Double-Ninth Festival (on the 9th day of the 9th month), Ch'ing Yang is another time when it is popular to fly kites in China. When the flowers of autumn bloom, families celebrate by climbing up to the highest hills to have picnics and fly kites. What do you think the meaning of kite flying is for this festival?
  • Study the Chinese Zodiac. Learn the significance of each of the 12 animals. Often these are depicted on kites.
  • Study the kites of other cultures. Learn what elements are unique to the culture and which ones are shared by all kite-making nations.

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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Supplies

crayola supplies
  • Markers
  • Pointed Tip Scissors
household supplies
  • hole punch
  • string
  • ribbon
  • thread (optional)
  • recycled file folders
  • dowel stick

Overview

grades

  • Grades 7 to 12
  • Special Needs
  • Grades 4 to 6

subjects

  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Visual Arts

time

  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Multiple Sessions

benefits

  • Students learn the origins and uses of early Chinese kites and gain an understanding of kite festivals in China.

  • Students create symbolic images in Chinese style.

  • Students problem solve the construction of a small kite.

Cirriculum

Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards