How to make a paper kite for children

Updated April 17, 2017

If tree leaves are rustling gently in the breeze, then conditions are perfect for kite-flying. You can make a kid-sized paper kite in 20 minutes, and it's easy enough to let the kids work along with you, or even build the kite themselves with just a little supervision. Use white printer paper to build the kite, then encourage the kids to decorate the completed kite with crayons or markers. Or, you can use colourful printer paper for brightly coloured kites.

Fold the paper in half resulting in an 8 1/2 inch by 5 1/2 inch piece of folded paper.

Position the paper with the fold on the left. Make a pencil mark at the top of the paper that is 1 inch from the the fold, using a ruler to measure the distance. Make a pencil mark at the bottom of the paper 3 inches from the fold. Using the ruler as a straight-edge, draw a line connecting the two marks.

Fold the paper along the pencil line, and use your fingers to press the fold into a sharp crease. Flip the paper over.

Open up the top sheet of paper so that you can see the underside of the previous fold.

Tape the two sides of the diagonal fold together by applying a length of masking tape along the entire fold, centring it so that it adheres to both sides equally.

Flip the paper over. Bend the flange at the rear of the kite back and forth to crease it equally on both sides of the fold so that the flange doesn't lean to one side or the other, but rather stands straight up. Affix a 2-inch length of masking tape, centred, over the flange. The tape should reinforce an area of the flange about 1/3 of the way down from the top (narrowest) point of the flange. With the hole punch tool, punch a hole through both layers of masking tape and paper, at least 1/2 inch from the outside fold of the flange. Flip the kite over.

Position the kite so that the narrower end is at the bottom. Affix the bamboo skewer so that it intersects the taped centre fold, and so that the ends match up with the pointed right and left sides of the kite. Tape the bamboo skewer in place with a length of masking tape. This serves as the kite's tail.

Trim the length of the bamboo skewer to 8 inches using a kitchen shears or tin snips.

Spiral-cut the plastic bread bag beginning at the edge of the opening and cutting a continuous angled ribbon (about an inch wide) that results in a spiralled length of plastic. Continue until you have a 6-foot-long spiralled plastic ribbon. Tape one end of this ribbon to the bottom edge of the kite with masking tape.

Tie one end of the thread, string or fishing line to the punched hole in the flange. Wrap the excess around the cardboard rectangle. Unwrap kite-string length as needed when flying the kite.

Things You'll Need

  • 8 1/2 X 11 inch printer paper, white or colour
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Masking tape
  • Paper punch
  • Bamboo kebab skewers
  • Tin snips or kitchen shears
  • Scissors
  • Plastic bread bag
  • String, fishing line, or heavy-duty thread, 20 feet
  • Small rectangle of corrugated cardboard (1-5 inches x 3-7 inches)
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About the Author

Gretchen Maron has written content for journals, websites, newspapers, radio news and newsletters, ranging from the International Horn Society journal "Horn Call" and the Air America Radio website, to non-profit organization websites. A librarian for over 30 years and a professional writer since 1996, she's an experienced, knowledgeable researcher.