Pacific island fishermen created the first kites thousands of years ago. Kite flying then spread throughout Asia and the Middle East, and today has developed into a worldwide sport and art form. Today's kites are decorated like animals, fruit, people and flowers, and are displayed in museums and kite festivals. Children can create their own animal kites using common household materials.
Orient the printer paper in the portrait position. Fold the sheet of paper in half, top to bottom. The paper should now be 8.5 inches by 5.5 inches.
Turn the paper so the fold is to the left. Mark the upper left corner of the paper with a pencil, one inch in from the fold. Make another pencil mark on the bottom of the page, 3 inches in from the fold. Fold the paper in a diagonal line, left to right, beginning at the upper left corner where you made your mark and ending at the mark you made at the bottom of the page. The top crease of the new fold should extend over the top of the paper.
Keeping the diagonal line folded, open the paper right to left, like you're opening a book. Tape the centre line of the kite using masking or plastic tape.
Center a bamboo skewer horizontally across the top of the kite, corner to corner. Tape the skewer to the kite with masking or plastic tape.
Cut a plastic bag in a spiral, beginning at the top, creating a 1-inch wide continuous strip to create the kite tail. Tape the tail to the bottom centre of the front of the kite -- the side on which you taped the centre line. You may use plastic surveyor's tape as an alternative.
Flip the kite over and fold the flap back and forth until it stands up. Punch a hole through the flap about 3 inches from the top of the kite using a hole punch. Tie the kite string through the hole, and wind the remaining string around a piece of cardboard or an empty toilet paper roll.
Choose an animal for your kite -- any animal with ears that stick up, paws and a tail will work. Cut out two round or pointy ears and four paws for your animal from construction paper. Turn the kite face up.
Tape the ears on either side of the centre fold so they extend over the top of the kite. Tape the front paws to the upper left and right corners of the kite and the back paws to the bottom of the kite, evenly spaced. Paws should extend off the edges of the kite.
Draw or paint a circle for the head beginning at the top of the kite, incorporating the ears, and extending one-third of the way down the kite. Draw or paint an oval for the body, making the body large enough to extend from the head down to the kite tail, which is your animal's tail.
Draw or paint in arms and legs to connect the body to the paws, and add details like a face and whiskers. Wait until the paint dries before flying your animal kite.
This design is easily adapted. Create bug, bird and reptile kites by adding more legs, wings or scales.
Never fly a kite during stormy weather or near power lines.