Introduction: Indoor Kite

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Fly a kite even on rainy days!

This is one of the 48 projects for our Instructables: Made In Your Mind (IMIYM) exhibition at the Children’s Museum of Houston showing from May 26, 2012 - November 4, 2012. Produced in partnership with Instructables, IMIYM is an exhibit where families work together to build different fun, toy-like projects that help construct knowledge and skills related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics while instilling a “do-it-yourself” attitude in kids so they feel empowered to explore, tinker, and try to make things themselves. To learn more, check out the article here.

For this project, we were inspired by the Easy Paper Kite for Kids Instructable created by ReadsInTrees, but there may be others on Instructables that are also similar. Often, the materials and process for building our projects are designed for use with a large number of visitors (we see over 800,000 annually) and the need to ensure safety in a mostly non-facilitated environment. So, yes, many of these projects have room for improvement in both materials and methodology, which is PRECISELY what we want to encourage the kids to do. So please do share your ideas for improvement and modifications!

Step 1: What You Need

We are selective in our materials for cost, ease of use, and safety due to our high traffic (800,000 visitors annually). So, for our purposes, this design worked best. But you may have other ideas - please share!
  • 1 – 8½”x11” paper, any color
  • 1 - Straw
  • 3 feet - Crepe paper (this may need to be adjusted based on the amount of wind)
  • 5 feet – String (you can use more outdoors but after prototyping with my kids indoors, I highly recommend no more than 5 feet indoors)
  • Scissors
  • Hole Punch
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Masking Tape

Step 2: The Video

We offer optional video segments of each step for this project in the actual exhibit. Here is a compilation of all the steps.

Step 3: Folding the Front of the Kite

Lay down the piece of paper landscape (horizontal). Fold the paper in half left to right. Mark a point on the top of the paper one inch from the fold. Mark a point on the bottom of the paper 1 inch from the open side. Use the ruler to draw a line that connects the two points. Fold the front flap of paper along the line that you've just created. Flip the paper over and fold the other side to match the fold in step 6.

Step 4: Finishing the Front

Tape the center seam closed. Tape the straw across the kite near the top from the far left corner to the far right. Tape it in at least 5 places.

Step 5: Tying on the String

Flip the kite over. Mark a dot on the keel about 2¾” inches from the top of the kite and about ½” from the edge. Place a piece of tape over the dot and then punch a hole where the dot is. Thread and tie one end of the 5 foot string through the hole and tie a knot.

Step 6: Adding the Tail

Use tape to attach a 3½  foot crepe paper tail to the bottom of the kite.

Step 7: How to Fly It

To use, hold it with your arm straight out to the side. Hold the string lightly where it attaches to the kite. Release it slowly when the kite tugs and begins to fly. Use a fan indoors or, better yet, a steady breeze outside.

The Indoor Kite is powered by a force is known as lift. Notice how the kite doesn’t fly straight up and down, but rather at an angle. As air flows over the kite at this angle, whether by running or through wind, lift is created. Other shapes of kites (ex. diamond, bow, box, etc.) use their different designs to also generate lift from moving air.