Friday, June 15, 2012

Kites and Fathers

My husband loves flying a kite.  We don't do it often, but we have a few of them in the garage ready for the perfect windy day, and I usually find one tucked away in the roof box when we're on vacation.  He has a surprising patience for the strings and knots and strategy of getting a kite to lift off the ground. He's even able and willing to do this with young children.  Personally, I find teaching my preschooler to tie her shoelaces to be a true test of patience and will, let alone kite-flying.  I guess that's what makes Dads special.  They have the patience and love to do impractical things (like kite-flying, pillow fights, and making pancakes) that mothers do not.  So this program is for my husband and all of the great Dads out there.  Happy Father's Day!

Let's Go Fly a Kite! Program

Tune:  "Row, Row, Row Your Boat”
Wind, wind, blow the clouds
Fast across the sky.
Blow the branches back and forth
In the trees so high.
Elizabeth Scofield

Kite Flying by Grace Lin  There are some visually stunning and very moving stories about kites, but for a family program I like to keep it short and sweet for the youngest kids. Besides, you're going to need to save plenty of time for kite-making!  Lin's book is bright and beautiful and straight to the point: wind, sun, kites, beautiful!

Kite Day by Will Hillenbrand is published by Holiday House and was released only a few months ago.   This short story for 3-5 year olds falls a little flat to me, despite the drama of a thunderstorm and lost kite.  I do love that Bear can smell a kite day, though, and children will love discovering that a kite has many good uses.  I like that part, too, and I will use this book because it opens such great discussion questions:  What else could you use a kite for?  What is repurposing?  Can you think of ways that we could repurpose some other objects?  Invite children to be as practical or as whimsical as their brains will allow, and to rediscover ordinary objects all around them.  This will be a great book for an eco-themed storytime later.

Here's a closing song to get the kids up and moving, from with many thanks.

Tune: "Here We Go 'Round The Mulberry Bush"

Oh, the wind is blowing - all over town,
All over town, all over town.
Oh, the wind is blowing all over town, 
Just like so. (Child blows)

Oh, the trees are bending - way down low,
Way down low, way down low.
Oh, the trees are bending - way down low,
Just like so. (Child bends low)

Oh, the kites are flying - watch them go,
Watch them go, high then low.
Oh, the kites are flying - watch them go
Just like so. (Child pretends to fly kite)

Continue with
"Oh, the clothes on the line - flop to and fro" 
"Oh, the flag on the pole - waves fast and slow"

Jean Warren

If you have an audience of school-age children I highly recommend Demi's Kites.  It's a beautiful story of magical kites and wishes sent up to the sky... It's the kind of story that always stays with you and we librarians love to share those with our audiences.  Older children will be able to write down, and appreciate a magical new way to send their wishes out into the ether.

Crafting kites is a sticky business I think, but I am a mother.  My husband would have no trouble sitting through a number of kite-making videos, juggling popsicle sticks, straws, tissue paper, glue, and yards of string.  I myself like the idea of making a Japanese fish kite, which is technically a windsock and therefore guaranteed to work a little bit with a minimal amount of engineering.  Below are links to a few kite projects that you and your families may enjoy making with simple materials from around the house or library.

Japanese Koi Fish Kites from the Smithsonian Institute

20-Minute Kite from Family Fun

Plastic Bag Kite from National Geographic Kids

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