Tiny Chinese Kite

Tiny Chinese Kite lesson plan

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

  • 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.

    Provide an opportunity for students to look at Chinese kites and symbols of the country. Ask students to consider the various images and think about which they like best. Students choose a bold Chinese image for the kites they will make, so the picture can be seen from the ground.

  • 5.

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

  • 6.

    Each kite is to be folded 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.

    Students 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. The kite is ready for take off. Adjust the length of the tail to help the kite fly evenly. These kites also make beautiful decorations.

Standards

  • VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.
  • VA: Use visual structures of are to communicate ideas.
  • VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

Adaptations

  • Possible classroom resources include: Kite Flying by Grace Lin; Henry & The Kite Dragon by Bruce Edward Hall; Kites: Magic Wishes That Fly Up to the Sky by DEMI DEMI; The Legend of the Kite: A Story of China - a Make Friends Around the World Storybook (Multi-National) by Chen Jiang Hong.
  • Invite students to investigate the Chinese Zodiac and learn the significance of each of the 12 animals. Why are these 12 often depicted on kites?
  • Kites are employed in cultures other than the Chinese as artistic symbols. Encourage students to investigate these cultures and how kites are used in each.