Making and flying a kite is one of those pursuits where everyone's an expert. This would seem to apply to men more than women. Kite building is almost on a par with skinning a rabbit and lighting a fire, as far as I can tell - an indicator of manly prowess which, I'm guessing, has its origins somewhere primal and cave-like. Perhaps it has something to do with the idea that kites were originally used to signal an approaching enemy.
Having never made a kite before, I did some research and, sure enough, my expedition into cyberspace bolstered my fragile gender-driven hypothesis. The girl kites were prettily coloured, easy on the eye and made from a single piece of A4 paper, taking seconds to construct. Admittedly they did seem unconvincing. The male versions were invariably bigger, involved complex knot tying and the cutting of angles. They were multi-step affairs requiring some commitment. In the end I settled on a representative from each camp.
Hubby couldn't help himself and waded into the fray imparting his timely judgment on the smaller female design. "It'll never fly like that," he scoffed.
"It'll need a cradle."
The male example was touted as "a 15-minute newspaper kite that really flies". That appealed to me because it instantly inferred that you didn't need a lot of special stuff to make this kite. In the absence of any real children, hubby gallantly offered to trial both designs with his fishing rod. After enlarging somewhat on the original design, he declared Design B the winner, therefore concluding this non-scientific experiment on the relationship between gender and kite design.
Step 1 - Deconstruct your Herald on Sunday so that you have one big sheet of paper measuring around 57.7cm x 40cm. Allow small children to paint colourful, time-consuming designs on it. Along both shorter sides measure approximately one third from the edge (13.3cm) and mark so that, if you were to join these two marks with a line, you'd have a straight line.
Along the longer sides measure 16cm and mark (repeat four times for the four corners). Now rule a line from the points along the longer side to the point on the shorter side so you end up with an arrowhead at each end. Cut along these lines.
Step 2 - At each arrowhead end, reinforce with stickers (or tape) on both sides and make a hole with a hole punch (or cut a hole with scissors).
Step 3 - Take two bamboo skewers and, overlapping them so they fit horizontally at the base of the pointed section, stick them down with masking tape. Repeat at opposite end.
Step 4 - Cut four strips from a bread bag roughly 2cm x 30cm and attach in two sets along straight edge with masking tape (position them butting up to the skewers). Cut a piece of string or wool 1.9m long and thread through the holes. Tie it off and then attach your nylon thread at the midway point of the doubled string.
Now you are ready to fly. For best results choose an exposed spot with a steady wind and don't forget your fishing rod and reel if you've got one. This makes for cheap thrills for all the family!
• Newspaper (full sheet)
• Plastic bread bag
• Masking tape
• Bamboo skewers
• Stickers (optional)
• Hole punch
• Scissors, ruler, pencil
• Fishing line