Making an Awesome Shapely Kite | Activities | The Cat in the Hat | PBS PARENTS
Making an Awesome Shapely Kite

Does your child like to fly kites? Help her make a simple kite and learn about shapes at the same time. All you need is a paper bag, string, something to draw with, and a windy day.

The Math Idea
A great way for your child to learn about shapes is to draw them. As she does, discuss how they are alike and different. Help her name each shape. Count the number of sides and corners. Are the sides all the same length or are some longer than others?

Skills: geometry, shape recognition

Age Range: 3-6 year olds

What to Do
Paper Bag Kite
Take It Further

Camoflauged Animals
Watch this video clip from "Kites Need Oodles of Wind!" and notice how kites need wind to fly.
Getting Ready

Check out a book about shapes from your local library. Make sure the book contains lots of pictures of the different kinds of shapes. Read the book with your child and discuss the different kinds of shapes you see on the pages.

Shape Collage

What You Need:
  • A paper lunch bag or grocery bag
  • Strong string or yarn
  • Child-safe scissors
  • Markers, crayons, or water-based paints
  • Hole puncher
  • Masking tape
  • Newspaper, plastic grocery bag, or colored streamers
  • Glue or tape

How to Do It:
  1. First, decide on the size of your kite. Use a lunch bag for a small kite or a grocery bag for a big kite.

  2. Tell your child that you are going to help her decorate the kite with shapes. Use markers, crayons, or water-based paints. Have the shape book you just read nearby, so your child can use it to help her remember what each shape looks like.

  3. As she draws a shape, ask her to name it and tell you how many sides it has. This will help her remember the shape.

  4. Open up the paper bag and use the hole puncher to punch a hole in each corner of the bag’s open end. Make the hole about one inch down from the edge. If you don’t have a hole puncher, use the point of a pencil to punch through the paper. Strengthen the holes by covering them with masking tape and punching through the tape.

  5. Cut five pieces of string or yarn, each about a yard long. Loop one end of each piece of string through a hole and tie it.

  6. Gather the strings together about six inches from the opening (a foot if you are using a grocery bag), and tie them with one end of the fifth piece of string. Make a knot. Cut off the four pieces at the knot, leaving you with just one string extending out from the kite. This is the string you will hold to fly the kite.

  7. To the bottom of the bag, use glue or tape to attach streamers made out of strips of newspaper, crepe or tissue paper, or a plastic grocery bag.

  8. Now your kite is ready to fly! Hold the kite by the string, face into the wind, and run. The wind will fill the bag and lift it into the air. The longer the string, the higher it will go.

Take It Further

Did you know that everyone is either a square or a rectangle? Measure the length of your arm span, from the tip of one finger to the tip of the other finger. Now measure your height. If the measurements are the same you are a square. If they are different you are a rectangle. Measure the whole family and find out how many squares and rectangles there are!

More Ways to Discover and Learn

Look in a Book
Kite Flying, by Grace Lin

Mouse Shapes, by Ellen Stoll Walsh

The Shape of Me and Other Stuff, by Dr. Seuss

New Words

Shape Vocabulary: circle, oval, square, triangle, rectangle, hexagon, octagon, pentagon

Related Game

Play the game “Huff-Puff- a-Tron” on PBS KIDS

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Department Of Education Corporation for Public Broadcasting

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