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Flying a kite isn't only fun, it's very beneficial!

5 Interesting Ways Your Child Benefits from Flying a Kite

Have you flown a kite with your child yet this spring? My kids got kites for Easter from my mom, and we’ve spent a couple of lazy afternoons trying to keep them in the air.

Flying a kite isn’t only fun, it’s also beneficial. In addition to the obvious gross motor skills, your child is working on several key areas. But before we dive into those benefits, let’s talk about what you’ll need for a successful kite flying adventure.

Before Setting Out to Fly a Kite

Of course you’ll need a kite! The cheap ones from Walmart work just fine. But, if you have younger kids, be sure to get the diamond shaped kites.

Those are way more aerodynamic than the round ones, so your child will have an easier time flying.

You’ll also need a safe place. We head up to our upper field, because there aren’t any power lines or kite eating trees :D.

Make sure it’s a windy day. We wait until our flag is flying fairly horizontally before heading out.

Water is also essential, especially if it’s a warm day. Bring a couple of bottles along so you all stay hydrated.

Once you’re at your ideal location, help your kids get their kites up. My littles enjoy just running while holding onto the string, while my middles and big actually do quite well at getting the kites in the air. While they’re flying, your kids will be learning the following skills:

1. Understanding of Aerodynamics

Different shaped kites react differently to the wind. If you have a couple of different shapes, let your kids experiment with them and describe the experience with each.

Regardless of kite shape, your child will be feeling the wind interact with the kite and the string. As they move, the kite moves. The more they fly, the better handle they’ll get on how to play the kite in the wind to keep it up.

If your child likes to run to launch the kite, she’ll also be learning about wind direction and speed–both important to aerodynamics.

2. Problem Solving

Kite flying doesn’t always go as planned! Sometimes the kites take a nosedive, the string tangles, or a little sibling comes over and pulls on the string.

When these problems occur, children must stop and assess the situation. Sometimes they need to ask for help. Other times, they can solve the problem themselves.

Problem solving is one of those soft skills that’s so important in life!

3. Concentration

With all the digital stimuli in the world today, kite flying offers a chance for children to concentrate on something real. There are no screens. Its just you, the kites, and the big blue sky.

Concentrating on keeping it flying will help your child extend his attention span. You can slowly increase the amount of time you’re out.

4. Self-Confidence

When my three-year-old got his in the air for the first time, he was thrilled! He quickly learned that he could do it, and didn’t want any help after that.

As your children fly a kite, they’re gaining confidence in their own abilities. It’s an amazing feeling to be in control of something way up in the air. And you feel like soaring right along with it!

5. Attention to Detail

When the kites get high in the air, tracking them takes more attention. As the wind switches direction, your child will have to make adjustments to keep it up.

While winding in the string, your child will have to watch to make sure no weeds snag the kite and make a hole in it.

All of these tasks require attention to detail and observation skills.

Let’s Go Fly Some Kites

Pick a day this spring, and go fly kites with your kids. You’ll all benefit from the exercise and fresh air, and you’ll also benefit in the five ways described above.

Next on our to-do list?

Making our own kites. I’m looking forward to it!

Do you and your family enjoy flying kites? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.

 

Gardening across the curriculum: learning activities for kids.

Gardening Across the Curriculum: What Kids Learn By Getting Their Hands Dirty

My plan is to wrap our official homeschooling up by the end of May. Our learning though, never ends. I’m a huge fan of learning through experience.

This year, we’re going to try to finally figure this gardening thing out.

You see, even though I live on a large homestead and raise my own animals, plants are another story. My thumbs are definitely not green.

I’ve tried in the past. Many times. But I’ve always tried to go too big. This year is different. This year I’m shrinking my gardening plans into something more manageable.

And planning on the kids helping a lot more. After all–gardening is a great way to learn. Here’s a look at gardening across the curriculum, what getting their hands dirty can teach kids.

Math

Math is everywhere in life. In our gardening time, my kids will be:

  • Counting seeds
  • Measuring depth for measuring
  • Measuring space between plants
  • Marking the growing season on a calendar so we know when to expect a harvest
  • Measuring rain
  • Estimating the height of plants
  • Comparing plant sizes
  • Sorting flowers by color
  • Sorting seeds by size

Science

Nature is naturally scientific. While gardening, the kids will specifically study:

  • Botany (plant identification)
  • Classification of plants and bugs
  • Insect studies
  • Learn about good garden insects and pests
  • Observe and name parts of plants
  • Differentiate between weeds and plants
  • Weather studies
  • Water cycle
  • Composting–the cycle of life
  • Nutrition

Language Arts

We’ll be reading and writing a lot about our garden! Here’s what I’m planning:

  • Reading seed packets
  • Identifying letters on seed packets (for my non-readers)
  • Research square foot gardening via internet and books (for my oldest)
  • Read these books from the library (aff. links):

As we read each book, we’ll talk about the plot, the characters, and write down what we learned about gardening.

  • Writing our own gardening stories
  • Making science journals and writing in them about our plants

Social Studies

Gardening across the curriculum means all subjects are covered! Here’s how we’ll tackle social studies:

  • Checking out zone maps to determine what zone we’re in
  • Visiting the local farmer’s market to learn more about our community
  • Learning about George Washington Carver & his work in agriculture
  • Studying ag around the world
  • Comparing food eaten in different parts of the country
  • Organic vs. conventional growing systems

Art

Gardening is so colorful! We’ll be doing some fun art projects:

  • Making a seed collage
  • Sketching the parts of plants
  • Making a stepping stone path
  • Color inspiration picture (pick one color from the garden and then use shades of that color to create a picture)
  • Create plant markers

Engineering

  • Building a trellis playhouse with Daddy
  • Building raised beds

PE/Health

  • Weeding the garden
  • Learning about the importance of water for plants and people
  • Nutrition studies
  • Washing hands
  • Washing produce before eating it

I’m so excited to dive into our garden studies. I’m hoping for a great harvest. But even if we just grow a bunch of weeds, I know the kids will learn so much by getting their hands dirty.

Do you garden? What other examples can you share of gardening across the curriculum? I know I didn’t cover it all!