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Ribbon Kites

Wind can not only be a distraction, it can overwhelm us. By shifting the way we think about obstacles in our environment, we can manage them. In this activity, we share a simple tool kids can create to explore and make friends with the wild wind! 

The Guide

  • Talk about the wind: Prompt thinking by asking questions like, "What is wind? Is there wind today? How do we know it's there? Can you see it? Feel it? Hear it?" Ask kids how they feel about the wind. Then, let kids know that together you can create a tool to find and play with the wind.

  • Make a ribbon kite:
    • Cut ribbon into 1 yard lengths.
    • Fold pieces of ribbon in half and pass the folded center through the center of a mason jar ring, or a piece of cardboard with the center cut out.
    • Thread the tails through the center and pull them through to form a knot. 
    • Then, tie a regular knot to keep it in place.

  • Explore the wind: Once your kite is constructed, head outside and wonder together how you can use the ribbon kite and your body to sense the wind. Here are some of our favorite ways to explore the wind using ribbon kites:
    • Hunt for the wind: How does the wind move the ribbons? Can your child tell if there is wind just by looking at the ribbons? How can your child tell if it is a strong wind? How can you tell what direction the wind is blowing in? 
    • Create your own wind: Run down a hill with kites in hand to feel the wind (and the wonderful vestibular input). Spin and dance with your ribbon kite and notice how the ribbons move.
    • Find the windiest spot: Go for a wind walk and bring kites to find out where the wind is the very windiest today.
    • Flag parade: Wave your flags as you sing or march to the beat of your favorite song. 
    • Pretend: Ribbon kites inspire joyful movement and imaginative play. We have seen ribbon kites transformed into the decoration for a fort or castle, a horse, a witch's broom, the ringmaster's staff in a pretend circus, and more.

  • Explore other wind tools: Invite kids to test out other household objects and items from nature in the wind. Create a wind flag out of a piece of fabric, catch wind in a pillowcase, lift a bed sheet up and down to create air movement and hold up leaves and grasses to see how they flap in the wind. 

Why is this activity great for kids?

Stopping to notice the wind is a super way to help kids feel present and focused. As kids spin and bend up and down to sense the wind, they activate their vestibular sense. And, once the ribbon kites are made and wind gets into them, kids can watch them, wonder, and experiment, developing curiosity and a habit of scientific inquiry. 
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