April 1, 2012 - National Kite Month

April is National Kite Month. What could be a better way to celebrate spring than to fly a kite?

Feeling the breeze tug at the string and then whoosh the kite up...
...Running faster and faster...
...Letting the string out, watching the kite get smaller and smaller as it darts in the high-altitude winds...
...Making the kite circle and wheel against the endless bright blue...

A brief history of kites

People have flown kites for more than 3000 years. Ancient Chinese people made and flew kites made from bamboo and silk. The idea of kites spread throughout Asia and later Europe.

In the 18th and 19th century, scientists used kites in experiments. Most people have heard about Benjamin Franklin's experiment with lightning, in which he used a kite and a key to demonstrate that lightning was electricity. Another early scientist who studied kites was Alexander Graham Bell. From 1890 to the mid 1900s, scientists used box kites to send weather instruments high into the atmosphere to measure wind velocity, temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure.

In a quest to invent a flying vehicle, Lawrence Hargrave built “cellular kites” that were capable of lifting a man off the ground. In 1903, a few years after Hargrave succeeded in brief kite-powered “flight,” Samuel Cody crossed the English Channel on a vessel towed by kites.

Kites have also been used in war—lifting military observers to high spots, for example, for heavy lifting, or as gunnery targets. Kites have even been used to scare enemies!

Make a kite! Fly a kite!

My Best Kite has step-by-step directions for 27 different kites. 

Check out the National Kite Month websiteThere is a 2012 poster, kite plans, kite info, and links to more kite websites.

Also on this date:

Mathematician Sophie Germain's birthday 

Spring has sprung! Discover more posts about spring things: 

the Vernal Equinox
Persian New Year
Snowman Burning as a "goodbye" to winter!


Plan ahead for International Pillow Fight Day on Saturday, April 7! 

There's a huge pillow fight near me. Maybe there will be one near you, too! Check it out here

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