Schenectady County

Building kites fun for kids

Mikyla Faas said she had never flown a kite before, let alone build one.

Mikyla Faas said she had never flown a kite before, let alone build one. But the 7-year-old successfully built her first kite Saturday during a workshop at the Schenectady County Public Library.

“This is a good hands-on activity and I think it will be neat for them to build something and then see it up in the air,” Mikyla’s father, David Faas, said, while watching Mikyla and her brother Matthew decorate their kites with Sharpie markers.

Debbie Borg, a member of New York Kite Enthusiasts, showed Mikyla how to attach two wooden sticks to the back of her decorated, diamond-shaped piece of trivar material and then attach pieces of string to the kite’s ends.

Borg, along with Gary Sharp, conducted the kite-building workshop as part of the library’s One County, One Book program. Kite flying is a central theme of this year’s book selection, “The Kite Runner.”

Sharp said there are numerous reasons why kite building and flying is constructive for youngsters, including the activity’s inexpensiveness. Children can obtain a reasonable kite that flies for about $1.

“It’s a fun, wholesome activity for kids and a little science is involved,” he said.

The 25 workshop participants learned about the science of kite flying before building the kites, making the event not only entertaining, but educational.

The children learned about the five forces that work on a kite — lift, gravity, air pressure, tension and drag.

Youngsters also learned about famous inventors who used kites in their experiments, including Orville and Wilbur Wright and Gugliemo Marconi. Marconi used a kite to hold a cable antenna in the air so he could send the first transatlantic telegraph.

Delaney Piper, 8, and her friend Lindsey Weitz, 7, said they had fun building their kites.

Once their kites were done, the girls proved they worked by running around the room, the material ballooning behind them.

afghan festival

The kite-building workshop was limited to 25 children, but One County, One Book committee member Karen Bradley said many more children will have an opportunity to build kites next Saturday during the Afghan Cultural Festival at the library.

Bradley said the One County, One Book committee tries to organize activities for children surrounding the themes of the book choice because the selection is generally an adult novel.

“This way families and elementary schools can still be involved in the program,” she said.

Many of the elementary schools’ students have become involved with the program’s community service project, which is raising money and collecting supplies to help support a school, orphanage and hospital in Afghanistan.

“These kids hear all about Afghanistan these days, so this gives them a chance to learn more about it,” Bradley said.

Participants in the Afghan Cultural Festival will also have an opportunity to win a kite donated by Borg and Sharp.

The money raised will be donated to help support the program’s community service project.

At Saturday’s kite-building workshop, Borg cautioned the children not to fly their kites near power lines, in a storm or near trees.

The sunny and breezy afternoon skies beckoned the children to test their creations immediately.

“We’re going right over to Collins Park to test them out,” Faas said.

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