The Educational Value Of Kite-Craft
The aim of this website is to show that kites, besides having a healthy open-air appeal, have an instructive value. A few things may be said therefore about the educational aspects of the hobby, in the hope that what is said may prove to be helpful to those who have not regarded the hobby from this point of view. Making a kite is an activity which develops skill. However simple it might be, a kite must be properly made, if it is to fly. A kite is sometimes described as a toy, and this may be misleading, in that it might obscure the idea that a kite must conform to certain principles, otherwise it will be a failure.
In the broad sense of the word a kite is an aircraft and not merely a toy. When this is understood and applied then it becomes apparent that the making of a kite certainly encourages and develops skill. Kite making appeals to the imagination. In this respect there is a freedom of choice which is particularly attractive. It encourages experiments in design, to which fact the diverse shapes of kites testify. It provides opportunities for pictorial expression, by means of the emblems and patterns with which they may be decorated.
Making a kite is a project in which every part is significant and related to certain principles - the principles governing the flight of heavier-than-air craft. A rough piece of wood may serve as a crude boat. Basically, it can do what the most modern and luxurious liner can do: float upon the water and move along. But in the air things are different. Any rough and ready structure will not fly. Although something may be made which bears a resemblance to a kite or an aeroplane it will be incapable of flight if it transgresses the principles of flight. This very fact brings us to another point which is worth considering.
Kite making and flying, serve as an introduction to aerodynamics. This is defined as that branch of physics which deals with the forces which act on bodies moving through the air. A shorter definition is that it is the science of flight. In an air-minded age, this is obviously a subject of importance. Although aerodynamics, in its advanced stages, is the province of the specialist, it does not rule out the suggestion that the elementary stages have their place in modern general education. Kite flying offers a means of grasping the rudiments of the subject.
Again, kite flying may serve as an introduction to meteorology, for the weather and kite flying are closely related. All that needs to be done here is to underline the connexion between the two and further to suggest that the study of the weather, apart from being of importance in itself, may be linked to local geographical and nature studies. This suggestion is offered in the belief that knowledge of the local natural features helps towards an understanding of the wider content of a subject such as meteorology. One other point is that kite making and flying may become a corporate venture, expressed in the aims and activities of a club. As such it provides opportunities for participation in discussions, planning and organization, which may develop the sometimes unsuspected abilities of the individual member. It is to be hoped that this chapter, in some measure, has served to show that kites have a definite, though not too obtrusive, educational aspect. This being so, their possibilities in the realm of instruction deserve to be explored to the fullest extent both for the pleasure and the profit they may bring.