Flying Kites - A Popular Hobby

 

People have been making and flying kites for about 2,000 years. No one knows for sure who invented the kite. Some historians believe it the ancient Chinese may have started kite flying 2000 years ago. It is still a popular hobby in China, Japan and Korea and in other countries of the Far East where beautifully decorated appear in different colors. In China there is even a special Kites Day on which children and adults fly kites. In Japan families fly fish kites on Children's Day, May5th.

Simple kites are made by crossing two sticks and covering them with paper or cloth. Then you attach a string at the end. More expensive kites have frames made of fiberglass, plastic or aluminium. The name comes from a graceful bird called kite.

Kites are made in many different sizes, colors and shapes. A flat kite is the oldest and simplest type of kite.  It flies because air flows over and under the kite's wing. The pressure under the wing helps the kite lift into the air.

Kites have also been used in experiments. Early scientists sent kites up into the air to measure temperature at different heights. In 1752, Benjamin Franklin used a kite to prove that lightning was a form of electricity. He attached a metal key to the string of a kite. When lightning hit the kite, electricity passed down the string and Franklin got an electric shock. It was a very dangerous experiment that you shouldn't copy.

 

Kites were also used to develop airplanes. The Wright Brothers experimented with kites before they flew the first airplane. In the past kites were used in to take pictures in wars.  In World War I the Germans developed a large kite that could transport people to a submarine. Kites were also used to carry radio signals over long distances.

Today most people fly kites as a hobby. Kite festivals are organized in many cities in all parts of the world.

Chinese Kite

Chinese Kite - Tholly

 

Words

  • adult = grown up person, not a child
  • ancient = old
  • appear = show
  • attach = put
  • cloth = material that is used for making clothes
  • copy = here: do it yourself
  • cover = to put on
  • decorate = to make something look better by putting pretty things on it
  • develop = make
  • distance =from one place to another
  • electricity =the power that is in thin wires and cables. We use it to make machines work and to give us light or heat.
  • Far East = eastern part of Asia
  • graceful = elegant, lovely
  • height =how high something is
  • historian = someone who studies things that happened in the past
  • invent = to make or design something for the first time
  • lightning = powerful flash of light in the sky that is caused by electricity
  • measure = here: to find how hot or cold the air is
  • popular = much liked; done by a lot of people
  • pressure = force, weight
  • prove = show that something is true
  • scientist =a person who works in science
  • shape = form
  • size = how big something is
  • stick = a long thin piece of wood
  • string = a strong thread that is twisted together
  • submarine = ship that can stay under water