How to Build a Kite Out of Recycled Materials: A Family-Friendly Guide

mother and daughter flying a kite in a field

Flying a kite is a timeless activity that delights both young and old. It’s a perfect way to spend quality time with your family, soaking up the sunshine and fresh air. But did you know that you can make this experience even more special by building your kite out of recycled materials? Not only is this an eco-friendly choice, but it’s also a fantastic way to teach your children about the importance of recycling and creativity. In this guide, we’ll show you a simple, family-friendly way to create your own kite using items commonly found in your recycling bin.

Why Use Recycled Materials?

Using recycled materials to build your kite is a wonderful opportunity to discuss the value of recycling with your children. It teaches them to see potential in everyday items and encourages creativity and problem-solving. Plus, it’s a budget-friendly option that reduces waste and benefits the environment. Crafting with recycled materials can transform what might have been trash into treasure, sparking joy and pride in your children as they watch their creations soar.

long sting of multiple kites in blue sky

What You'll Need:

  • Plastic Bag or Old Newspaper: For the kite’s body. Plastic bags are sturdy and excellent for windy days, while newspapers are great for lighter winds and offer a canvas for decoration.
  • Two Sticks or Bamboo Skewers: For the frame. Look for straight, lightweight sticks about 24 inches for the spine (longer stick) and 20 inches for the crosspiece (shorter stick).
  • String: For the bridle and tail. Use any string or yarn you have lying around.
  • Ruler, Scissors, and Tape: For assembly. Duct tape or packing tape is strong and ideal for securing the parts of your kite.
  • Ribbon or Fabric Scraps: For the tail. This can be anything from old T-shirts to ribbon remnants.

These are just recommendations to help inspire your treasure hunt for the right unused items.

Step By Step Guide:

  1. Create the Frame: Lay your sticks in a cross shape, with the shorter stick about one-third of the way down the longer stick. Tie them together securely with string, then reinforce the joint with tape.
  2. Cut Your Material: Lay your plastic bag or newspaper flat and place the frame on top. Cut around the frame, leaving an extra inch for folding over the edges. This extra inch will be taped over the frame to secure the body to the frame.
  3. Attach the Body to the Frame: Fold the edges of the plastic bag or newspaper over the frame and tape them down securely. Make sure the material is taut but not overly tight, as this could warp the frame.
  4. Create the Bridle: Tie a string to the top and bottom of the longer stick. Adjust the length so that when you hold the bridle up, the kite leans slightly forward. This adjustment is crucial for proper flight.
  5. Add the Tail: Attach ribbons or fabric scraps to the bottom of the kite. The tail helps stabilize the kite in flight, so its length and weight may need to be adjusted based on how your kite flies.
  6. Decorate: This is where your children can shine. Let them decorate the kite with markers, stickers, or paint, making it truly their own.
young girl holding kite in grass field

What You'll Need:

  • Best Time to Fly: The perfect kite-flying conditions are a clear, slightly windy day. Look for open spaces away from trees and power lines.
  • Launching the Kite: Have one person hold the kite while the other walks backward with the string, letting it out until there’s enough lift.
  • Safety First: Always supervise children, especially in open areas and near potential hazards.

Building a kite out of recycled materials is not just an activity; it’s an adventure that combines creativity, learning, and outdoor fun. It’s a budget-friendly project that teaches valuable lessons about sustainability and resourcefulness. This simple, eco-friendly craft can lead to hours of outdoor enjoyment and is a great way to make memories with your family. So, gather your materials, and let’s make the skies a little more colorful with our recycled kites!


As we were writing this article we couldn’t help but think about how this craft could be a wonderful build-up to an even greater outdoor experience! Imagine building a kite and all the learning that happens and then surprising them by taking the whole family to experience a kite festival. Our favorite kite festival of all time is “Uttarayan” or International Kite Festival. This kite festival is held in Gujarat, India, and is one of the most amazing kite festivals you will ever see. This festival, which takes place during “Makar Sankranti” in mid-January, marks the day when winter begins to turn into summer according to the Indian calendar. It’s a time when the skies over cities like Ahmedabad are painted with kites of all shapes and sizes, from dawn till dusk. The festival not only showcases the traditional art of kite making and flying but also brings together communities in a celebration of culture, with music, food, and festivities that last for several days. It’s a testament to the communal spirit and joy that kite flying can inspire, making it a bucket-list event for kite enthusiasts around the world.

However, most of us probably cannot travel across the globe for this one so here are seven stateside options that may be nearby for you:

  1. Washington State International Kite Festival in Long Beach, Washington – This week-long festival held in August on the beautiful Long Beach Peninsula is one of the largest in North America. It attracts kite flyers from around the world and includes competitions, free fly for all ages, and spectacular displays of giant kites, precision flying, and more.
  2. Berkeley Kite Festival in Berkeley, California – Held at the end of July at the Berkeley Marina, this festival boasts large and elaborate kites, team kite flying, kite battles, and a kids’ kite flying zone. It’s a family-friendly event that celebrates the artistry and community of kite flying.
  3. Lincoln City Fall Kite Festival in Lincoln City, Oregon – Taking place on the Oregon Coast in October, this festival features professional kite flyers with impressive aerial displays, kite making workshops, and a parade. It’s a part of the city’s seasonal celebrations, with a spring edition of the festival happening in June.
  4. Portsmouth International Kite Festival in Portsmouth, New Hampshire – Usually held in August, this festival gathers kite flyers from around the world to display their colorful creations at the spacious South Mill Pond. It’s known for its friendly atmosphere and beautiful setting.
  5. Treasure Island Kite Festival in Treasure Island, Florida – Occurring in January, this festival is perfect for kite enthusiasts looking to escape the winter cold. It features competitive flying, synchronized demonstrations, and massive kite displays over the Gulf of Mexico.
  6. Wildwoods International Kite Festival in Wildwood, New Jersey – Memorial Day weekend sees the skies over Wildwood’s beaches filled with colorful kites of all sizes. The festival includes competitions, workshops, and night-time kite flying.
  7. Atlanta World Kite Festival and Expo in Atlanta, Georgia – Held in October at Piedmont Park, this festival combines kite flying with family entertainment, including food trucks, music, and games. It’s a great day out for families looking to enjoy the outdoors and learn more about kites.
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