Japanese Children's Day: Making Carp Kites

Konos Unit: Honor
Theme: Japan

In Japan, there is a special holiday that has historically been called Boy's Day. It occurs on May 5th and on this day families will fly a carp kite for each boy in the home. Carp swim upstream and therefore represent strength and determination in Japanese culture. The day has since been changed to Children's Day to honor both boys and girls.

We had our own little Children's Day celebration and made carp kites to fly in our yard.

We started with our supplies: lightweight white paper (the backside of wrapping paper works well), markers, glue, scissors, string, and a small strip of cardboard

I gave each of the children their own piece of wrapping paper to draw their carp outline on while I worked ahead of them showing them how to do it. Earlier in the day we had read the book "A Carp for Kikimo" which was all about Boy's Day so we used the pictures to help draw our carp on the wrapping paper.

Double up the paper when you are drawing your carp so that when you cut it out you will have two matching sides.

While I was making a carp shape, Nicholas made his own little baby carp. He didn't look at a picture or anything. He said he just remembered how they looked from seeing them at the Japanese Garden.

While we were doing this, Rachel was decorating her paper with a scene. She pointed to the pictures and said "Here is Rachel, Mommy, Nicholas, and this one is Rachel turning into a fish!" Yes, she does refer to herself in the third person at times!

Nicholas drew his carp outline and cut it out himself.

Next he used a glue stick to attach the two sides together. You only run the glue on the top and bottom of the fish, not the mouth and tail. You will leave the mouth and tail open so that wind can blow through the carp to help the kite fly.

Of course, Rachel needed to use the glue stick too for her creation.

I finished decorating both sides of my carp.

Nicholas started working on decorating his carp.

Rachel was still busy with the glue stick. I wonder why we are constantly buying glue sticks?

Nicholas did a great job decorating his carp. He had fun with it and decorated each side differently.

Next you roll the strip of cardboard into a circle and staple the sides together.

Insert the strip of cardboard into the carp mouth and attach is with staples. This will help keep the mouth open so air can flow freely through it. If I were doing this again, I would have made the mouth larger and used a larger strip of cardboard.

Finally we punched three holes in the carp's mouth and attached strings.

Rachel used the hole punch on her kite too.

We flew our kites outside in the backyard. It was a windy day and it was fun to watch them fly as if they were fighting the current upstream.

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