It's blowing a gale outside, and the weather has prompted me to make a confession: I hate kites.
The problem with kites is that there seems to be an awful lot of set up time involved in what should be a very simple activity. The line will inevitably have one trillion twists and knots in it, and the kite will require a PhD in engineering just to construct it. This is enough to rattle even the calmest, most patient parent. Even on a perfectly still day, without any children climbing on me, this situation may make me a little tense. But the thing about kites is that you will only be attempting to fly them on a windy day, and so it will be almost impossible to put one together while you are outside. This gives me two options. I either assemble it indoors while the children try to climb me, or I banish the children outside, and hope they aren't blown away while I am concentrating on the kite.
Then there's the issue of having the right amount of wind. Too much wind and the line will be snatched from your little one's hand, while the dog is hit by the out of control kite. Too little wind, and the only way to get the thing airborne is to run around a field like a complete loon.
So enough of my kite rage. If kites are a no-go, what are the alternatives for making the most of windy weather?
#1 No Blow Bubbles Dip bubble wand in pot, hold up in wind, and you've instantly got dozens of bubbles, no blowing required. Since you don't need the power of puff to form your bubbles, you can attempt bubble-making with your own jumbo-sized wands. Bend a wire coat hanger into a rough circle, or whatever shape you want, immerse it in a flat tray of bubble liquid and let the wind do all the work.
#2 Super-Charged Paper Airplanes Make a selection of paper airplanes, climb to the top of the climbing frame or slide, and watch those planes take off. You will need understanding neighbours for this activity as a very blowy day could take your planes anywhere.
#3 Plastic Bag Flying Tie some string around the handle of a plastic bag, launch it into the air, and run around with the wind filled bag caught in the sky. All the fun of kite flying, without the frustration of a real kite.
#4 Wind Socks Decorate a kitchen roll tube (minus the kitchen roll) with ribbons and streamers, attach to a big stick, and put in the garden. You can use the wind sock as a measure of wind-strength in various parts of the garden. Experiment by putting it behind the shed, behind a tree, or on top of a picnic table to see where the wind is still and where it is strongest. #5 Para-Trooper Toys Collect together any tiny toys you have with daredevil attitudes. Attach them to make shift parachutes, pants and coffee-filters work well, and set them free from a small height. Older children can conduct experiments by varying the weight of the toy, and noticing how far away each one gets blown from the launch site.