Cheap Kites: Streamers Saved My Sanity

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Kites can be really, really fun. But in my experience, they are mostly annoying. I want to show up at a park with my crew and have a Mary Poppins moment of kites dancing in the glorious wind as we celebrate life and nature and all those joyous feelings that ooze out of your pores when the kite takes flight.

Celebratory sailing. Gut laughs as that silly kite shuffles about in the sky. This lasts about 1 minute 40 seconds. Then it falls. Then it gets tangled. Then so do my thoughts. There goes my moment. There goes my kids smiles. There goes my sanity. Falls. Plummets like that kite.

So, the romantic in me will be thankful the Easter Bunny always sticks new kites in their Easter baskets, but time and time again, I go back to an old stand-by…streamers.

I made this discovery one windy (exhausted), very windy (out of things to do), blustery (grumpy) day in Ohio. The kids were 4, nearly 3, and 20 months. Had I not taken pictures during those years I may not have remembered it. I was digging through my cabinet of stuff and out rolls $1000 cash. Kidding. It was a few rolls of streamers. But to me, on that day, it might as well been.

The enchanted part of my brain thinks it wasn’t windy outside until those streamers rolled out of that cabinet. When it dramatically plopped onto the crunchy floor, an animated, flowing gust of wind came along with it, winked, and rolled out the open window. Streamers fluttering, asking to be played with. Invitation accepted.

The wind was best in the front of the house because God wanted the entire neighborhood to see our streamers parade and a whacked out Mom in sweat pants and chicken grease hair pretending she was in the rhythmic gymnastics world championship.  I gave each child one really, really long piece. Perfect for those chubby, sticky hands. It was so windy I didn’t have to give one word of instruction. They spent the next complete hour, that’s like a year in toddler time, running and twirling and laughing their guts out. So did I.

Dear Streamers,

I love you. I know that sounds weird because, well, you’re paper, but that day you changed my life. I looked at you in a different light. I should look at everything in different lights. You were always something I associated with birthday parties all twisted or hanging in doorways. Not after this day. You became part of my soul. When I see you hanging all neat in rows at the party stores I know that you know that I know your secret. It is time for me to share this secret with some of my bestest friends on the planet. It’s time to release you from your party prison. They may need your magic. Treat them well. Teach them life lessons as you have for me.

Love, Crazy Desperate Mom who entertains herself with streamers and stories about paper being alive and magical.

Other ways to use streamers to save your sanity

My favorite: Hand your kid a roll and say “Hmm…I wonder what you could do with this?” See what happens.

Have a streamers hat making contest.

Use it in our medical play kits to make casts on arms, legs, heads, faces.

Use it as a finish line. Let your kids run through, breaking it, until it’s gone.

Fan + Streamers + Music (Freeze dance is fun too)


Hang streamers on their swing

Tie to the handle bars or back of their bike/trike or weave in the wheels

Wrap it around their playset, kind of like a maypole.


Tear it up, glue on paper or stick in a sensory tub

Giant Hair bows or  fake long hair

3 Legged Race

Make a giant room maze by zig zagging it around a room

Oh, streamers. The stories we weave. Once you embrace the streamers secret, you’ll start to look at everything that way. Tape…I’ll save that for another day. Tell me…have streamers made you a better person?

Update: March 2012, Kids Ages 8, 6, 5…Still loving streamers;)

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  1. I love this story! “Hmmm…I wonder what you could do with this” is my absolutely favorite question!

    Here’s another use — put lots and lots of it into a jar of water. Remove paper when it’s really, really darkly colored. Put water into a spray bottle. Do a snow dance, and wait for it to snow. Send kids out into snow with colored water in their spray bottles. Say, “Hmmm….I wonder what you can do with this?” lol!

  2. When I saw the title to your post, I wondered ‘what is this special crate paper you can you that would be study enough to hold up for a kite?’ I had never heard of crate paper. Then I saw your pictures, and realized you meant ‘crepe’ paper!

    Very creative idea! My kids were having fun with a roll just last week, but we never thought to take it outside. We will have to try that.

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