Kites for Kids
Kites for Kids: Play & Share
If heading out to fly kites with the kids is on the schedule, here are a few hints might make the difference between having fun with kites and getting stuck with them.
- Most kites like to fly on nice days. We remember when kites were made of paper and flat sticks and needed a long heavy tail and a real windy day to fly, today's high quality kites need only a gentle breeze to get in the air.
- Opportunity is key. Kite flyers often leave a kite or two in the car so they can play whenever the wind is right. We learn quickly how much wind is enough, and how much is too much.
- Available stuff gets played with more. An old pillow case can hold a bunch of gear and serve as a sand bag! kite anchor on the beach. Just wrap the line around it. A screw-in dog tether can be a great kite anchor in fields and lawns.
- Having a kite anchor handy to hold the kite when the kids let go or become distracted can free one from becoming the anchor by default. Remember to keep total line length within the flying field.
- Lifting stuff along the line under the kite gives another element of visual depth into the sky and the result of all the fluttering things along the line is very satisfying.
Line Laundry, Tails & Lifting
From simple plastic ribbon (surveyors ribbon or "flagging") available at a hardware store to elaborate streamers or spinners from a kite store or some home-made design, lifting color into the wind is a great game!
Smooth, steady winds are what we seek. Onshore ocean breezes are the best! That’s why so often you see kites at the beach. Modern kite designs are efficient and durable. We still need a bit of a breeze, but not as much as we might remember.
The Only Game? Have you ever played: "Let out all the string... Then wind it in." Not all that exciting... Or fun. Coming up with other kite games to play with kids keeps kite flying fun.
We lift stuff. Using the power of the wind and the lifting power of the kite to haul pretty things aloft and decorate the sky. Something to do. Looks great too!
We attach things to the flying line called line laundry. Along the line underneath the kite. They go up as we let out line. Start by tying colorful streamers onto the kite line. You will begin to notice others doing the same. From simple to incredible, windsocks and streamers and flying inflatable art.
The Line Climbers and line shuttles are designed to run up and down the kite line. Some climbers are designed to drop a small payload when they reach the top of the line. Some kite flyers prefer stuffed teddy bears rigged with parachutes. (Referred to as "aerial fauna") The bears are lifted up into the sky on a kite line and then dropped! Voila! Bear-a-Troopers!
Kite Designs and Shapes
Sometimes the kites themselves are the special part. Figure kites are very popular. There are sharks, teddy bears, elephants, butterflies, tropical fish, dolphins, dragons, aliens, sea creatures, squiggly bugs, flying legs (both male and female), geisha girls, even Marilyn Monroe. There are many different bird kites - Canada geese, eagles, ospreys, doves, flamingos, cranes, condors, cardinals, blue jays and sea gulls ... and more. Playing with a bird kite in light to medium winds, the flyer twitches the line to simulate the wings flap ping. A bit more line work can make the bird kite swoop and glide.
Fighter kites take this single-line maneuverability to the extreme. Fighters are made to spin and be a bit unstable. They originated in Asia centuries ago. Kite fighting festivals happen all over the world, usually in the spring.
Dragon kites and other flat kites with an arched spreader can be made to spin and dive in light winds by pulling in line hand-over-hand to make it go and letting line out to help it turn. Leave the winder on the ground when playing with these kites. Your hands are working the line. Drop the line in small piles - Big piles make big knots.
At the end of a kite flying day, one person is usually stuck with the job of retrieving the kite and all the line. What a chore! It takes some of the fun out of kite flying. Pulling against the wind just doesn't make sense. There's got to be a better way
Some want to try electric drills or fishing reels. These winders have their place, but pulling against the wind creates more problems along the way.
The simplest solution is to work with nature. Next time, try getting the kite down first, then winding the line. Instead of one person pulling the kite and more fun.
First bring the line in hand- over-hand, moving towards the kite if you can. Leave the line on the ground in small piles. When you get to the kite, remove the line and put the kite away out of the wind. Now the line can be picked up off the ground quickly and easily using a winder.
Whenever you fly, safety is a part of play. Remember not to fly kites in or near thunderstorms and rain... Not good kite weather! Always avoid flying over or near airports, people, power lines or traffic. You never know what you might snag. It could be shocking!