Are you a parent, looking for kids kites suitable for your young child?
The flying of simple kites has proven itself to be a great family bonding activity. As long as you let the kids fly the kite and don't hog it for yourself too often!
Kites for fairly small kids is the emphasis on this page.
We've been to a few festivals, and it's not hard to tell when there has been a recent workshop for making kites for, or by, children. Small kids and small kites here, there and everywhere! A mini kite-festival off to one side of the main event, you could say.
Here on this page is a whole lot of info on all the different kinds of retail novelty kites and small more traditional designs that are being bought these days.
There's also a whole world of multi-line kites out there, but these are generally more expensive and better suit 8 year olds and up. Besides, I personally have a bias towards single line designs of all kinds!
Just before launching into the retail scene, take a moment to consider whether you can get your hands on some 30cm (12") bamboo BBQ skewers. The thinner the better...
Making Skewer Kites is a printable e-book. A handy PDF file download which has numerous small kite designs suitable for small kids. You'll be making them though, while they'll be doing much of the flying!
Here's a short list of the most popular types.
Novelty: This covers a wide variety of cute designs which don't easily fit into any of the more traditional categories. For example...
Diamonds: The classic kids simple kite! With a little care, these can last quite a while and the good ones fly nice and high. The flat sail means the decoration is clearly visible in the air.
Deltas: The Baby Bat Kite is a particularly well-known small Delta for kids. These bird-like triangular designs are efficient fliers, particularly in the larger sizes. They are known for achieving high line angles in even fairly light breezes. Like the Diamond, the sail decoration is plainly visible in the air, and they are popular starter kites for children.
Parafoils: The nice thing about a kids parafoil is that it has no spars. The inflatable design allows it to be scrunched up into a small space for transport. We've seen a few of these around, and they seem to be reliable fliers. They won't fly quite as high as other types though, for a given length of line.
Sleds: These are very simple 2-spar kites and roll up for easy transport. The very smallest ones aren't hugely efficient, like the Baby Sled our 5 year-old Aren is flying in the photo below. However, the larger ones compare well to similar sized parafoils. Most modern Sled kites can take a fair amount of rough handling by young kids!
Small Parafoils and Sleds are certainly easy kites to play around with in a family setting.Dragons:
Not the traditional Chinese variety, these have a curved leading edge and usually a long broad tail. These kids kites can be a little erratic in the air, but they sure put on a great display of color and swirling movement!
So how do you go about getting your young child into flying kids kites? There are 3 approaches.
When buying a kite online,
the information listed with it is usually quite informative. For example the sail size, wind speeds you can fly it in and what age range it suits. There might even be testimonials from other customers!
Kite kits are a great idea if your child enjoys making things. Pretty well everything is included, for just a few dollars. If some aspects of building of the kite itself are a bit much for the child, then they can at least have fun with the decoration of the sail.
Scratch-built kites for children use materials that are commonly available either from shops or already sitting in a cupboard somewhere at home. You can just go out to fly with a plain kite, as I prefer. Or, you can get a bit arty and get into some kite crafts to really dress up your kite!
Over the last few years we've raised a little boy who has been around kids kites for his entire short life. Hence, we've not been able to resist putting together a small collection of 'child flying kite' pictures!
Also on the topic of child fliers... A cartoon kite is usually depicted being flown by a very young person!
Age is a factor in how a child enjoys kite flying.
What about the non-Western world? The above list would no doubt be true to a large extent no matter where in the world the child comes from. I can think of one big contrast though, and that is the fighter-kite cultures of the world.
With kite-fighting, the last one flying is the winner. In a number of countries, using kites in this way is very popular, particularly in the poorer neighborhoods. For these children, flying is just as much about competing with other fliers, as it is about flying the kite itself. You just don't see that in the West, although an increasing number of adults are aware of this sport. Having fun in a group setting with fighter kites is definitely on the rise in the West.
Of course, when it comes to children's crafts, there's a whole lot more families can do besides making kites.