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Flying Kites With Kids

Kids just love kites and although some won't admit to it right away, so do most adults! Hopefully we all still have a little kid inside, and one of the best ways you can find yours is to spend some time flying kites with a young one. By choosing the right kite and understanding a few basic tips, you can avoid most of the frustrations, and provide hours of simple, inexpensive fun for your kids and for yourself!

Also see Kite Flying Basics and Single-line Kite Flying

Learning to fly

With a little assistance from an adult, kids as young as 2 years old can have a huge amount of fun flying kites. There's no hard and fast rule, but typically younger than 2 years old, attention spans are pretty short and kids may have some problems making the connection between the pretty thing in the sky and the handle in their hand. It's usually around 4 or 5 years old when kids really enjoy sticking with it for half an hour or more, especially if there are a bunch of their friends or family members flying too. Regardless of age, when first learning to fly kites you should count on a young child letting go of the handle at least once, allowing their kite to get away and forcing you to run helplessly across the field trying to retrieve it. But then, that's half the fun, isn't it?

Know the Basics

The basic principles of kite flying are easy to grasp, and are outlined the major points in Breeze Chasers Kite Flying Basics section. This section will focus on a few issues that are specific to young kite flyers.

Pick your kite

Keep it simple. While a variety of kites are certainly capable of providing a wonderful day of kite flying with young ones, many are quite dependent upon optimum conditions.

Single-line Kites

When choosing Single-line Kites for kids, we've had the best luck with basic delta kites as they fly well in a wide range of conditions, are remarkably stable and incredibly forgiving, as well as being one of the least expensive ways to get started. Small to mid-sized deltas work very well for very young kids (2 to 5 years old), and are also very suitable for older kids (4 or 5 years old and up) because they are so reliable, are very light pulling, and will fly when other kites won't. But the choice of kite is yours and Diamond Kites, Sled Kites, Parafoil Kites and Dragon Kites among others are all very appropriate choices for young kite flyers. See Best Kites for Kids for some suggestions.

Kite line & Winders - Hoop winders are a great idea whenever flying with kids as they seem to fit little hands well, and they make kite retrieval after the kids get tired much easier than stock plastic handles. Although it is an added expense, tangle resistant braided kite line is also strongly suggested to ease the burden of untangling lines, which is inevitable when flying kites with children. At the very least, choose a twisted nylon or dacron line, as the cotton kite line that comes with some kites will break easily if lines cross each other in the sky and a better kite line will withstand this abuse longer. This is very important with kids, as kites do have a mind of their own and will do fun loops and fly in different directions until they clash in the sky. Kids also like to walk over and visit each other, not realizing that their kites will follow and soon tangle themselves up. Stock kite line may also be too short, as the better winds are usually higher up. If the line is too short you'll be flying in turbulence, but if it's line is too long, kids may loose the mental connection between their winder and their kite. 100 to 250 feet works best under most circumstances when flying with very young kids, and no more than 500 feet with older kids.

Adding a tail - Although many modern kites don't need a tail to fly, adding a tail will often extend the wind range and provide added stability for a kite, which is of particular importance when flying kites with kids. Not only will kids get their kites tangled as they learn to fly, they will inevitably run grinning ear to ear toward their kite, causing it to loose altitude quickly as the kite line slackens. Any advantage you can gain in keeping the kite in flight while you lend a little help will make your job much easier. Besides, they are simply a fun and inexpensive way of adding size and color to your child's kite flying experience. As a rule of thumb, for light to moderate breezes, no tail or only a short tail is required For moderate to strong breezes use a long tail. It's a good idea to keep a short tail and a long tail for each kid-ready kite to have the most flexibility in changing wind conditions. See Single-line Kite Flying for "how-to" information.

Dual-line kites

If your older child is one who needs a more active challenge, Dual-line Kites can be a lot of fun. An inexpensive all-around kite is the best bet for kids. They are built tough, and are capable of loops and basic tricks. See Dual-line Kite Flying for "how-to" information.

Look for our 'great choice' notes in our kite descriptions and see  Best Kites for Kids for our suggestions.

Plan ahead

While it's obviously not always possible, one thing that will help you ensure success is to know ahead of time where you plan to fly. Safety is of utmost importance in picking a kite field, and we've outlined what to look for in our Kite Flying Basics section. Also, please read our Be Safe! section.

Try not to make 'firm' plans with kids to fly kites if you can keep from it. You'll have the most fun and fewest disappointments if you can just grab the kids and go when the conditions are right. Kites are rated for appropriate wind ranges, but be aware that at the very lowest and highest wind speeds in their rating, flying may be difficult. With kids, it's especially important to be aware of this and choose your moments before getting the kites out. Keep an eye on flags and treetops, and learn how to recognize good flying conditions. The breeze should be blowing the treetops noticeably and fairly steadily (about 8 to15 mph seems best for kids), and if in unprotected locations, flags should be flying full but lazily. The weather should be clear with no rain in sight. See our Judging the Wind section for help

Share the fun!

The more you share kite flying the more fun it becomes, and kids in particular will have more fun and want to fly longer if they can share their kite flying experiences with friends or family. Consider having a second kite handy and inviting a friend along when you head out to the kite field.
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