Kites are a great way to get friends and family together. When I was growing up, I remember going to the beach not only to soak up the waves, but to also fly a kite.
Kites today come in all shapes and sizes, and one can easily get overwhelmed with the choices out there. How does one know if a kite is going to be easy for kids to handle? This list will help you to decide.
Before we dive into the 5 best kites for kids, let’s very quickly talk about things to consider when choosing a kite for your kid.
Ease Of Assembly
Kites that require little to no assembly are the easiest for kids to use. Examples of such kites are parafoils, sled kites, or novelty kites with no frames or spars. However, there are also other popular types of kites that have spars or frames that are easy to assemble.
Ease Of Flying
For most children, a single line kite is the easiest type of kite to fly. We recommend stunt kites or sports kites with 2 or 4 lines (dual- and quad-lines) kites be used by a teen or older with ample kite experience. Check out our 8 steps to flying a kite easily here.
Size Of Kite
Overly large kites can be dangerous to let your child set up alone, as they can get tangled in the sail(s) and/or kite lines. Large kites also generate more lift, and can easily pull too hard for your child to handle, which can result in injury if a sudden gust of wind causes the kite to pick up your child. We recommend a kite no bigger than your child for ease of use; regardless of the size of kite that you choose, you should always supervise your child when they are kite flying.
Number Of Kite Lines
Young children are recommended to start their kite-flying experience with a single-line kite. This makes it easy for them to understand how to control a kite. Multiple lines require 2 handles, which can be difficult and frustrating for a young child to understand and control.
Kite Tails – Yes Or No?
Kite tails are often eye-catching and can pique the interest of children more than the kite itself. Kite tails help to keep the kite stable in the air, and with a brand new kite, you may not need a kite tail. However, if you have purchased a kite online, a tail may come as part of the package. We recommend that you keep ribbons or material in your kite flying kit, in case you ever need to make a tail to help balance your kite.
Spool/Handle Versus Winder
The tool that is used to contain and let out kite line is should be one of your major considerations. This is because it is something that your child will be holding for a good portion of the time spent on kite-flying.
We recommend a spool or handle where the kite line is wound around for children between 5 years of age to 12 years old. These spools or handles are usually easy to hold on to, and children can easily let out kite line as well.
For teenagers, we recommend a winder. Winders keep kite line in a circular case, and kite line is reeled in or let out via a winder mechanism, usually in the middle of the tool. Winders are not recommended for younger children, as they may get their fingers accidentally caught in the winding mechanism.
Kites generally start from $15 on Amazon. When purchasing online, the package will usually include kite line on a spool or handle. More expensive kites starting from $25 may include kite tails that may or may not be detachable. It is recommended that you start with a cheaper kite, especially for children who may either lose interest in it, or wreck it on accident after a couple of flights.
We recommend spending wisely, and having a chat with your child regarding the price range that you are willing to spend on for a kite.
Top 5 Kites for Children
1. Delta Kites
Delta kites are one of the most popular type of kites, if not the most popular. It is designed to fly well, and will out-perform most other kites even in light wind. Deltas are easy to handle and can be very eye-catching, which has led to their popularity.
Delta kites are shaped like a triangle, with a keel, which is a triangular flap that the kite line is attached to, rather than a bridle line. A tail can be attached to help stabilize it in the air. A Delta kite generally will have spars and a spreader spar in the middle to help maintain its triangular shape. Delta kites are easily set up and can fold down to fit into a narrow tube for ease of transport.
Due to its wide sail area, you can find many with very vivid colours or illustrations. Some Delta kites will even look like a manta ray with an added tail!
2. Diamond Kites
Diamond kites are the next most popular and next-easiest kite to fly. This design was made popular in 1893 by William A. Eddy, an American journalist with an interest in meteorology and kite aerial photography.
The diamond kite is one of the most recognized types of kite designs. A diamond kite generally has four sides with two pairs of sides of equal length each.
Diamond kites can be a great craft activity to introduce children to the world of kite flying. Homemade diamond kites can be made out of lightweight material including plastic sheets, freezer bags, or even light fabric. For spars, skewers may be too lightweight, so try and find some flat bamboo pieces no wider than 0.8 inch.
Keep in mind that diamond kites generally require a tail to keep its bottom pointing down while in flight. This will prevent it from spinning from side to side or crashing.
3. Sled or Parafoil Kites
Parafoils are also known as soft kites. These kites have no rigid spars and maintain their shape in flight by the wind filling the chambers or cells. These are easy to fold down for transport, and are much less likely to break on impact.
As you can imagine, foil kites require wind to keep them open and afloat. Parafoil kites have an upper and a lower surface, which are further divided by vertical ribs into smaller cells. When air fills up these pockets, the kite becomes semi-rigid and begins to fly.
Sled kites are similar to parafoils as they are soft kites, and rely on the wind to hold them open. It has several spines running the length of the kite. Sleds often have vents cut in the sail, near the bottom of the kite – this acts as a stabilizer, so sled kites generally don’t require a tail to stabilize it.
Sled kites are really easy to use, and one can easily keep them afloat in the sky with sufficient wind.
Both parafoil and sled kites are great for children as they are less likely to break on impact if they are brought down incorrectly. They do not need spars, which makes assembly quite simple. However, as these are soft kites, we recommend that you help your child to set them up for a flight. This is to prevent your child from accidentally getting caught in the sails. This type of kite can also pull quite hard, so keep an eye on your child while they are flying the kite at all times!
4. Box Kites
Box kites are also known as cellular kites. This design involves vertical and horizontal surfaces. Because of these surfaces, which act in a similar way to the dihedral angle on bowed kites, this design does not need a tail. Box kites do well and often fly steady in strong winds.
In Australia, in 1893, British-born explorer and inventor Lawrence Hargrave invented the box kite as part of his research to develop a stable three-dimensional lifting surface for powered manned flight.
Keep in mind that box kites generate a lot of lift – you will need to possibly hold on to the kite together with your child to prevent any accidents.
5. Novelty Kites
Novelty kites are eye-catching and often have a specific design to them. Novelty kites are characterized by a good deal of effort put into their physical appearance. There is a wide variety available on the market.
The design of a novelty kite ranges from animals and insects (e.g. octopus, eagle, butterfly) to man-made items (e.g. airplanes, ships with sails) to abstract designs such as the shape of a star.
If you look at a novelty kite closely, you can see that most are made out of the basic diamond, delta, parafoil, or even box kite shapes, thus enabling them to fly easily.
Novelty kites tend to be overly large, and require a lot of space to fly. We have put novelty kites on this list as there can be smaller ones that are suitable for children. However, always supervise your child and help them with setting up the kite for flight.
Now that you have a better idea of what to look for when purchasing or making a kite for your kid, what type of kite do you think you’ll go with?