Have you flown a kite with your child yet this spring? My kids got kites for Easter from my mom, and we’ve spent a couple of lazy afternoons trying to keep them in the air.
Flying a kite isn’t only fun, it’s also beneficial. In addition to the obvious gross motor skills, your child is working on several key areas. But before we dive into those benefits, let’s talk about what you’ll need for a successful kite flying adventure.
Before Setting Out to Fly a Kite
Of course you’ll need a kite! The cheap ones from Walmart work just fine. But, if you have younger kids, be sure to get the diamond shaped kites.
Those are way more aerodynamic than the round ones, so your child will have an easier time flying.
You’ll also need a safe place. We head up to our upper field, because there aren’t any power lines or kite eating trees :D.
Make sure it’s a windy day. We wait until our flag is flying fairly horizontally before heading out.
Water is also essential, especially if it’s a warm day. Bring a couple of bottles along so you all stay hydrated.
Once you’re at your ideal location, help your kids get their kites up. My littles enjoy just running while holding onto the string, while my middles and big actually do quite well at getting the kites in the air. While they’re flying, your kids will be learning the following skills:
1. Understanding of Aerodynamics
Different shaped kites react differently to the wind. If you have a couple of different shapes, let your kids experiment with them and describe the experience with each.
Regardless of kite shape, your child will be feeling the wind interact with the kite and the string. As they move, the kite moves. The more they fly, the better handle they’ll get on how to play the kite in the wind to keep it up.
If your child likes to run to launch the kite, she’ll also be learning about wind direction and speed–both important to aerodynamics.
2. Problem Solving
Kite flying doesn’t always go as planned! Sometimes the kites take a nosedive, the string tangles, or a little sibling comes over and pulls on the string.
When these problems occur, children must stop and assess the situation. Sometimes they need to ask for help. Other times, they can solve the problem themselves.
Problem solving is one of those soft skills that’s so important in life!
With all the digital stimuli in the world today, kite flying offers a chance for children to concentrate on something real. There are no screens. Its just you, the kites, and the big blue sky.
Concentrating on keeping it flying will help your child extend his attention span. You can slowly increase the amount of time you’re out.
When my three-year-old got his in the air for the first time, he was thrilled! He quickly learned that he could do it, and didn’t want any help after that.
As your children fly a kite, they’re gaining confidence in their own abilities. It’s an amazing feeling to be in control of something way up in the air. And you feel like soaring right along with it!
5. Attention to Detail
When the kites get high in the air, tracking them takes more attention. As the wind switches direction, your child will have to make adjustments to keep it up.
While winding in the string, your child will have to watch to make sure no weeds snag the kite and make a hole in it.
All of these tasks require attention to detail and observation skills.
Let’s Go Fly Some Kites
Pick a day this spring, and go fly kites with your kids. You’ll all benefit from the exercise and fresh air, and you’ll also benefit in the five ways described above.
Next on our to-do list?
Making our own kites. I’m looking forward to it!
Do you and your family enjoy flying kites? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.