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Air Flow and Flying Kites

Although kites were first used almost three thousand years ago, they are still very popular today as a family activity. They come in many different shapes. For example, kites can be shaped like diamonds, squares, and even frogs! One of the most famous types of kites is the dragon kite. Sometimes, they don't always look like what we usually think kites should look like. Sock kites are a good example of this. Traditionally, kites are very bright and colorful. Red, yellow, blue and green are all popular colors. The brighter a kite is, the easier it is to see when it flies high in the air!

Family with Kites

Kite History

Kites originated in China approximately 2,800 years ago. Since then, they have been an important part of culture in many parts of the world, like Polynesia and New Zealand. In addition to being fun to play with, kite flying was even used during war. However, now that we have mechanically powered airplanes kites are mostly just for fun. Sometimes, scientists still use them.

How Kites Work

You probably already know that kites won't fly unless it's a windy day! However, it takes more than just wind to keep a kite in the air. There are four important forces at work: tension, aerodynamic force, gravity and the bridle angle. To get a kite off the ground, you will need to give it a running start. Once it's in the air, you can control how fast it flies by the amount of string you unwind.


When you're flying a kite, make sure you are far enough away from your parents, friends and pets. A fast moving kite can cause serious injury. Stay away from power lines, trees and traffic. Also, make sure you don't get too close to other people flying kites!

Kite Plans

It's easy to make your own kite at home! You can use all kinds of materials, like straws, plastic bags, tape and string. The easiest kite to make is the diamond kite. Once you get the hang of kite making, try creating a more colorful one out of construction paper. Don't forget to include the tail!

Kites in the Sky

Flying Tips

It isn't hard to fly a kite. If you're having a hard time keeping your kite in the air, check to see how much string you've unwound. If you let too much line out, the kite will fall out of the air. But, if you keep the line too short, the kite will fly too fast. It isn't a good idea to fly a kite on a very windy day because the strong wind could break the kite.


There are many books about flying kites. One of them is Kite Flying by Grace Lin. It's a colorful picture book about building a dragon kite. If you want to try to make different types of kites, ask your parents to help you find a book about kite building.


You can learn a lot about the history of kites and how they are made by going to the library. If you like flying kites, ask your parents if they will help you find a local kite club. Many clubs will help you learn how to build kites. You can also see what kind of kites other people build at club meetings, too. Some of them even have kite flying competitions.