Go Fly a Kite
April 12, 2012 5:44 PM   Subscribe

What is the easiest-to-fly kite that I can buy? I want to walk into a field with my five-year-old and fly with as little skill, experience and effort as possible. I'm seriously considering just "flying" a helium balloon, but that's cheating. What's one step removed from that?
posted by Cool Papa Bell to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (22 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I love kites, and the simple, cheap ones work fine for me, just walking along and letting it fly. I find them at Target or Wal-mart for about $5 or less.
posted by foxhat10 at 5:50 PM on April 12, 2012

I was thought a delta kite was super easy to fly.

I bought one the other day and, with about 15-20 mph winds, basically just tossed it into the air and got it to go all the way up (75 feet.)
posted by 47triple2 at 5:51 PM on April 12, 2012

Oh, and the one I bought was only $4. So, it's definitely a cheap form of entertainment. Plus, the had diamond kits for $2. So, even if you bought both, and one failed, it's still only $6!
posted by 47triple2 at 5:54 PM on April 12, 2012

I feel that you can't go wrong with the Bat Kite as long as there's some wind. Dead simple to put together. Fun googly eyes. No tricks. If it's kite weather, you can fly this kite.
posted by jessamyn at 5:55 PM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding the delta kite. The larger the better. I used to have one that was about 3 feet wide and all you had to do was toss it into the air and it'd just start climbing and climbing.
posted by soplerfo at 6:01 PM on April 12, 2012

Our best friend, who flies kites as a hobby, just gifted us and our kids with this Into The Wind Kid's Delta Kite last weekend. It was indeed very easy to fly and we had a great time with it. Into The Wind's webiste has a whole section called "Best for Beginners," I see, that might be worth perusing.
posted by not that girl at 6:05 PM on April 12, 2012

Big delta kite. You hold the kite, kid walks away from you with string in hand, facing into wind. When there's about 30 feet of string out, have him stop, get a good grip on string. On the count of three, you release kite and he walks backwards into wind quickly. Kite should pop right up.
posted by cosmicbandito at 6:07 PM on April 12, 2012

I like the Prism Parafoil Kites If you get the small one they go right up with minimal wind. No assembly and they require little maintenance.
posted by kitsully at 6:27 PM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nthing the cheap plastic delta wing. For added awesomeness, make a tail out of something long and light-ish, like a strip of a hefty garbage bag. There's a guy here who hangs out in a big park on a hill, who collects all the broken and abandoned kites people ditch when their kids get bored. One windy afternoon, he gave a really beat-up looking plastic cheapie to my daughter, complete with a 5 foot long yellow plastic CAUTION tape tail. She's never had a better kite.
posted by looli at 6:33 PM on April 12, 2012

I have literally tied this parafoil to a stake and let if fly for hours with no trouble at all. It comes in it's own carrying bag, needs no assembly, and steers like a champ.
posted by Gilbert at 6:57 PM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

We have this thing, because it flies high right out of the package. Big hit at America's oldest kite festival.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 7:03 PM on April 12, 2012

Jessamyn: Wow, they still make Bat Kites!?!? Awesome! Thanks for the link.
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:09 PM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nthing the delta shape; a parafoil kite won't fly w/o a lot of consistent breeze or a lot of running. If you want success ( with no skill ), my dad brought my tiny son an inflatable kite in the shape of green lantern. It only inflates with air - and flew at low tide with NO air moving, nary a whisper...
posted by Mr. Metaphor at 7:16 PM on April 12, 2012

I got a cheap $4 kite from Walgreens that I assembled and had flying within 3 minutes. Don't sweat this too much. If you're even remotely intuitive about matters of physics it's pretty easy to get a modern packaged kite setup going and amusing small children.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:23 PM on April 12, 2012

Be careful with the string. The end isn't tied to the tube or stick around which it is wound. So, if the kite goes high enough, the string will fly off with it. The result: A lost kite and a distressed child. (So says the voice of experience.)
posted by partner at 7:37 PM on April 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

You can tie a string around the handles of a plastic shopping bag, call it a kite, and a 5 year old will be happy (check for holes first). The wind fills the bag up and takes it away. Super easy. Bring bubbles to blow also, to demonstrate wind direction and speed.
posted by myselfasme at 8:39 PM on April 12, 2012

Going along with the delta kite crowd. My son and I went out a few weeks ago on a windy day - I had a delta kite, he had a cheapo diamond kite, and mine worked a lot better than his.

CAVEAT: if it's really windy, you might want to wear gloves. I had a few situations where the wind yanked the kite quickly, I was holding onto the string to guide it, and it cut my fingers.
posted by Lucinda at 9:22 PM on April 12, 2012

I 2nd getting a kite from into the wind. The delta shape is good, yeah, but dish out the $25 over the $5 plastic kite from the gas station. They really do fly themselves.
posted by MillMan at 9:25 PM on April 12, 2012

My favorite kind of kite, the dragon kite with long tale, is easiest I have ever flown and looks incredibly impressive up in the air. Packing it up can be a bit tricky, (I usually end up just stuffing it back in the bag)
posted by HMSSM at 4:38 AM on April 13, 2012

Gotta go with a small parafoil kite. There's nothing to break (you stuff it in a bag when you're done), and they take just a little bit of wind to get up in the air.

I'd never thought of it, but the inside cells of those kites are almost the perfect size for those little balloons they use to make balloon animals. If you were serious about flying a helium balloon you could probably stuff a few inside the kite...
posted by richmondparker at 7:29 AM on April 13, 2012

i made tens of these when I was a kid. foolproof. add a triangular vent in the main plane to let air out if they are getting away from you. the basic design is known as a sled kite.

So easy to make! string, scissors, paper bag, maybe some tape to reinforce the attachment points. That's it. faster than perusing the aisle at Walgreen's, even.
posted by mwhybark at 12:06 AM on April 22, 2012

If you think you might fly multiple kites, the little swivels that you tie to fishing line are good to tie to the end of the string, do that you can detach the line from the kite.

Agreed that delta kites or small parafoils are the way to go.

Then you can buy some small stunt kites!
posted by leahwrenn at 9:48 PM on May 29, 2012

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