A beginner's guide to kites

Nothing says “spring is here” better than a kite floating beautifully through the air. Just about every time I see one in the sky, I pause to watch it and each one is more intricate and different than the last.

While the variety of kites is about as wide as the big blue sky you’ll see them soaring through, we’ve compiled a list of styles (you can find them at Hobby and Toy Central!) to help decide which is best suited for you.

Styles for Children 3–8 Years Old

The Easy Flyer.  Look for a basic triangular shape and a wide tail that continues out the back and two shorter, stabilizing tails on either side.These are likely the easiest kite to fly; you’ll be able to hold one overhead with one hand, release and watch it go.

The Diamond Kite.  A picture of an iconic kite, diamond kites have a really long tail that follows it through the sky and a structured diamond-shaped frame. This easy to launch and keep in the air model is classic for a reason - it works.

The Delta Kite. The delta is a wide triangular shape, and moves smoothly in the sky. Deltas come in many different sizes, but for little children, it’s best to stay under 36 inches. These kites are also easy to get into the air, but require a bit more care to keep the string tight.

The Parafoil. You won’t find any doweling (the sticks that create a frame in most kites) in a parafoil, making it exceptionally easy to fly. A parafoil works just like a parachute: it is meant to catch the wind. Like the delta, you’ll want to stay on the smaller side for younger children.

Styles for Youth and Adults, 9 Years Old and Up

The Cellular or Box Kite. With its unique shape, box kites are harder to get in the air but offer an incredible reward. It’s design lets the wind flow through the kite, keeping it in the up while it seems like an impossible feat. Of course, it requires a bit more experience and a little patience but we’d recommend the challenge to anyone looking to develop a hobby.

The Stunt/Sport Kite. This is, by far, my favourite kite to watch. I once had the pleasure of watching a gentleman fly a stunt kite to music. He made the kite dance in the air, dipping and diving as the music flowed. This kind of kite usually has two lines, though some of the more advanced varieties have four to offer specific control over movement. The aerodynamic shape is designed to cut the wind and respond to it’s pilot, but caution is necessary. We recommend these kites to much older children and adults and that the person holding the kite weigh no less than ninety pounds. The stunt kite comes in three levels - beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

The Parafoil Stunt Kite. This is a two-line parafoil kite, with such strength that they’re often used in pulling skateboarders of rollerbladers. We highly recommend that the pilot take the time to find the right kite dimensions for her size; learning to pilot a parafoil stunt kite is a remarkable test of precision, knowledge, and strength.