Kites - Baby Toys and Baby Fun
Made to Fly Like a Bird
There's something very intriguing about watching kites dancing, dipping, and soaring in the sky. In North America, kites and spring just seem to go together. The winds that happen at that time of year make kite flying a favorite pastime for the young and old alike. Kites, like birds, soar and cavort in the air, providing hours of fun and pleasure.
Kites - Thousands of Years of History
The history of kites is very ancient, dating back nearly three thousand years to the Far East - China to be specific. The materials available there were ideal for kite building, silk fabric for the sail, strong silk thread for the line, and bamboo for the frame. They were used for measuring distance and testing wind and as military operation communication aids. They were brought to Europe by Marco Polo and there, in the 18th and 19th centuries they were used as vehicles for scientific research. The "golden age" of kiting was a 50 year period between 1860 and 1910 when kites started being used in meteorology, aeronautics, wireless communications and photography. Today, stunt kites are used competitively in contests where skill, maneuverability, and speed all figure into the picture. They're flown for recreation, art (aerial ballet), used in kite surfing, kite landboarding and most recently snow kiting.
Kites in Movies, Celebrations, and as Symbols
There have been several movies produced in recent years featuring kites. One such movie was "The Kite Runner" and another, the Bollywood blockbuster "Kites", which has become a huge hit this year. The stories are different, but kites figure into them symbolically. Kites are used as symbols in different countries and for various religious celebrations. In Bermuda, kites are flown on Good Friday to signify the resurrection of Christ. China uses kites in many of their celebrations, most notably the New Year celebrations. Silk kites in a variety of shapes and sizes - dragons, birds, and faces with long streamers flowing from them - decorate the skies during these celebrations. In Malaysia, kite flying is a national pastime, with thousands of people flying them at the same time. What a beautiful sight. They are often used as a means of drawing attention to the needs of children internationally. Various children's organizations that work to educate and help orphans and underprivileged kids use kites as a symbol of freeing youngsters from bad situations.
Me, My Dad, and My Kite
Kites also represent a sort of right-of-passage for little boys. When a little guy gets to be about three or four, his dad may buy a kite kit and together, father and son may build a kite, which dad will teach his son how to fly the kite. Of course, it almost goes without saying that once the little fellow gets the kite into his own hands, it quickly ditches and the string becomes tangled. Such is the way of the kite world of little people.
Babies, Kites, and ABC's
When we teach toddlers the alphabet, we usually use the word "kite", along with a picture of a kite to symbolize the letter "k". K is for kite, flying high in the sky...Babies love to see pictures of kites flying and dancing in the sky. Many educational programs and children's movies feature kites. The bright colored diamond shapes zooming or floating against a blue sky captures the imagination of tiny tots who stay transfixed in rapt attention. Kites can be useful in developing focus and hand-eye coordination in babies and older children. Besides being beautiful and fun, they provide an opportunity to develop some skill as well.
Family Fun for Everyone
Everyone in the family can enjoy flying kites together. Contests can be created for the one that flies the highest, fastest, does the most flips, or just stays up the longest. And, even if baby can't manage the string, chances are that sitting in the stroller or jumper, gazing up into the sky, watching the colorful shapes dip and float will be enough to keep him satisfied.
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