Kites are a lot like people. They're diverse (in material, construction and use), inspiring, fun, unique, the weather may affect how they operate AND they have an origin story that is open to interpretation!
A great deal of legend and lore surrounds kites. According to kites.com, the kite was first "discovered" 2000 years ago in China when a farmer tied a string to his hat so it wouldn't blow away on a windy day. As that origin legend spread, kites were said to have been used by Chinese armies for surveillance, Buddhist monks to encourage harvests and keep evil spirits away and lowly criminals as transportation to and from crime scenes! The popularity of kites spread to the rest of the known world after Marco Polo saw how kites were made and used in 1295. As kites became more widespread, their uses became even more diverse to the point that they became used in science experiments, most famously in 1752 by Ben Franklin who used a key tied to a kite to prove the electrical property of lightning (another great legend!).
ATTEND A KITE FESTIVAL
If you really want to see the eclectic world of kites (and their owners), take a family vacation to a kite festival! There are a bunch in the United States and around the world, but to get you started here are the top 10 in the U.S. and top 10 in the world).
MAKE A KITE
You knew this was coming! National Geographic Kids has a quick and fun kite craft we think you'll enjoy! Happy kite-making!
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