Summer tends to naturally lend itself to people enjoying more time outdoors. But as fall’s cooler weather approaches, make a commitment to continue your active lifestyle and take up a new activity such as kite flying. It’s a great way to engage the whole family in getting fresh air and exercise.
The autumn breeze blowing across John Martin Reservoir, Barr Lake State Park or North Sterling State Park creates an ideal atmosphere and location for kite flying. Most standard kites fly best in winds that range from three to nine miles per hour. Just about any park with open areas will do. Here are few tips for a safe and successful kite-flying adventure:
• Taking Flight: Running is not always the best way to get your kite in the air. Try having a friend hold the kite about 80 feet downwind. Then hold the line tightly, giving it a gentle pull as your friend releases it into the air. To fly your kite on your own, turn your back to the wind and you’re your kite. Release it gently once it catches a gust and slowly let out more line as it soars.
• Wind: Some kites need a lot of wind; others need only a little. It depends on your kite’s design and size. Five to 25 mph is best for most kites. A flag or windsock is handy to help you see the wind. If your kite starts diving and looping wildly, there's probably too much wind for your design. If you can't your kite in the air, there is probably too little. Remember that an oncoming storm often means serious wind, do not fly your kite in wet or stormy weather (think Benjamin Franklin).
• Flying: Always keep the string at a comfortable tightness. If it is pulling, let out more string. If it feels too slack, reel in some string. Flying is the most fun with the wind is blowing at a medium speed, because you can try tricks. Make your kite dance by pulling in the line and letting it out. Steer clear of roads, trees and power lines. The more space you have, the more line you can let out.
Not only is kite flying fun for all ages, but kite building can also be a creative endeavor from young kids to seniors. Make your own kite out of paper, silk or cloth, or buy a stunt kite and practice tricks. If you’re in the mood for some friendly competition, give kite fighting a try. Pack your fighter kite and challenge your friend or relative to a sky-high dual.
Consider local kite flying clubs, libraries and websites for more details on making and flying kites. When you’re ready to fly, pick a park and let them soar!
Contact the park of your choice for seasonal hours and more information.