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The History of Kites

It’s thought that kites first appeared in China around 3,000 years ago. These early versions are thought to have been made of silk and bamboo. The earliest written account of kite flying dates to approximately 200 BC in China, when a Chinese general used a kite to help him determine the distance his troops needed to tunnel in order to get under a city’s walls. Over time, the practice of kite flying spread throughout Asia and became a popular pastime in several countries. Eventually, kites made their way to the rest of the world. While the aerodynamics of the practice have not changed, the materials, shapes, and uses have. Kites made of paper, polyester, and eventually, rip-stop nylon replaced silk and bamboo kites. Various styles now exist as well, including flat kites shaped like diamonds or other geometric shapes, intricate box kites, and other 3D versions. Kites have played key roles in science, meteorology, construction, and photography. They are also used today in sports, as part of many traditional festivals, and just for fun as toys. In fact, kites remain a popular pastime for both kids and adults today, multiple millennia after they were first introduced to the world.

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