We’re letting fun take flight today to reminisce about one of the most quintessential, nostalgia-inducing, childhood activities we can remember: kite flying. Because, after all, it is National Fly a Kite Day.
The origin of the kite dates back more than 2,000 years to Shandong, China: a Chinese farmer tied a string to his hat to keep it from blowing away in strong winds, and with his simple solution, the concept of the kite was formed. The first kites created were constructed from common but durable materials, such as bamboo, silk, and paper.
By the 16th century, the popularity of kites grew as books and other literature publicized them children’s toys. But as the 18th century approached and the initial novelty of kites wore off, they started being used in field of science. Benjamin Franklin’s famous kite flying experiment during a thunderstorm in 1752 proved that lightning was a form of electricity. Kites even played a part in the development of the airplane in the late 1800’s when the Wright Brothers used them for research purposes.
Over the next 100 years, patents and new kite designs continued popping up everywhere, and by the 1950’s, NASA began to use kites in their spaceship recovery missions. In 1964, the American Kitefliers Association was formed, and today, with over 4,000 members in over 35 nations, their annual convention is the largest gathering of kite fliers in the world. The formation of associations like these led to kite flying competitions and festivals such as this one (which is one of the most mesmerizing things we’ve watched lately!):
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History aside, most of us know kite-flying as good, simple fun. Because who doesn’t remember waiting for a windy day and running across a field, kite in hand, ready to toss it up into the breeze at just the right moment? And then after it took flight, squinting up at the sky as the sun shone in our eyes, our hands feeling the gentle tug of the string as that colorful kite danced in the air?
While it certainly was a fun activity, it turns out that the act of flying a kite was actually doing more than just providing a carefree way to pass our windy days—it was making us happier and healthier. Studies have shown that kite flying can help us:
- Be more mindful… Because when you watch a kite drift across a sea of blue, you can’t help but be engaged in the present moment, allowing your worries to blow away.
- Appreciate nature… Because research shows that there are mind and body benefits to being outside. A particular study shows the restorative power of blue space in water, and the same could be said for the similar blue space of the sky that we stare upon when we fly a kite.
- Get more exercise… Because when you fly a kite, you’re in an environment that is conducive to outdoor play. Running, walking, or even kiteboarding (which is totally awesome, by the way).
- Socialize more… Because although most kites can be flown individually, kite flying is often done in a group, ranging from fun family outings to organized festivals and competitions. Flying a kite is also is a way to create memories and share wonder with our friends and loved ones, which in turn helps us deepen our relationships.
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We love it when science suggests that we should be spending our time
having fun and engaging in simple, nostalgic activities.
So what are we waiting for? Let’s go fly a kite!
Talk to us: Do you have fond memories of flying kites? What were your other favorite outside activities as a child?
At the The Nostalgia Diaries, our goal is to help you simplify, enhance, and engage your lives by focusing on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.