The earliest kites were probably invented in China about 800 BC, during the Zhou Dynasty. People made these early kites out of bamboo and silk. Chinese people flew kites for fun, and also used kites in war to carry messages, to signal people far away, and to carry explosives into besieged cities.
When Ts’ai Lun invented paper during the Han Dynasty, about 100 AD, people began to make kites out of paper instead of silk. Paper kites were lighter and easier to fly. By the time of the T’ang Dynasty (about 650 AD) most kites were made out of paper. People flew kites as part of the Qingming festival, sometimes fastening little lanterns to them and flying them at night, then cutting the string so the kite would float away, taking your bad luck with it.