Gift Guides

Gift Lab: Screen-Free Kid Fun with Flipbooks and a Castakite

June 14, 2018


Flipbook Kit (T. Rex/Pteranodon version)

I was once a child. Isn’t that enough? OK, no.

I was planning a Mexican beach vacation with my mother, my brother, and his five year-old son, “The Chooch.” Like most kids, The Chooch is addicted to screens of all sizes. We wanted to get him away from them. His dad and I chose these two toys for our experiment in behavior modification.

The Chooch will have a blast with these. More importantly for us, he’ll be distracted from his tablet for a significant amount of time.

Part I: Flipbook Kit

Boy and Flipbook. Initial response: positive. (Note experiment-appropriate lab wear.)

Boy, kit, and extra color markers (because he owns a bazillion) were brought to the table.

The Flipbook pages contain multiple very similar images,  like frames of a movie. When the child finishes the drawings, puts the book together, and rapidly flips the pages, the images “move.” Despite The Chooch’s devotion to watching movies, he had no idea how they work. But the unfamiliar format gave him no pause whatsoever. Drawing commenced immediately. Engagement and concentration levels: 100%.  Soon, Dad joined in.

Observation: The Chooch’s imagination and creativity were not limited by the format. Having decided that some frames should have weather, he drew it in.

Once coloring was completed, the Chooch and his dad pulled apart the cards along their perforated lines, stacked them in order, and attached them with one of the included clips. Let the flipping begin! (Note: Experimentor failed to obtain a good video, but captured some blurry “action shots.”)

The Chooch flipped, too.


Part II: Castakite

For this experiment, the Castakite was compared with a dollar store kite purchased by Dad. First up: dollar store kite.

Yeah, no.

On to the Castakite. Assembly time: minutes. Required skill level: none. However, The Chooch, having no experience with kites, couldn’t have done it himself. Dad put it together.

Wind speed: ideal. Chooch: enthused. However, though the “pole” is easy for him to hold, he’s too short to launch a kite. (We feed him regularly, in hopes that will gradually change.)

Dad takes over launch. Wind conditions still ideal.

Liftoff! The pole really does make it easy for a kid to fly the kite.


The Flipbook Kit and the Castakite are great additions to a trip with kid. Lightweight and small, they’re very packable. And both provide really fun parent-child activites, with nary an electronic screen in sight.

The Flipbook would be a great airport and/or in-flight activity. Because it motivates kiddos to do lots of drawings, it absorbs them for a long time. And the result–getting to see a little movie they made themself–is so gratifying! Meanwhile, they’re learning something about how moving pictures work.

The Castakite, designed to be easy for kids to fly, performs as advertised. It flies beautifully, and with its tail billowing behind it in a windy sky, is a sight for a child to behold.  Effortlessly learning about the power of wind isn’t bad, either. Who knew kite flying was a STEM thing?


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