Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Airglider: For Those Who "Learn the Hard Way"

Unlike kite-flying, these work best in non-windy conditions.  Fantastic!

WHAT: Airglider Easy  by HQ Kites and Designs USA
DOES: promotes self-teaching of aerodynamics; possibly use this to help a child learn at his own pace, great for outdoorsy, rough and tough kids.
INVEST: MSRP  $16.99
TOOLS: My Body Needs to Move, Think Like a Scientist/Engineer,  Social Scene Helper  (a great outdoor icebreaker)
SIX  Airgliders to Giveaway!!!!

My oldest son and I for sure, do better when learning by the trial-and-error method a.k.a. "the hard way."  Both he and I deduce what to do next by what has or hasn't worked in the past.   What is frustrating for those who must teach us is that they have to watch us go ahead and make mistakes because we naturally ignore instruction.   I recall many times when I couldn't pay attention in class and so I went home with the textbook and taught myself while doing my homework.  That method worked well until Global History in high school where the teacher had the honor of giving me my very first "F."   What a shocker. 

I told him to hold the tail but why on earth would he listen to his mother?

Ideal for the Frequently Self-Taught

When the Airglider Easy came to my doorstep, I had to do everything to get my kid to maintain patience.  There was no, "How do you do this, Mom?"  He just ripped open the package and started fiddling with it.  There are few instructions as if the company knows who will be buying this product.

And guess what? He "taught" himself how to hold it improperly and convinced himself that his method worked best.    I tried to tell him that I thought he was doing it the wrong way but my son has a secret mute button for my voice.

Even though he was doing it "wrong" he still managed to catapult his Airglider high in the sky.   My kids and I just looked at it fly.   On the very next day, after I told him that the good people at HQ Kites and Designs USA advised that he hold the glider by the tail, he did follow my instruction.  The mute button is still on but you can't say he wasted his time flying it the wrong way because once he did it the right way, he learned how much better the correct way was.  That is the beauty of trial-and-error learning right?   There is still satisfaction after having made a mistake especially since you are flying stuff.

This 1st grader (soon to be Number 7) learned how to do this in 3 minutes.

Pre-programmed for Successive Play?

It is perhaps that satisfaction that can be counted on to motivate the child to continue teaching himself.   You get a thrill each time you pull back and release.   And if you didn't like the way it flew, you look at your glider, bend the metal strip in the wings a little (steering) and sending it flying again.  You don't have to teach them how to make their glider fly a loop.  All you have to do is tell them it can be done and if your kids can taste it badly enough, they will figure it out.

What is so conducive to figuring things out is the simplicity of the glider.  There is NO assembly required.  You fly it and pick it up and start flying again.  Learning is instantaneous.  The thrill is almost on self-refill mode.  You as the parent or teacher can sit back and take a break.  You don't have to give barely ANY instruction.  The best way to teach is to make a comment when they did something swell.

"That was great! How did you get it to go like that?"    Your child may not know but he will likely try to find out because if you've left him alone all this time, then it was his tweaking that brought about the success, even if he didn't know what he was doing.   She may ask herself:  What happens if I pinch it this way?  She folds the metal strip in one direction and then catapults it into the sky and there you go: she's answered her own question.

The metal strips to bend are the black strips on the red parts of the wings.  If you bend it, it stays bent.


Additionally, the quality of this Airglider lives up to my Sleddy expectations.  That is, this Airglider is STRONG!   The tail that you hold as you pull back is made of clear mylar laminate. The rest of the glider is made of rip-stop fabric.  What does that mean?  I have no idea BUT after playing with it I think it means that we don't have to be super paranoid about it falling apart.  While nothing is indestructible, we have flown our Airgliders tons of times and they are still intact.    Remember they do have to withstand some crashes, even it if it is on grass.  We have screwed up plenty of times and watched them do power-driven nose-dives straight into the ground.

Both adults and kids can fly Airgliders but it is recommended that kids be 6 or older to play with it.  I think your kid if bigger and/or stronger than his peers then perhaps a five-year-old can do it too.  Number 2 who is five and a bit on the tall side can do it!  He was so proud of himself.  I am not sure how much trial and error learning he's doing.  I have a feeling he is just amazed that he can make something fly.   Believe me, you will feel the same.  There is no way a parent can resist the temptation to swipe it from your kid and give it a go yourself.

I can't but help think this is a confidence builder in both girls and boys! 
I love the pulling and focusing aspect.  I think it is calming.
Can you see the Airglider?  It is still in this picture. 

Fall is Fabulous for Fitness

Something else that is an amazing side effect of flying Airgliders is something that I wouldn't have expected.  That is, EXERCISE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    What happens when you fly your glider and it goes far?   You start running out to reunite with it!  Aside from the occasional bee that freak them out, my kids had no problem fetching their Airgliders over and over again.  That's a work-out.

What happens if you screw up and it falls five feet in front of you?  You can start over within seconds (as if messing up does have it's perks)!  The motion is similar to the Z Curve Bow.  You really have to pull it back and have a thought- "Where do I want it to go and am I in the right position to get it there?"  It's brilliant that a toy can ask a child to do this.  I think this, while done briefly for seconds at a time, is practice of a planning skill.  LOVE THAT!!!!!

My wholehearted thanks to the readers (MUAA!) who suggested that we look at the Airglider after the Sleddy review. I know that there are bigger ones  but I'm so glad I have the Airglider Easy.    Why?  Just because it's "Easy," it doesn't mean it is babyish and you can't screw up.  Rather, in this case, the "Easy" design to me means that it is easier to learn more in a shorter amount of time.   If the glider was bigger, it might fly farther but I have a feeling that we would need more patience and stamina to keep on playing. (Remember, they won't fly back to you.  You have to go get it.)  If you are just starting out as we had been, I can't recommend the Airglider Easy highly enough.

NOW it's time to win your own Airglider Easy!!  Six in total to giveaway.  It will be shipped to addresses in North and South America.  Follow the directions!  I need your thoughts as they help me steer the direction of Toys are Tools better.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Here is my Amazon link below.  You might get a better deal and find some really neat toys if you visit one of the smart retailers that sell HQ Kites and Airgliders.  Click the Dealer Locator to find a retailer selling HQ products and call ahead to see if they sell the Airglider.


Last note: If you are in the NYC, Bay Area, or LA areas, check out Iridescent Learning, their logo is an airglider!  I kid you not!  Click here to view a great video taught by two awesome teachers that can teach you and your child how to understand flight better with project directions.  I think this video is awesome to show the children when they think they have learned all they can learn from the Airglider. 


  1. We got a few Sleddys after your review and they were awesome for our beach vacation.

    The airglider looks great too. I am always looking for good outside toys that will our interest. I like what you said about the focus required to aim it. It sounds right up our alley!

  2. Oh this is AWESOME! I think my Dylan would LOVE this.

  3. In answering your question about splurge toys... There is a really big Playmobil castle set that I'd love to get my younger son but even on eBay it is pretty pricey. If I could guarantee hundreds of hours of use almost no toy would seem too expensive but you just never know!


  4. This is exciting. I just watched my daughter try over and over again to throw a frisbee with continued fail. Would love to try!

  5. Lisa,
    Thanks for answering this question. Is the castle set this one? http://store.playmobilusa.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-US-Site/en_US/Product-Show?pid=4835&cgid=Drachenland If so, it does look lovely. My little one has the catapult cell set. It's really cute. We got it as a gift.

  6. i love the look and feel of scandinavian designer toys. like wooden rocking horses, and doll houses. but they're so pricey i never buy any.

  7. do you have a link of an example? I have a great dollhouse here. I wonder how mine would compare to the Scandinavian ones you speak of. Thanks for your comment!

  8. Any child who throws a frisbee over and over again seems like one patient kid. I gave up on frisbees thirty five years ago.

  9. My son would LOVE this! So Cool

  10. Our oldest had a good time playing with this toy during a party in our backyard and our friends (big kids) in their 20's coveted it.

  11. A few days ago I was fascinated by a link from here that was of these computer cubes that interacted with each other, like simon flash but with microchip capability that allowed you to use them for numerous games and learning tools, like pouring red into blue to make purple. That was totally intriguiing!!

  12. It looks like a lot of fun.

  13. Thank you so much! We got our airglider and are having lots of fun with it. I just read over your review again and see we have more to learn with it. Thanks for your great blog!

  14. You are sooooo sweet to write! Thank you. Another person had also written about her Airglider. That is so nice of you to tell me that you got it. I hope you win again. People who follow directions correctly, usually do! Thank you for the kind words and really grateful for the feedback.