How to Choose Drones for Kids
As drones continue to surge in popularity, kids are the newest players wanting to get in on the action. Drones for kids aren’t quite like the professional recreational models that adults are flying, but many of them still come packed with some pretty impressive features.
Help Your Child Find His/Her Interests and Passions
One of the best parts about being a parent is helping your child explore new activities. Kids’ interests are always evolving. What may interest them may not always seem appealing to us, but it’s our responsibility as parents and adults to nurture their interests and passions.
Since kids’ interests are always changing, it’s crucial to test the waters so you don’t end up spending a ton of money on a hobby that they’ll end up hating. Start small. You can always invest more in an activity that your kid truly loves after 6 months or a year of watching them stick with it.
Drones for Kids are a Great Hobby for Parents and Kids to Explore Together
Drones for kids can be a great hobby for parents and kids alike. As kids become better drone operators, they can pursue the hobby more seriously. The nice thing about getting your child a toy drone is that the hobby brings the outdoors and technology together. In a world where kids are spending more time indoors glued to smart screens, drones are a wonderful alternative that introduce kids to leading-edge technology while also getting them to step out of their rooms.
Drones for Kids and STEM Skills
Today, around the world there is an increasing influence on STEM- science, technology, engineering and mathematics. But while you want your child to excel, it’s not advisable to aggressively push them into robotics, computer science, biology, or other subjects aimed at solving real-world challenges. Remember, learning should be fun!
Drones for kids can help your child develop critical thinking and problem solving skills while enhancing their creativity- especially if you opt for a model with photo or video capabilities.
So if your child is into technology or is always asking to snap photos and capture videos with your smartphone, it may be a good time to get junior started out on his or her very own toy drone.
A toy drone can make a great birthday gift or a reward for a stellar report card. However, choosing the right drone isn’t the easiest task. While there are a lot of options out there, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind when shopping for drones for kids:
- Photo/Video Capture
- Flight Controller
Choosing the Right Drones for Kids
When it comes to buying drones for kids, the temptation can be the buy the best and most expensive model on the market, but this isn’t the greatest idea for beginners.
First of all, your child may not like flying the drone or may quickly lose interest in the activity after a couple of weeks. Imagine how terrible you’ll feel knowing that you shelled out a few hundred dollars on a hobby only to see your kid move onto something else.
Another thing to keep in mind when your child is learning to operate a drone is that he or she may be prone to crashing it. If you’ve invested a ton of money in an expensive model, all those crashes will damage the drone possibly making it unflyable.
Don’t buy the model that’s fully packed with shiny bells and whistles. Buy something that’s affordable and easy to operate. If you find your child is really into the hobby and is becoming a better drone operator, you can always upgrade later.
Every child is different and has unique skill sets. Perhaps, you have a child who’s a tech-natural or is constantly building and taking apart things, he or she may have an easy time learning how to operate a drone.
Still, it’s a good idea to get a model that’s relatively easy to use. You don’t want to get something so complex that even you have hard time figuring it out.
Also, your child’s age is an important factor when choosing a drone. If you have a five-year-old, you’re probably not going to buy the same model as you would for a 10 or 11-year-old. Many of the drones for kids have suggested age ranges listed on their packaging that you can use as a guideline when deciding what to purchase.
When deciding on drones for kids, it’s important to be mindful of the size of the drone you want to purchase. You don’t want to choose a large or heavy model that may be too cumbersome for your child to operate.
Some drones for kids come with a camera for photo or video capture. If your child likes photography, this may be a great way to help him or her pursue two hobbies at once.
Some models with cameras can be more expensive than non-camera models. So if your child is a beginner, it may be a smart idea to start out with a cheaper model with a camera or opt for a non-camera drone until he or she becomes a better drone operator.
One of the things that can make drone operation difficult for kids is a flight controller that is too big for their hands. You want to make sure that you choose a drone that has a controller that’s comfortable for your child so he or she doesn’t lose interest or complain about how much the controller is hurting them.
Drones for Kids: 3 Models Worth Exploring
Sky Viper Video Drone (V950H)
Sky Viper has some great drones for kids. The Sky Viper V950H drone is available on Amazon and costs under $300. It can capture 720p video and photos and comes with a 4GB MicroSD card that can record about 20 minutes of drone flight video.
What really makes this drone ideal for beginners is its durable frame and the drone’s adjustable flight sensitivity controls. The control has three experience levels: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced so as your child becomes more proficient you can set the flight control to match his or her evolving skill set.
This drone also has a one-touch panoramic video capture feature that’s programmed with a controlled-spin flight pattern to help you capture full 360 degree views of an area. The camera can also be detached if you and your child are more interested in trying out aerial stunts.
What’s more is that parents and kids can easily download and share their drone videos with family and friends on social media and via email.
Hubsan X4 (H107C) Quadcopter with Camera
The Hubsan X4 (H107C) is a relatively small quadcopter that’s pretty durable. It’s lightweight and costs under $50, making it a good starter hobby drone for kids. This drone has adjustable flight controls and 6-axis system that allows parents to tweak the gyro sensitivity as their kids become better operators. The quadcopter also has a camera that captures video. While it doesn’t offer the best camera out there, it’s a good option for new learners who are interested in aerial videography.
The Hubsan X4 is a cost-effective way to expose your child to a new hobby. And, you can rest assured that it won’t hurt your wallet too much if even if your child loses interest after a couple of weeks or accidentally crashes it into a hard surface.
This drone doesn’t have a camera, but it’s relatively stable, durable, and fast. The Traxxas 6608 offers about 10 minutes of flight time and takes 40 minutes to reach a full charge. However, parents can purchase extra batteries and swap them out if they’re interested in flying outdoors for longer periods of time.
If you purchase two additional batteries and charge the battery fully with the included USB charger, you’ll have about 30 minutes of flight time by swapping the batteries out as they run out of power.
The Traxxas 6608 also has a 6-axis flight system and 2.4 GHz radio system, and an ergonomic flight controller that’s comfortable to hold. At under $150, this is a great option for kids who are more interesting in flight than capturing video.
Drones for Kids: Things to Keep in Mind
After you’ve chosen the drone that’s right for your child, you should familiarize yourself with the do’s and don’ts of drone flying. Knowing where to fly a drone is especially important since flying regulations are constantly changing. You’ll also want to practice in certain areas to help reduce the risks of accidents, crashes, and injuries.
Where to fly drones for kids:
- Open spaces- you’ll want to fly in open spaces. The more congested an area is, the more likely you or your child are to injure someone or come in contact with an obstacle. Choose a field or an isolated area; fly at times when these areas aren’t full of people.
- Avoid trees- one of the easiest ways to accidentally crash a drone is to fly it in areas that are densely packed with trees.
- Avoid bodies of water– you and your child will want to avoid flying his or her drone near bodies of waters such as lakes, rivers, beaches, etc. Getting the hang of flying a drone near water is quite challenging and isn’t recommended for children.
Even if you and your child are flying a drone in an open space, it’s a good idea to practice flying yit near you until you get the hang of it controls. In other words, keep your child’s drone in sight so you can easily maneuver it and change directions.
Know the Rules. Fly Responsibly.
Be aware of FAA regulations as well as city, state, and federal laws in your area. If you shoot video outdoors, you should know the parameters of what you can or can’t do. Also, read through the AMA guidelines before you begin flying to reduce the risk of endangering people.
Things to Keep in Mind:
To keep track of the FAA’s unmanned aircraft systems regulations, check out the organization's website regularly.
- You cannot fly a drone or UAV within 5 miles within an airport
- Avoid flying over people to avoid injury in the event of a crash
- You cannot fly a drone higher than 400 feet
- Exercise good judgement and be careful when flying a drone
The Difference Drones for Kids and Adults
You’re probably wondering, why not just go with an adult drone? There are many reasons why parents shouldn’t purchase an adult-oriented drone for their children. If your kid is just learning how to operate one, you should choose a model that's relatively easy to use.
Adult drones are far more expensive than drones for kids. The most basic adult models start around $300 with some models going up well into the thousands with higher-end accessory add-ons. Also, adult drones are far more complex and have higher-grade cameras that can become severely damaged if your child happens to crash.
Just like you wouldn’t start out your child on a bicycle without training wheels, you don’t want to start your child out on the latest adult-grade model available. For one thing, adult drones are far heavier, more complex, and sensitive. They also don’t have beginner flight controls making it a challenge for most adults to even get a hang of when they’re first learning. The flight controllers also tend to be larger and can be uncomfortable and cumbersome in children’s smaller hands.
When introducing your child to drones for kids, choose a model that's affordable and simple. You can always opt for a higher-end model as you and your child become better drone operators.
Most importantly, know the rules before you fly, practice safety, and don't forget to have fun as you explore this exciting new hobby together.