What better way to inspire the next generation of drone pilots that to get them one of their very own. Drones have captured the imaginations of lots of children this year and it’s likely they are going to be mentioned on lots of letters to Santa already.
The first thing to say is that we’d recommend that drones, even ‘toy’ ones, are best bought for the over 8’s. It’s hard to imagine that most younger children would get much out of it and they still do need to be flown responsibly as there are dangers associated with them.
The next important thing is to make sure that you are buying a drone specifically designed for children (especially if your young pilot is 12 or under) rather than a small adult one. The childrens’ drones have designed that make flying them easier so they can enjoy them safely pretty much right out of the box rather than getting frustrated that they are too difficult to control.
Even a drone designed for a child can have some safety considerations. Drone manufacturers will almost always include child safety guidelines with the toy such as minimum age, small parts warnings and whether supervision is required (most manufacturers recommend 12-14 as the minimum unsupervised age). It’s important to go through these with your child – they don’t need to join DSR just yet but it’s a great idea to teach them straight away that flying comes with responsibility, especially in public outdoor spaces.
We know that, when it comes to most kids toys, you can get away with taking it out of the box and throwing away the manual, but even with a drone marketed for children it’s really important that you take some time to read it together so you understand the functions, controls and features of the craft.
Our top three pieces of safety advice for flying with your child are
- Never fly around people who are unaware of your activities
- Never fly near an airport
- Never fly your craft over a height of 400 feet
If your child is just starting out with flying, then you can buy an indoor drone so they can get the hang of it before moving on. Start small and work your way up as your child’s skill increases!
Camera vs No Camera
Not all drones have cameras and, since you always need to be able to see them as you fly, then you really need one. There’s no doubt however that it is more fun if you can film and take pictures when you fly (ask any DSR member!) so if your budget will stretch to it, then we recommend you get one with a camera. You won’t get great image qualify without significant investment but for kids, that won’t matter.
Some also come with free apps that allow you to control the craft from your phone or tablet – added fun with an on screen display and FPV (First Person View).
Check the Reviews
There are lots of great review sites out there that can offer you amazing advice to find exactly the right drone for your child’s age and your budget so take a look around. Their popularity means that they are readily available online with swift delivery times.
One more thing, whatever model you go for, invest in an extra set of propellers or two because… Well accidents happen.
Wrap it up, tuck it under the tree and enjoy the start of a fun and educational child’s hobby. It does however come with an important warning – BEWARE: you might even fall a little in love with drone flight yourself.