Drones have become a popular gift for children and for good reason. Drones can provide endless hours of flying fun and a way to expand knowledge from hand-eye coordination to Science Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) skills. But not every drone is suitable for young users. Before you introduce your child to the world of droning, take some time to consider the different types of drones available.
Racing vs Camera Drones
Kid-friendly drones generally come in two main types: camera drones and racing drones. Camera drones are equipped with a built-in camera and will allow your child to unleash their inner creativity. Racing drones are primarily designed to encourage the user to customize and optimize their drone for maximum speed. These drones can also be equipped with a camera but may require a higher level of skill to fly. They are suitable for slightly older children who have perhaps displayed a passion for science and speed.
Safety is Essential
While drones guarantee hours of fun (with multiple battery charges, of course), they also have a serious side. Understanding drone safety guidelines is essential before taking off for the first time. DJI has a range of great resources for first-time drone flyers, but it’s important to know local laws and regulations too. Take the time to learn these with your child before their maiden flight. Because of the potential danger drones pose, they are usually listed as 14+ products and therefore it is your responsibility as a parent or guardian to make sure you follow these age restriction laws and guidelines.
Features to Consider
Drones vary wildly in size and operating methods. It is important to consider the ease-of-use of a drone before purchasing one for your child. Look for a drone that has an easy start feature to make launch day simple. A quick return to home button is also an important feature to make sure your child’s drone can return back to them quickly and safely. Drones that have intuitive control systems will make sure your child gets the most out of their drone and will encourage them to learn more if they can master the basics of flying quickly.
Like all toys, drones need to be able to withstand the rough and tumble of play. But not all drones are created equally. Look for a drone that has easy to replace propellers and a design that will be forgiving of a few false starts. There would be nothing sadder for parents and children alike to see a cherished gift smashed to pieces on its maiden flight.
The final point of consideration when buying a drone is price. Compare the quality of the drone’s componentry with the price point. Buying from a reputable drone maker will mean you have customer and technical support even after you have purchased it. Meaning, go for a brand that has a solid presence online and a clear method of communicating with its customers. Here are some options for getting a young one flying their first drone.
Drones for kids reviews
Chinese startup Ryze Tech offers an affordable drone called Tello with technology from Intel and DJI. The $99 mini-drone has a camera that captures 360-degree video and streams live footage to a tablet and a selection of third-party VR headsets. The Tello drone, which weighs just 80 grams, can fly for 13 minutes and shoots 5-megapixel photos – perfect for the budding photographer, filmmaker or aspiring young drone pilot at home.
You don’t need to be a skilled pilot to capture great footage either. Tello comes with the DJI EZ shots feature, which means awesome short films are a cinch to make. Just set the drone’s mode to Circle, 360 or Up & Away and Tello’s software will capture and edit the perfect video story for you. As your junior drone enthusiast begins their training, Tello is a safe indoor drone too. It’s lightweight and sturdy design means it’s super kid-friendly.
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Another great option when looking to invest in a drone for younger family members is the DJI Spark. If your kids are not only budding drone enthusiasts but keen on the sports field, this is a brilliant choice for capturing family activities or even sports from the air. Spark shoots 12-megapixel shooter good for video at 1080p (30 fps) that delivers great photos and video. Spark flies about 16 minutes per charge.
The ActiveTrack feature automatically recognizes moving objects and tracks them reliably according to what they are and how fast they move. This is an excellent drone for kids that follows the user, so you’ll never miss another winning moment! Spark is intuitive to use and can be operated with Gesture Control. That's right. Use simple hand gestures to control the drone and get it to do cool maneuvers in various selfie modes. It's super fun and intuitive.
Important Pre-Flight Checklist
Once you’ve made your choice of drone, it’s important to follow some simple steps to make sure you get the most out of your drone experience. First, check whether it’s necessary to register your drone with local authorities. Even though drones for kids don’t seem dangerous it is important to cover all bases. If you’re based in the United States, the FAA requires all drones over 250 g (0.55 lbs) to be registered. Just head to the FAA’s website and pay the five dollar registration fee.
The next step is to insure your drone in case of accidental breakage. DJI Care provides peace of mind for drone users. Repair fees and related costs connected to damage to your DJI aircraft, gimbal or camera sustained during normal use will be covered by DJI after you purchase the service plan.
Read the Manual!
Once you are covered it’s time to get flying – well almost. Take some time before your maiden voyage to read the drone’s manual carefully. By taking the time now, you’ll have a richer and more enjoyable drone experience. As well as studying the manual, it’s crucial to familiarize both you and your child with the safe flying tips on the DJI website. Propeller guards, small attachments to your drone that fit over the propellers, are essential when first learning to fly a drone. The propeller guards will protect both the drone and any objects that might accidentally hit as new drone pilots master their device.
Ok – so it’s time to fly! But whether you’re about to launch your new Spark or Tello, it’s essential for fun and safety that children operating a drone are always supervised by an adult.
Drone flying is an activity the whole family can enjoy together. Children can use their drone to explore many skills and interests through their drone flying from creatively capturing videos, to learning about the engineering behind these incredible machines.