Remote-controlled (RC) toys are fun and keep children engrossed. The RC toys range from simple cars or trucks to boats and sophisticated flying objects such as drones.
Drones are technically unmanned aerial vehicles or aircraft that are controlled remotely for aerial surveillance and other military purposes. Drones designed for civilian use and as toys are referred to as quadcopters, which come with a variety of features to suit the interests of children and adults alike. Besides providing entertainment, drones can also serve as tools to ignite a child’s interest in technology.
In this post, MomJunction shares a complete guide on drone usage by children and gives you a list of the 11 best drones for kids.
How Can Drones Be Useful To Children?
Drones or quadcopters can be more than toys when used correctly. The following are some ways drones positively influence children:
- Increased interest towards STEM: Drones fall in a category somewhere between toys and robotics. Regular use of drones may make a child interested in the inner workings of the device, which in turn can build their interest in robotics, as well as the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects.
- Make photography and geography intriguing: Several drones come with an in-built camera or have a provision to install a camera, like a GoPro. A camera allows for aerial photography of landscapes and other attributes of the land. Long-term use may expand a child’s interest in serious photography and the field of geography.
- Improve hand-eye coordination: Controlling a flying drone requires practice. Flying the drone often can help improve a child’s fine motor skills, thanks to the precision control needed while operating it.
Getting a drone for your child can be a good idea, but there are certain features that you must check before picking one.
Safety Tips For Drone Usage
Here are eight important tips to make drone usage safe for a child:
- Register first: If the weight of the drone is above 0.55lb (250g), then you must register the drone before use. The registration can be done online on the Federation of Aviation Administration’s website and costs $5 per drone. The registration is valid for three years (1).
- Check any restrictions in your area: Flying of drones over certain areas is restricted and could attract a penalty if you violate that rule. Examples of such spaces include national monuments and government-owned lands. Laws for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) also change as per state and region. Always check your local regulations and directives before letting the drone into the air.
- Use only under adult supervision: Children, including teenagers, must always use a drone under adult supervision. It helps keep the use of the drone within safe limits. Also, make sure to read the drone’s manual and explain each attribute about the drone’s control to the child.
- Do not fly from an elevated surface: Do not allow the child to fly the drone from an elevated surface such as the terrace of a building or an open staircase. The child could be so focused on the flying drone that they could miss a step.
- Do not fly over people: Drones should only be operated over an empty stretch of land. A few examples are your garden or backyard or a large park with sparse people in it. It prevents any unwanted injury to someone if the drone falls.
- Be mindful of photography: If you are clicking pictures with the drone’s camera, then keep it to general photography of the landscape or stick to clicking your own photos. Taking pictures of random people or properties is impolite, and not everyone will take it kindly even if it is only a child’s drone.
- Stay within the drone’s range: Check the drone’s manual for the range limit of the controller and stay well within the range. Flying the drone nearly to the limit of its range may cause you to lose contact with the drone, thus leading to its crash.
- Do not fly more than 400 feet: Most drones for kids seldom reach this height. Nevertheless, it is essential to know that you must avoid going over an altitude of 400 feet (122 meters) and also stay five miles (eight kilometers) away from an airport.
How To Choose The Right Drone For Kids?
Check the following aspects before picking a drone for your child.
- Weight: A lightweight drone is easy to maneuver and control for a child. Also, prefer lighter drones to heavier ones, as the US Federation Aviation Administration makes it compulsory to register all drones above the weight of 0.55lb (250g).
- Durable: If your child has never used a drone before, the chances of the drone falling are more initially. So look for a drone with a sturdy body that can survive those first few falls. Durability, along with a lightweight, is the paramount feature of drones for kids.
- Easy-to-control: Drones are usually operated with a controller that has a pair of joysticks plus a few other buttons on them. While it can require practice to master all the controls, the controller setup should not be overly complicated for the little one to understand.
- Ready-to-fly with no programming: Prefer drones that can fly right out of the box. Avoid drones that require extensive programming and calibration, as that could be too complicated for a child to understand and try.
- Prefer one with a headless mode: In headless mode, the drone can move in any direction: front or back. So if the child pushes the joystick forward, the drone moves forward even if the device’s true front is in the opposite direction. Headless mode makes driving and controlling the drone simpler, as the child won’t have to worry about the drone’s orientation.
Next, we list a few models of drones that you can consider for your child.
11 Best Drones For Kids
1. Spacekey Camera Drone
This drone from Spacekey has a compact and foldable design, making it an ideal toy to carry when traveling.
- The blades of the drone neatly fold inwards, thus giving the device a compact shape.
- An onboard HD camera can take videos at 30 frames per second. You can view the video in real-time using the drone’s proprietary app on your smartphone.
- There are other useful features, too, like one-button take off and landing. There is also a headless mode and an altitude-hold mode.
- One hour of charging gives up to eight minutes of drone flying time.
2. Drocon Navigator Drone
This drone features good quality camera optics, making it ideal for children interested in photography.
- The camera takes pictures in 720p HD resolution, using a wide 120° angle frame that allows you to capture a lot of detail within one frame.
- It also has other features such as altitude hold, one-touch landing and takeoff, and headless mode. These features make operating the drone easy for a first-time user.
- The manufacturer offers a one-year warranty on the device. You can also contact the manufacturer directly, should you need any spare parts for the drone.
- In some cases, the drone did not hold up against strong winds and got blown away.
3. Fitmaker RC Drone
If you are looking for a drone that is colorful, bright, and enticing to a little one, then you must consider the Fitmaker RC drone.
- The propellers stay within a circular frame, which works as a bumper – preventing accidental damage to the drone.
- The frame of the drone is fit with LED lights that aid in visibility when you fly the drone in the dark.
- It has two speed settings: a low-speed setting for indoor use and a high-speed setting for outdoor use.
- The drone also has a headless mode.
- A few users found the drone hard to control.
- The device also seems to have low wind resistance.
4. Potensic A20 Mini Drone
Potensic’s drone is packed with amazing features that improve the drone’s functionality and make flying it extra fun.
- The drone has a simple full-rotor design.
- It is ultra compact and can fit into a child’s palm.
- It has a one-key, automatic takeoff and landing feature, which is convenient for first-time drone users.
- It has a headless mode and three speed options, which enable precision control of the drone’s movements.
- The drone also has an altitude hold feature that lets it constantly hover at a fixed height.
- The size of the drone may come across as too small for some users.
- A few users noted that the compact and lightweight drone does not hold up well against winds of even medium force.
5. Holy Stone HS170 Predator Drone
The Holy Stone drone is compact, yet it packs several amazing features that are both entertaining and utilitarian.
- A bumper lines the edge of each fan blade, thus protecting the propeller fan from damage.
- The compact size of the drone makes it ideal for both outdoor and indoor use.
- It comes with a headless mode and a 360° flip function. The latter is a cool feature that can be useful in avoiding obstacles quickly.
- The drone has a one-key return feature. A press of the button on the controller automatically brings the drone back to you. This saves time and is also helpful when the child is unable to locate the drone.
- The maximum flying time is eight minutes, which is not long enough for the child to enjoy the activity thoroughly.
- The drone takes a full hour to charge completely, which means there will be a lot of time between two flying sessions.
6. Force1 Scoot Hands-Free Drone
If your child is new to drones and you want them to understand the gadget first, then the Scoot hands-free drone is an excellent first step.
- The drone navigates when you sway your hand gently in the direction you want it to fly. No controller is needed.
- Turn on the drone, and it will hover in the air. Sway the hand as if pushing the drone in a direction. The infrared sensors on the drone detect this motion and automatically move the drone in the desired direction.
- The drone is simple to handle and does not hover very high, making it safe for indoor use. When done playing with it, catch it in mid-air and turn it off.
- The drone’s battery can be recharged using a standard USB charger.
- Some users feel the drone is not very durable and found the plastic easily susceptible to damage.
7. Force1 Discovery HD+
The Discovery HD+ combines great maneuverability with a camera that can capture some good quality images.
- There is an onboard high-definition camera that can take pictures and videos at a rate of 30 frames per second.
- A six-axis gyroscope helps keep the drone stable. Your kid is quite likely to be happy with the clear and blur-free pictures that he will click with this drone.
- LED lights on the drone keep it visible in the dark. The drone’s light blink to indicate a low battery, thus letting the user know it is time to land the drone.
- A microSD card slot allows you to store images on the drone. You can connect the drone to a computer using the supplied data cable.
- You cannot view images and videos in real-time. It can be hard to tell what the camera is clicking when the drone is at a significant distance.
8. QCopter Drone
The QCopter drone’s extensive features and several superior hardware components make it a better choice than standard drones.
- The drone comes with a dual battery setup. It provides the device with enough power to fly for 30 minutes.
- The drone has a 1080p, full-HD camera that lets you take clear pictures and videos.
- You can connect the drone to WiFi and transmit real-time camera images to your smartphone.
- The manufacturer ships the drone with a crash kit, which contains a few replacement parts of the drone.
- A few buyers of the drone were not satisfied with the device’s build quality.
9. Syma X5C
Syma X5C one has easy-to-understand controls, making it easy for first-time users to fly the drone.
- Most users found the drone to be lightweight and durable. The drone is resistant to wind turbulence and can maintain stability with its gyroscope.
- The controller is simple and easy to use. An LCD on the controller provides the user with essential information about the drone.
- The manufacturer ships the drone with a spare propeller, guard, and battery.
- The drone can fly for a maximum of seven minutes. It takes 100 minutes for a full charge.
- There is no headless mode.
10. Air Hogs Star Wars Millennium Falcon
If your teens are Star Wars fans, then they will love this drone that’s shaped like the Millennium Falcon spacecraft from the Star Wars films.
- The four rotors lie within the main body of the drone, to prevent damage to the rotor in case of a fall or collision.
- The drone has LED lights and sound effects that add to the fun element.
- The device has an excellent range of 200 feet (61 meters), which allows for good outdoor use.
- You can charge the drone using a USB cable. The controller works on standard AA-size batteries. You can also charge the drone through the controller.
- Some users did not find the product durable. A few users reported the battery failing after a few charges.
11. Tello Drone
You don’t necessarily need a controller to operate this drone. The drone comes with three color options.
- The drone can be controlled by a controller or a smartphone app. The controller also has a slot to fit the smartphone.
- You can use your smartphone’s screen to see real-time videos and images shot from the HD camera on the drone.
- The drone comes in several external skin color options including a version themed after the famed comic book hero Iron Man.
- Some users reported problems when pairing the drone with a smartphone.
Drone flying is fun but can become hazardous when not used properly. Next, we tell you how to use a drone to ensure the safety of the user and the other people around.
Drones can be categorized somewhere between a toy and gadget. When used correctly, flying drones is fun and also educational. It improves the child’s skills and ability to exercise control while increasing their interest in technology. That said, adult supervision and adherence to safety are two key things to keep in mind to get the most out of the drone use.
Has your child flown drones? How was the experience? Do tell us in the comment section below.
Disclaimer: MomJunction may earn a commission when products are purchased through affiliate links given in the article. However, this partnership does not influence the editorial content featuring in our list.