When you’re a kid, what’s second best to learning to fly? Learning to control a flying machine that can climb several hundred feet in the air while filming the landscape below. Learning to fly and work with drones holds many exciting possibilities for kids. In fact, flying drones is a great family hobby that takes everyone outside, especially as the kids reach tween and teenage years.
If the hobby gets to the point where they’re designing and building their own machines, they’ll be developing their STEM skills and have a blast doing it. Drones for kids can create a play space where education meets entertainment.
Start small: Choose a less expensive drone and bring it to a park with plenty of open space for experimental flying. If your kids end up latching on to flying drones as a hobby, you can eventually invest in a more high-powered model. Don’t shell out hundreds of dollars on a model if you’re not sure if the hobby is going to stick around for longer than six months. Also, consider durability and ease of use, because when kids are learning to fly, you can expect plenty of bumps and crashes!
Choose your flight site carefully: Choose open spaces that aren’t filled with people on a still day, avoiding trees, bodies of water, rooflines and other hazards and obstacles until the kids become proficient at operating the machine.
Consider flying assistance: The last thing a parent wants is to drop more than $100 on a machine, only to have it end up as a pile of rubble after their kid accidentally crashes it. Luckily, some drones are compatible with flying apps that give kids a quick course in becoming a master pilot, complete with flight commands, programming and learning control.
Try a DIY drone kit: If the hobby seems to be catching their fancy, invest in a drone kit to provide a unique STEM challenge for hands-on kids. For example, this build-it-yourself drone is also compatible with LEGO Bricks. Once they piece it together and get the hang of flying it, they can grab pieces from their own collection to customize the flight — and pick up aspects of the physics and engineering of flight.
Level up and join an organized drone group: The only thing better than tinkering around with your own flying machine is getting together with a bunch of other people who love doing the same — and are really, really good at it. Look for local hobby groups, leagues and even camps geared for tweens and teens. Some are dedicated to flying (and doing it responsibly and ethically), while others include a construction and design element as well. These groups can attract engineers, scientists, educators as well as people who just like to tinker. If they’re willing to mentor and help, how great would that be? Check out droneusergroups.net or meetup.com. Or, just complete an online search to see what’s available in your region.
Know the drone rules: The Federal Aviation Administration has regulations governing the flight of drones, so it’s always a good idea to review these from time to time. It’s a big no-no, for example, to fly your drone within five miles of an airport. You’re also prohibited from allowing your drone to fly out of your sight range. Above all, respect people’s privacy.
Think big. Drone flying can lead to great careers: When it comes to getting proficient at flying these remote-controlled machines, the sky’s the limit. Drones can already perform many tasks for us, from taking aerial photos to reaching high, tight spaces. Down the line, more opportunities to pilot and use drones can emerge. Kids who get to spend time flying them may one day parlay their interest and experiences into an exciting and well-paying engineering or aviation career.
Drones are just another example of how STEM activities can lead to some hardcore fun (and learning). We at Bricks 4 Kidz can always get behind that! Find an upcoming Bricks 4 Kidz class in your community today.