The Best Drones for Kids for STEM Learning
Table of Contents
- STEM Learning Introduction
- Best Drones for Kids
- Best Drones for Kids Quick Comparison
- Things to Consider Before Buying
- What You Need To Know Before Your Kid Flies
- Quadcopter Reviews
- Holy Stone HS170 Review
- Syma X5C Review
- Hubsan X4 H107L Review
- UDI 818A Quadcopter Review
- Dromida Ominus Review
STEM Learning Introduction
The importance of STEM learning is becoming more, and more important in today’s advancing technological and innovation dependent world. STEM is an acronym that stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Science is everywhere around us given our reliance on physics and chemistry. Engineering deals with the design of complex mechanisms, buildings, roads, and infrastructure necessary to operate modern cities. Mathematics is ever present in just about every occupation.
By getting kids involved with STEM topics at an early age provides an opportunity to explore STEM-related topics. This will allow them to develop a passion that will lead to higher education in STEM fields. Making STEM topics interesting will help the child develop and grow mentally.
Why is STEM Learning Important?
As a parent, if you want to give your child the best chance for success in the future, you will want to get them involved in STEM education early. Data shows that STEM degree holders have a higher income, even in non-STEM related careers.
The “geek in a lab coat” stereotype of yesterday has been replaced with the understanding of a need for professionals who can solve the complex problems of today. Problems such as third world hunger, cancer, global warming, and protecting the environment can only be addressed with STEM-based solutions.
The STEM Knowledge Gap
The main issue facing todays industry is the lack of a STEM knowledgeable labor supply to fill the available job market demand. Despite students showing high potential, many lack the interest to enter STEM related fields. Some have the perception that these subjects are simply too difficult for them to understand, so they switch majors and move away from STEM fields. This deprives them of the opportunity of a higher paying job.
More importantly, is the STEM knowledge gap that is created, which has long term implications. STEM careers are needed to sustain innovation, build communities, and compete globally.
Start STEM Learning Early
If you really want children to get involved and interested in STEM topics, we need to break away from passive education, and encourage more play and investigation. Get the child active, engaged, and involved. Also, instead of getting them video games that places them in front a screen for hours on end, get them STEM based toys to help motivate their interests.
Drones for STEM Learning
With the importance of STEM learning introduced, it is important to note that STEM based toys are an easy way to get kids interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics topics. These learning toys promote logic, problem solving, and creativity skills that drives an interest in STEM topics. Drones and quadcopters can contribute to children being interested in STEM topics.
Quadcopters have become more popular with the growing use and inexpensive availability of these novel toys. Young children are very excited with anything that flies, and can’t wait to get their hands on a toy quadcopter. They may have seen one on television, watched someone playing with one in a park, or one of their friends has their very own quadcopter. If you are thinking of buying a quadcopter for a young child you need to consider various factors to help you pick one of the best drones for kids.
The best drones for kids that we have selected look amazing, are simple to fly, and will provide your kids with hours of fun.
Best Drones for Kids Quick Comparison
Hubsan X4 H107L
Small and Fast
Holy Stone HS170
Great for Beginners
Great Flight Stability
Impossible to Break
Things to Consider Before Buying
Does the Drone have Prop Guards?
You can think of prop guards as small plastic bumpers that protect the propellers and the surroundings from getting damaged. Most prop guards also allow a quadcopter to fly against the ceiling without any worry of damage. This is important to consider since the first few flying lessons for your child will most likely be indoors where there is no wind effect. Having this protection will give you some piece of mind as your youngster is learning how to fly their new drones for kids.
How Long Will the Drone Fly?
When buying a quadcopter for a child, sometimes the manufacturer does not make it explicitly clear on the package how long the drone will fly for, or how long it will take to charge the battery. Typical LiPo (Lithium Polymer) batteries for quadcopters take about 60 to 90 minutes to charge, and you can expect flight times of about 10 minutes. So an hour to charge for 10 minutes of fun time. You see the obvious problem here? The solution is to get extra batteries so the child can get extra flying time by swapping out the battery.
How Easy is it to Fly?
You may be thinking that the smaller the quadcopter, the easier it is to fly. Right? Wrong. You need to determine if the quadcopter comes equipped with accelerometers, a slightly smarter flight control computer, and if it has a headless mode. All of these features will make the flight of the quadcopter more stable, and will ease the learning of flying. You do not need to spend hundreds of dollars in order to find a quadcopter with these extra features. There are plenty of quadcopters under the 100 dollar mark that have these extra abilities.
How Durable is the Drone?
As your child is learning to fly their new drone, there is one inevitable truth you should get used to right now. That drone will crash, a lot, and into many objects. We understand this, and have taken the durability of the quadcopter into consideration when making our recommendations.
All the recommended quadcopters are regarded as the most durable models currently available.
For most collisions, you will simply need to pick up the drone and send it back flying. For harder impacts, you may end up breaking the propeller guards, but these can be easily replaced since most models come with spares.
Can I Get Spare Parts?
As durable as the recommended quadcopters are, we all know that kids will be kids and eventually their new toy will experience a very hard impact. This is the usual outcome when a kid gets a new toy.
When the quadcopter breaks, you want to be able to be able to repair the quadcopter and get your kid back to flying. The manufacturers of these best drones for kids all make spare parts kits available. In fact, you may want to consider being proactive and buy the spare parts before the quadcopter breaks.
Then you get to be the parental hero who fixed your child’s toy.
Camera or No Camera ?
May of the entry level quadcopters come equipped with camera to provide extra fun options for your child. This extra feature may motivate your child to learn how to fly the quadcopter with more control in order to capture proper photos or video footage. However, we have found that the camera distracts the child from focusing on learning how to fly, and becomes a detriment to their quadcopter learning.
Does it have Simple Controls?
If you are reading this article, then you are probably buying your child his/her first quadcopter. It is important that the quadcopter be simple to fly, otherwise your child can get very easily frustrated.
All the selected quadcopters come with a low flying mode that reduces the maneuverability and agility, making the drone easier to fly. Being easy to fly does not mean there will be no practice needed. A simple maneuver such as hovering does take some practice to master.
Once your child has mastered the basics, you can put the quadcopter into the advanced flight mode. This will provide your child with extra speed and agility, and will provide a more exciting flying experience.
How Much Should I Spend?
We suggest spending in the range of $50 to $100 for your child’s first quadcopter. Granted you can buy a quadcopter for under $50. However, these are more in the toy grade category, and simply do not fly well.
The cheaper models have simple, if any sensors, a low-end flight control system, and a basic controller. The response of these cheaper quadcopters is sluggish, along with very poor flight stability.
By spending a little bit more, you will get a higher quality, and better performing quadcopter. In the end, this will make your child happier with their flying quadcopter.
What You Need To Know Before Your Kid Flies
Understand the Flying Rules
Quadcopters cannot be flown anywhere and everywhere. First, if you are thinking of getting a quadcopter that weighs more than 0.55 pounds, then you should be aware that you will need to register the drone at registermyuas.faa.gov. To avoid this hassle, consider getting a lighter quadcopter that does not require registration. Drone pilots must follow the flight rules that include flying the drone within their line of sight, flying no higher than 400 feet and away from crowded public areas. You also need to be sure you are at least five miles away from the nearest airport.
Auto vs Manual Flying Mode
The best drones for kids recommended here all feature an auto and a manual flying mode. What the auto mode does is limit the maximum quadcopter roll and pitch angle, allowing for more stable flight.
This means your child can’t accidently flip the quadcopter and send it flying it into the ground.
Once your child has a better grasp on quadcopter flying, you can promote them to manual flying mode.
Speaking of flips, some quadcopters come with a special flip button that allows for some fancy aerial acrobatics. This feature is always a hit with kids.
Flying Inside vs Outside
If possible, you should start your child off by flying inside so they can get used to the response and control of the quadcopter. However, flying outside requires the development of some extra skills to be able to fly even in slightly breezy conditions.
If you let your child simply head outside and start flying, you can expect the quadcopter to veer off and fly into a tree.
Start your child off by flying close to the ground, and in very light to zero breezy conditions. Eventually your child will develop a feel for how to fly their quadcopter in windy conditions.
Emergency Shut-off Switch
When you think that the quadcopter is about to crash, it is safer to shut off the drone before it goes crashing into a wall or the ground. This helps to reduce damage to the quadcopter’s motors, propellers, and household objects.
The quadcopter will crash, but this will minimize the damage.
Flight School for Kids
Although you will find drones and quadcopters listed in the toy sections of most stores, we want to stress that quadcopters are NOT toys. The Federal Aviation Agency does not consider drones to be toys, and has enacted new laws to ensure a safe airspace. You cannot just hand over to the child their new drone, and let them play unattended.
As the adult, you need to exercise your patience and discipline and teach the child how to safely fly their new quadcopter. Start off by flying inside to develop some basic flying skills before heading off to your local park. To make learning to fly more fun, you can setup an obstacle course that will encourage your child to learn proper flight control.
Holy Stone HS170 Review
- Excellent flight control response
- Great for beginner fliers
- Can perform stunts
- Does not have a camera
- Low battery life
- Controller batteries not included
This quadcopter has some amazing features that really make it fun to fly, and simple to control. This agile drone can perform flips, and tricks, but also has a camera to take aerial videos and pictures. What makes this quadcopter great for kids, is its durability. It comes with prop guards, and landing feet that cushion rough landings. The prop guards are curved, so they also protect the quadcopter from ceiling impacts.
Though this drone is relatively inexpensive, it has a great durable build quality, and has three different flight modes for to suit both beginner, and experienced fliers. The drone also comes with replacement blades; in case you break one through intensive flying.
The removable battery takes about 30 minutes to charge, and you can expect an average of 8 minutes flight time per charge. We suggest that you get extra batteries, so you can keep flying.
This quadcopter has a headless mode, which makes it easy for first time fliers to get the hang of the flight controls.
This is one of the best drones for kids since this quadcopter offers many features for a low price. It is tough, and will withstand crashes and impacts, which a new flier is sure to do often.
Syma X5C Review
- Very stable flight performance
- Easy and fun to fly
- Very affordable
- Batter door is flimsy
- Average flight times
- Controller is ugly
Syma has made itself a name in the RC market, and has released 20 different quadcopers and helicopters, all rather good quality. Though the price for the Syma X5C may be low, you will be surprised by its sleek design, and its stable flight dynamics. This quadcopter is easy to learn to fly, and is rugged enough to withstand a few rough landings. You will find numerous features, and it will certainly not break on its first flight.
This drone has a 6-axis gyroscope which provides high flight stability even when it is a bit windy outside. The 360 degree eversion control is a fun feature that allows the drone to roll continuously. The flight controller allows control even at larger distances, and is less affected by interference.
This quadcopter flies best in light winds. You can get some extra maneuverability by removing the camera and prop guards. The LED lights are a bit dim during the day, so it can be hard to know the drone orientation.
You can expect flight times of about 10 minutes without the camera on. The more images you take the less flight time you can expect.
The Syma X5C comes with a 2MP 720P HD Camera for taking pictures and videos while flying. There is a 2 GB microSD card that stores the videos and images, that can then be inserted into a PC for viewing. The camera is rather simple, and is fixed in one direction, zoom settings, and focus. You will not get any stunning aerial images, but the camera does a decent job.
The Syma X5C is a good quadcopter or both experienced, and beginner fliers.
Hubsan X4 H107L Review
- Lightweight and compact design
- Soft feet for hard landings
- Easy to learn to fly
- Short flight times
- Trimming controls can be tricky
- Transmitter battery not included
This quadcopter makes the list of best drones for kids due to design and size. This quadcopter is slightly larger than a typical smart phone, and without the battery, hardly weighs anything. Due to its low mass, its best to fly this quadcopter outside only when there is no wind. This drone flies best inside and provides a responsive and stable flying experience. This quadcopter has small rubber feet that help to soften rough landings.
The Hubsan X4 is powered by a 3.7V lithium polymer batter that takes about an hour charge. On average, you can expect flight times of about 9 minutes. However, if you fly aggressively you will have flight times less than this. You should get yourself a few extra batteries so can have a longer flying session. Outside, you can fly this quadcopter to a range of 30 meters.
Along with the quadcopter, you get a basic flight controller, spare propellers, battery, and a USB charging cable.
This quadcopter may be small, but don’t be fooled by this. The Hubsan X4 is very fast, is very maneuverable, and is highly dynamic. Once your kid gets used to flying this little quadcopter, you can put it into expert mode and really see what this drone is capable of. You will be very surprised by how smooth this quadcopter flies.
This quadcopter is excellent for kids to learn how to fly a quadcopter. It is a reliable, and durable little drone that will last you a long time.
UDI 818A Quadcopter Review
- Excellent flight control response
- Great for beginner fliers
- Can perform stunts
- Does not have a camera
- Low battery life
- Controller batteries not included
This quadcopter is a perfect fit for beginners and novice fliers who are looking to develop their piloting skills before moving up to a more expensive drone. This drone is built to take a beating, but you will want to stay away from flying over asphalt or concrete.
The 3.7V 500 mAh LiPo battery takes about an hour to charge. However, on average you can expect an average flight time of only 8 minutes. You will want to stock up on some extra batteries for this quadcopter in order to increase your flying time.
The camera is a small lump at the bottom of the drone connected to the body by a power wire. There is a slot on the side where the micro USB card is inserted for video and image storage. The videos quality is only 640 x0 480 pixels at 30 frames per second.
This quadcopter has the speed and quick maneuvering of a small drone, and widely spaced rotors of larger drones for more stable flying. Flight stability is further enhanced by 6 gyroscopes. This quadcopter comes with two flight modes: low and high. The low mode limits the climbing and turning speed, making it great for beginners. Once you learn to fly properly, you can jump to the high mode which provides faster turning and climbing speed.
There is a cool 360-degree eversion maneuver which will make the quadcopter automatically do a flip in the air. This quadcopter is fun to fly for a low price.
Dromida Ominus Review
- Sturdy and robust design
- Good for all levels
- Replacement parts available
- No camera
- Not good in wind
- Motors a bit loud
First off all, this has to be one of the best-looking beginner drones that you could possibly buy. The sleek predator-like appearance makes this drone stand out. This drone has a high build quality, and Dromida claims that this drone is “nearly impossible to break”, making it perfect for kids. You crash it into trees, rocks, and your house. Pick it up and, it is ready to fly.
This drone comes with everything you need to get flying, including batteries for the controller. The box can be used as a transportation case.
This quadcopter comes with a relatively large 700 mAh LiPo battery, that will give you about 11 minutes of flight on a single charge. If you fly more aggressively, the flight time will reduce.
This quadcopter not only looks amazing, but flies great too. You will experience a smooth and stable flight, with plenty of maneuverability and agility. You can make this drone flip at the push of a button, which is a lot of fun. There are four different flight modes, suitable for all levels of flying experience.
You can’t go wrong with this quadcopter. It has a sleek, and durable design that is perfectly suited for kids.
Best Drones for Kids Summary
The drone market is ever evolving at a rapid pace, with new models coming out every few months. The drones that we recommended have the right balance of price, durability, and features to provide your child with an amazing first time flying experience. Soon your child will be learning how to perform aerial stunts, and accurately flying their new drone. Your child definitely deserves the best.
We hope this article has been a good resource to help you determine the best drones for kids