The Best Toy Drones for Kids To Fly

Boy Flying Drone Toy
Getty Images / Brigitte Blättler

Not willing to spend thousands of dollars on an expensive drone for a child? What are the best toy drones for young kids to fly?

Many kids are obsessed with remote control toys, but not just vehicles that can drive, ones that can fly. With the increasing popularity of drones, it is only natural that a child would want one of these amazing but expensive flying machines. It is definitely not reasonable to buy a thousand dollar drone for a young child. Do not worry, there are many hobby or toy...MORE drones that young kids will enjoy learning how to fly with a parent's supervision.

Drones are quadcopters, or flying machines with 4 simultaneously spinning rotors. Many have a high definition camera that allows them to take aerial video footage and still pictures while flying. The size, features and costs of a drone can vary. Adults and teenagers, who are looking for quality footage with easy-to-fly features can expect to pay hundreds up to thousands of dollars for a drone. Pilots of these expensive drones must register their drone with the FAA, which costs $5. This is to ensure that the pilot does not fly a drone in restricted airspace. Expensive drones might look like a toy, but they are not. They are a complicated piece of technology that are not meant for kids to play with or fly.

Most drones are recommended for teenagers, ages 14 and above. However, for those younger kids who are obsessed with wanting a drone, there are many toy drones. These drones have the look, feel and even some features of an expensive drone, but they have been designed to allow younger children to be in control, and their parents or gift givers are not left paying a lot of money.  

Considering buying a toy drone for a young child? Here are a few tips.

  • Read all labels and packaging. Many inexpensive toy drones do not include the ability to film video or take pictures, some are recommended for indoor use or outdoor use, but not always both
  • Most drones require the use of a bluetooth compatible device such as an iOs or Android phone or tablet. While the apps are free to download, firmware on the drones and the apps will need to be regularly updated to make sure the drone flies accurately
  • Learning to fly or drive any remote control vehicle, even with automatic feature, is not something most children can pick up and do without practice and trouble shooting
  • Parents will need to plan on dedicating time to help kids learn how to maneuver these toys
  • Parents should always properly supervise a child using a drone at all times
  • Research whether the drone purchased needs to be registered with the FAA. Registering the drone costs only $5 and takes 5 minutes online. If it is not registered and needs to be, there are many legal ramifications including expensive fines
  • For safety, always fly drones, especially for the first time, in a large open area like a field, far away from other people, buildings or roadways
  • Should you purchase an outdoor drone, do not fly the drone on windy days. Drones can become hard to manage with wind gusts and get lost, disappear, or stuck in a tree
  •  It is very easy for an inexperienced flyer, especially a child to fly a drone onto someone else's private property
  • Always charge the drone and be aware of how much flight time a drone is capable of. Should the battery be running low, some drones are equipped to return back to their origin with enough battery life to spare, others are not
  • 45-60 minutes of charging time, generally only equals up to 10 minutes of flying time
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    The Skyrocket SkyViper Professional drone includes many of the features of very expensive drones, but has been designed with features for beginning pilots. This specific Skyviper drone shoots aerial video and includes auto-launch, auto-land, auto-hover and auto-return features. GPS Geo-Fencing keeps the drone flying within specific parameters. Plan ahead, this drone takes 30-45 minutes to charge and also requires registration with the FAA.  Video streams in 720p and records at 1080p. Skyrocket...MORE toys includes YouTube videos for new flyers to watch on how to use their drone. The company also provides a warranty and very dedicated customer service.

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    Love to race cars or assault vehicles and fly drones? REV Air includes both toys. It can be played as a single player activity or a multiplayer game. Each pilot chooses whether to control the car or the flying drone. If there is only one player, once the toys engage in  a battle, using artificial intelligence, the other toy controls itself! REV Air requires the use of an app through a bluetooth smart device such as a phone or tablet. REV Air is recommended for ages 8 and up.

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    In order to fly LUMI the indoor gaming drone, the family or child will need to have access to an iOs or Android phone or tablet with bluetooth. LUMI should not be flown outside. After opening the box, follow the instructions to download the LUMI app and charge the drone. With the tap of an icon, LUMI will rise into the air. LUMI flies on auto-pilot, so once in the air, through the app, kids can focus on being in charge of LUMI to play games like "Follow the Leader" while they walk around...MORE holding a special beacon. LUMI can be programmed to fly to the beat of a person's favorite music. This gaming drone can also perform amazing trick stunts like flipping over. Currently LUMI does not take video footage. Lumi is a great gift recommendation for tweens, or kids ages 8 and up. 

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    Looking for a multiplayer drone racing game? Up to 4 players can race their drones against each other at the same time! Special beacons are placed on the ground to determine the course, which keep track of each player's time during the race. An app is required for gameplay.

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    Some drones are so small they can even fit in a pocket! The Odyssey Toys pocket drone, recommended for flyers ages 12 and up, can be flown inside or outside. LED lights also allow it to be flown at night. This small drone is capable of taking HD videos and 2.3 mega pixel photos that are saved to an internal 4GB SD memory card. A smartphone or tablet is not required. The pocket drone includes a carry case, small remote control and collapsible blades, which is how it can fold up to be stored in an...MORE inconspicuous place.

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    The Parrot Mambo mini drone has different accessories so players can engage in games and activities while flying. The drone is able to complete flips and barrel rolls. A cannon shoots a miniature ball, up to 6 feet away, and can be used for trick shots,  stunts and target practice. A grabber claw allows the drone to pick up, carry, deliver and release cargo that weights up to 4 grams.

     

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    The Air Hogs Helix Sentinel Drone is both an indoor and outdoor toy drone. It includes a built-in high speed camera, that allows multiple devices to be connected at the same time to stream and record footage. The Helix Sentinel Drone arrives with virtual reality googles, so drone pilots can watch video footage in 3D. The Helix Sentinel drone is recommended for ages 10 and up and arrives inside a sturdy storage case.

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    Star Wars​ fans will love engaging in an epic attack with this battling drone toy. Choose whether to pilot the X-Wing Drone or the TIE Fighter Drone. Once in the air, the toys battle each other. The player to fly their drone and fire 3 direct hits to the other toy in order to win. 

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    ​The Air Hogs Helix is a very basic remote control drone. This drone costs less than $50 and can be flown both indoors and outdoors. The Helix does not include any video streaming capabilities, so it does not require the use of a smartphone or tablet. Given a crash resistant frame, this drone is recommended for beginning flyers, ages 8 and up. The drone does include both basic and advanced flying modes. The remote requires 6 "AA" batteries, and the drone charges by plugging a USB cord...MORE into the remote control.

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    The StarChaser can be flown with a remote control, or while wearing a virtual reality headset. The StarChaser drone can be used indoors and outdoors and utilized to film video footage in 720p. 60 minutes of charge time equates to 5-8 minutes of flying time. The StarChase is capable of maneuvering through 360 degree flips. LED lights allow it to be flown at night, too. 

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    Love to play with blaster toys? Maneuver the NERF N-Strike TerraScout, even over rough terrain, then use it to blast NERF darts at a drone! A live video feed on the remote control is able to record battles. 

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    The X-7 Microlite drone is designed to take off from any surface, and with fiber-optic LED lights, is fun to fly during the day and at night.  The drone has 3 speeds, beginner, intermediate and expert. It is capable of performing 360 degree flips. One hour of charge time equals 6-8 minutes of flying time, up to 100 meters. It is a toy recommended for teenagers, ages 14 and up.