Unidentified Flying Objects

My kids are about the least likely in the state to become addicted to video games. That’s mostly because their dad and mom aren’t into video games, and we’re fine with keeping things that way. Growing up in the earliest era of gaming, I managed to stay clean even through college, and by that point my lack of skill was embarrassing enough to keep me away for good. However, we have discovered a fun activity that takes the place of video games for our kids: flying drones. Here’s why drones are superior to video games, and why your family should try them out.

Drones develop all the coordination skills of video games, but cheaper. For $20 or so, you can buy a ready-to-fly beginner mini drone and a few key spare parts online. (Obviously these are not the professional drones which you dump hundreds of dollars into. We started with these two, and have been happy with how they’ve lasted: Drone 1, Drone 2. We have had to order extra propellers…) Now the kids can learn to maneuver their new toy in three dimensions, and as they gain proficiency, do cool stunts and tricks with it.

Furthermore, rather than retreating into a virtual world, the kids can do this outside, getting fresh air and physical activity chasing their flying object. This also makes drones a more social activity. Rather than holing up in their rooms, have the kids convince a couple friends to buy their own beginner drones and go to a park together, watch each other fly, even have competitions.

Also, unlike virtual reality, drones are one way to teach kids the pride and the responsibility of ownership. The drone is physically theirs, and to enjoy it they have to take care of it and keep track of it and all its accessories. And of course the consequences of mistakes are real too – you can really crash your drone into a tree and break it. Which leads me to the next point…

Drones help kids begin to develop maintenance skills. Admittedly, I started out as the one replacing the broken pieces and swapping out batteries, but the kids have begun taking more of an active role in this. Of course, you can take this to another level with expensive kits and accessories, but that won’t happen in our house until the kids can help pay for them themselves.

Finally, drone skills may well be a valuable commodity in the future. Real estate, surveying, package delivery… not to mention espionage and space travel… get your kids started early!

My family’s collection of mini drones

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Tim Carr

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