I grew up in a big family where we always had fun outdoors activities together. My parents believe that a family that plays together, stays together, and they are right. Now that I am a parent, I try (together with my wife) to plan family events with our children at least a couple of times a month. It’s hard to find activities enjoyed by all four kids, as skills and interests varied by age. And, they are more interested in their Facebook, snap chat…. Lucky for us, we all enjoy activities involving drones!
Here are some ideas for fun activities involving drones:
1. Create a Video message using a drone. A video message can be a fun project for the whole family. First create a project outline. Plan the project to fit within constraints. Remember your drone flight time limits. Remember where there are trees or other obstacles. Then get buy-in from everybody. Explain everybody’s tasks. Be careful not to over-plan the project and leave room for spontaneity. It may be advisable to have one or more practice runs to be sure that everybody can do their part and do it smoothly. Some ideas for a video message are:
- Introduce each member of the family. Start the introduction of each family member by having the drone fly by “catch” them doing their favorite hobby, then look up and say “Hi”. End the message by getting everybody together and have the drone do a close-up and then fly back to give a wide angle shot.
- Another way to create a message is to have each person stick his or her head out of a different window of the house and then each person waves as the drone flies by. This kind of video makes a great Christmas video. Add some post-production editing to have the words “Merry Christmas” appear across the bottom of the video.
- Are you going on a family vacation and want to send a message back to the office? Have one of the kids fly the drone out and then come in to where you are relaxing in a hammock. Just as the drone gets close enough, you can wave and say “Thinking of you — not!” – cut to black.
- Are you having some snow? Be sure to take the drone out and get some shots of the kids playing in the snow and the snow on the trees. These shots will make for good memories.
Check out our blogs on aerial photography on the types of aerial photography shoots, and drone camera features to look for.
2. Drone games
- I have heard of people who rigged a drone to bomb (with Cheetos or cheese puffs) people at a party. The idea was to catch the Cheetos in your mouth. I’m not sure how they did that, but seems like fun. (If you find out how to do that, let me know. I’d like to try it.)
- Another guy taped a laser pointer to his drone and spent hours teasing his cat.
- It seems that the kids always have too much energy. Let them chase the drone, but try to keep it a little too high when the kids are close, but near the ground when the kids are a little farther away.
- If you have a nano drone with some spare batteries, you can turn off the lights in the house and have everybody take turns trying to fly an obstacle course by the LED lights on the drone.
- It seems that it is possible, to use a drone to pull someone water skiing. Not sure I would want to try that, but …
3. Drones can be a fun way to record a sporting event or family outing. Once again, be careful not to fly over any people. Drones batteries do run out and drones will crash unexpectedly. Check out our article on how to avoid drone crashes .
- Think of what a great shot it would be to watch a person skiing downhill on a nice trail, the camera off to one side, framing your kid showing his/her skiing abilities.
- Or a shot showing the kids playing in a soccer game and across the field, the crowd watching and cheering.
- Drone shots make a great way to record vacations. Take your drone along on a hike, and show the family and the area where you are hiking.
- Take the drone to the family BBQ and get some overhead shots. (Be careful not to fly directly overhead of people.) Send the video to anybody who should have been there, but wasn’t there. Let them know what they missed.
4. Are you moving to a new home?
- Start out with a drone shot of the old home, starting the sequence up high and pull in to some familiar object (Perhaps a vase or a child’s toy) on the back porch / patio. Now shoot the reverse at the new house, starting close to the same object and then pull back to reveal the new location. This can be a good way to communicate to your friends and family. Be sure show the mail box or something to let them know the mailing address. When you put the two sequences together, the video that you get will be pretty awesome.
5. DIY Drones
- Building a “do it yourself” drone is a great project for parent – child time together. Of course we want to spend one-on-one time with each of the kids. If your kid is over 10 they can learn to put together the drone and do the soldering. These quadcopters will be tough enough build to require some parental involvement/supervision, but not so much that the child can’t do anything. You should be able to show the kid everything they need to know and have kid do almost everything.