Ask GeekDad: My daughter wants a UFO!

Geek Culture

Dylan Tweeny writes with a question:

My daughter, age 6, has become obsessed with the idea of building a flying saucer. She wants it to be full sized, to actually fly, and to have some kind of grabbers so she can pick up other kids and spirit them away.

As a geek dad, I’m thrilled that she wants to build a flying saucer. But I’m also puzzled, because I have no idea how to harness this interest in a way that will be satisfying for her. She’s not interested in making models. She has enjoyed creating spec sheets and drawing plans, and we’ve Googled for flying saucer plans (not much out there). But now we’re rapidly getting to the point where we will have to build something, or else I will have to try and divert her to some other project. 

So, anyone got any plans for a flying saucer that we could crib from? Or ideas for how to channel this geeky interest into something a little more feasible?

My answer:

I assume that $90k (and years of waiting) [shown] are too much

Seriously, what’s appropriate for a six year old? If it were me, I’d make one out of cardboard big enough so that she and her friends could get in it. It wouldn’t fly, but then again, it wouldn’t crash. Plus they could draw their own instrument panel, including any cool screens they wanted.

If you want something that actually moves, I’d consider modding a pull-wagon so that it at least looks like a flying saucer and you could roll down the driveway.

I can’t imagine any way you could do something that flies with a six year old.

Dylan responds:

Of course actual flight is out of the question. Cardboard is probably where we are headed. I like the idea of a modded wagon though!

Another possibility is a leaf blower hovercraft like this one:

What I was wondering is whether anyone else had faced this problem — surely there are other 6 year olds clamoring for flying saucers
– and how they solved it. I’m looking for inspiration, I guess. And the geekdad readers seem to have plenty of that.

Over to you all in the comments. Help Dylan make a flying saucer for/with his daughter!

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