Product Type: ELC Outdoor Toy
Newest Review: ... happy with this in terms of quality and fun had. It is currently available on both ELC website and Amazon who sell some of their products, ... more
ELC Rocket Zoomer
Member Name: arleek
ELC Rocket Zoomer
Advantages: Easy to use, lightweight
Disadvantages: Rockets easily damaged
We had had previous experience of a toy like this from my nephew, but it was aptly named a 'Stomp Rocket' and it was a magnificent piece of kit, but designed for large gardens (not small city gardens like ours). The ELC version however, is a much more modest piece of equipment, and better designed for the younger generation, and also the smaller garden.
**What You Get**
The Rocket Zoomer is a very simple piece of kit; you get two foam rockets, and a launcher (which is like a tripod like thing where you position the rockets) and this is attached to a pipe which is fed from a circular, dome shaped 'pad' which is full of air. The idea is that you place a rocket on the launcher, then jump on the pad as hard as you can, the air whooshes from the pad, through the pipe and into the launcher, and then you will see the rocket fly up into the air.
The launcher part of the zoomer is made from plastic and it relatively sturdy. Ours has been thrown about the garden, in and out of water, and stomped on numerous times, and has suffered very little damage. The rockets however, are quite poor. They are made from a very lightweight foamy type material (which is to be expected if they are to fly), and each rocket has 3 fins attached which were unfortunately removed by my 2 year old within hours of owning the toy. My husband has since glued these back on, but they just come straight off again. Whether this affects the flight of the rockets I have yet to determine because they don't tend to fly very far anyway (which is a good thing because if they did fly far then we would have lost them by now!)
This was an immediate hit with the children, aged 4 and 2; the toy is recommended for ages 3-8 but I think my 2 year does pretty well with it (even if she couldn't resist destroying the rockets). Out of the 3 different outdoor toys that my husband bought, this is definitely the favourite. My 4 year can use the toy completely unaided although she can get frustrated when she misses the stomping pad because she needs to actually jump on it to get the rocket to fly, she does not have enough power simply by standing on it, whereas an adult would be able to just stamp their foot on it and make it fly. My daughter has to jump, so if she doesn't aim right then she can get frustrated, and actually twisted her knee a while back after landing at a funny on the pad. My 2 year old has not yet the full ability to make the rocket fly, perhaps once in 10 attempts she can get it, but most of the time she just likes to watch, or locate the rockets (and dismantle them) once her big sister has made them fly away.
If you get enough power on the stomper then the rockets can go quite high, but they don't tend to very far in any direction, they will either go quite high and then float back down a couple of metres from where you are stood, or fly off at an angle and go a couple of metres away. I have never seen them go further than this, which is a good thing when it is designed for children so young; and also an excellent thing for small gardens, and even indoor play. The other good thing is that the rockets are lightweight so if you were to play indoors, there is very little chance of anything getting damaged.
We recently took this to a family gathering, which consisted of children ranging from age 2 up to 14, and it was a hit with all of them. I would say the 7 & 9 year olds seemed to get the most enjoyment from it, but the little ones liked to watch and retrieve the rockets. It seemed to be the main focal point for the children for most of the day.
** Final Thoughts and Verdict**
If I had not previously seen another better equipped 'stomp rocket' then I think I would have been more impressed with this toy. But saying that, if you think that it is specifically designed for children aged 3-8, then it is probably perfectly adequate for what it is meant to do. Being the way it is, the children in the correct age group can play relatively happily, and you know they are capable of stomping and retrieving the rockets because they never go very far, and everything is very lightweight and easy to handle, so adult intervention is rarely required.
The only thing that I would change is the amount of rockets that were provided, at least 4 or 5 would have been better, and then the kids would be able to have more fun stomping before running around retrieving them. I would have perhaps made the rockets more child friendly too, i.e. not so easily pulled apart!
But all in all it's a good toy, and my kids have had a lot of enjoyment from it.
You will find it in the Early Learning Centre for £5, but is currently on offer for £3.50. And I have only seen the pink version although I do believe other colours are available.
Summary: Fun outdoor toy
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