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: historywitch
ELC Rocket Zoomer
Advantages: Cheap, Exciting, Encourages fresh air and running around
Disadvantages: Not very durable, bits easily lost
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a child in possession of a toybox will generally opt for the bright noisy plastic toy over any number of worthy wooden educational efforts (apologies Jane Austen). The Rocket Zoomer from the Early Learning Centre is a case in point. Despite the fact that it does nothing more than send something up into the air with a jet of air, it has been one of the most popular toys that we have owned. My daughter got it for her fourth birthday and it lasted a very impressive year and a half before it hit the big toy graveyard in the sky (otherwise known as the kitchen bin).
*What do you get?*
A small plastic tripod with a small cylinder which fits on top, two light foam rockets (one long and thin, one short and fat), a length of plastic tubing and a soft plastic bulb. All the bits come separately in the box but its very easy to put it all together using the picture on the front of box. The cylinder and tripod are the base for the rocket, the tubing connects to the bottom and the bulb slips onto the end of the tubing. A push on the bulb with a hand or a foot forces air through the tube and whooshes the foam rocket into the air. Extremely simple but an awful lot of fun. When you have finished you can take the Zoomer apart again and store it in the cardboard box.
ELC says from 3 years
I think my daughter would have still enjoyed this at 6 and so would her friends. A child needs to have the strength and co-ordination to step on the plastic bulb with force and to have grown out of the desire to bite chunks out of things!
*How much is it*
£5, although I did see that it was available on ELC online for £3.50
This is one of those toys that provides a lot of intense enjoyment for half an hour or so before attention and interest wanes for a while. Every time it appeared it was greeted with glee, but it had to be stored on a high shelf as the fact it comes in smallish pieces means that essential bits are easily separated and lost. One piece rolled away and the Zoomer was left unusable for about a month until it was discovered lurking under a cabinet.
Once set up there is a great deal of excitement as the rockets shoot into the air, with all the extra excitement of running and searching for the fallen rocket. A good, hard stamp from a four year old will send the light rocket quite an impressive distance into the sky, on occasion a good 15 feet. An adult stamp will send it proportionately higher. However what comes up does not always come straight back down and we have had to rescue the rockets from a tree, a rather large nettle patch and on occasion the next door neighbour's garden. Because you get two rockets that means you have a handy spare and can double the fun (and the searching).
This is not a toy that will last forever however and ours lasted only 18 months before bits got lost and broken. The 'wings' of the rocket are just foam and over time and repeated impacts they came detached from the main body of the rocket, which made it harder to balance the rocket and made it more erratic in the air. The soft foam bodies of the rockets also suffer from repeated impacts, especially on stony ground and in brambles, losing little chunks and ripping slightly. One of the main problems if you have a younger child as well as an older one is that the rockets are extremely tempting for little teeth. Both rockets had baby mouth shaped holes by the time my son hit about 6 months.
Overall this is definitely a toy that I would recommend for the preschool age group. It is very exciting, inexpensive and gets kids outdoors to play. It is difficult to store without losing bits unless you are hyper organised and it does require quite a bit of adult supervision, both in construction and during the actual play. For older children they can enjoy both the play and the science behind it (my husband is a scientist and jumps on every opportunity to do this).
I would say that unless you have very understanding neighbours this is probably not a good toy for a small, narrow garden, as the chances are you will spend more time door knocking to retrieve an errant rocket than actually playing with the toy (unless you have 15 ft fences in which case ignore me). This also makes a good indoor toy and it can be very exciting when it hits the ceiling with force. Usual restrictions apply though, its not a good idea to do this in a small cluttered room cluttered with Faberge knickknacks; my children were only allowed to fire this rocket in their own rooms. It would also be a fun toy to take to the park, as long as you didn't choose a spot under a large tree to set it off!
Summary: An outdoor toy that is lots of fun
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