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My younger brother has this toy, and although he has a lot of fun with it, I do not think it is worth the money at all. The toy is an air powered rocket, which works by stamping on the "launch pad" which shoots air through a tube and into a foam rocket which then shoots into the air. It is a very simple toy, consisting of a plastic bulb (the "launch pad), a plastic tube, a plastic stand for the rocket, and 6 foam rockets.
The box claims that the rockets shoot up to 400 feet in the air, and after many many attempts, me and my brother have not managed to achieve this distance. The foam rockets do shoot off incredibly quickly and do go about 100 feet generally, which although entertains my brother greatly, does not live up to the claims on the box. For a young child I can totally see why this woul still be entertaining, as he has great fun pointing the rockets at things and firing it at them, but I feel that it is a bit of a cheat that the claims it makes aren't fulfilled. It says it fired UP TO 400 feet, which while technically true is very misleading. However, it is still a good toy, and since the rockets are very light and made of foam, it means that a young boy can get his agression out without hurting anyone or breaking anything. Fired at a window, the rocket will just bounce off without doing any damage whatsoever, and will have the same effect if fired at a person.
You must be careful however, about firing the rocket on a particularly windy day, since the rockets are very light and can quite easily get carried off by the wind, and although it comes with 6 of them they do tend to get lost very easily (we are now down to just 2).
It can now be purchased on Amazon for £10.91, which is a good price for a toy which will definitely entertain a child of less than 12 years old, but because it did not live up to expectations, I would perhaps recommend considering a different model, such as the Ultra Stomp Rocket, which although I have not used, I have read good reviews about.
I first discovered the Super Stomp Rocket whilst having a picnic with the boys and watching another family nearby having lots of fun with a plastic rocket set. Despite being reasonably far from other people and cars, the rockets were getting perilously close to hitting them! The rockets are actually activated by the pressure created by either standing, jumping or 'stomping' on the squidgy plastic launch pad. This causes a sudden blast of wind to travel down the pipe and forces one of the rockets to fire into the sky. The rockets were being set off by both kids and adults of various ages and the kids and I were totally amazed by how far they managed to fly - both in terms of height and distance. In the end, after so much fun watching other people play, I just had to go over and ask what it was and where they got it from.
As soon as we got home, the kids were badgering me to buy one and, to be totally honest, I think I wanted one as much as they did! A quick Google led me to Amazon where the rocket sets cost around £10, including delivery, which is not unreasonable considering the play value. When our stomp rocket arrived, after much anticipation, it consisted of a stand, a pipe attachment which is connected to the launch pad and six plastic rockets. The stand does require some assembly as it comes in three separate parts but, after just a cursory glance at the enclosed instruction leaflet, this proved to be fairly easy to put together although a child might need some assistance. (My eight year old son finds slotting in the plastic attachments into the correct grooves a little fiddly.) We do need to take the stand apart between uses to fit it back into the box and to transport it but, all in all, the setting up process just takes a couple of minutes.
Once the stand has been set up, the firing tube at the top needs to be positioned carefully to ensure that this is pointing away from any trees, roads and, most importantly, any people nearby. Be warned - these rockets really can go an incredibly long way! The rockets do seem pretty lightweight and fairly flimsy and would be easy to mislay, despite being bright yellow with red tips so they do stand out against grass or sand. By some miracle, my kids haven't managed to lose any as yet although it does help that we only play with this in wide open public spaces. The rockets would never be seen again if we tried to play this in our back garden! I did take the precaution of ordering an extra set of replacement rockets although I found these rather over-priced, around £5 for just three rockets, compared to the cost of the original set which includes six rockets. In hindsight, I should probably just have purchased two super stomper sets as that would also prevent the arguments about taking turns too.
My husband was pretty sceptical when the set first arrived (as he hadn't seen it in action originally) and was doubtful that the rocket would reach distances of 'up to 400 feet' as the box boasts. He was soon convinced and is now the household champion as he has achieved by far the greatest heights of all of us. Although I haven't been able to measure the results scientifically, the rockets can go so high that it is impossible to see them as they fly towards the clouds and they actually go out of sight for a while! They do remain in the sky for several seconds and can take little legs quite a while to recover them, once they've finally come back to Earth some distance away! Whether they've actually travelled quite as far as 400 feet is debatable, but the height and lengths these lightweight little rockets do achieve is pretty impressive and playing with the rockets always attracts a crowd of interested passers-by.
The tubing that connects the launch pad to the rockets is very flexible. This means that the rockets can be easily adjusted for safety reasons and to maximise either height (if the tube is positioned vertically) or length (by pointing in the desired direction.) A single rocket then needs to be slotted into place on the top of the tube. The launch pad can be approached in different ways to alter the speed and power of the rocket launch. My husband's preferred technique, for instance, is to use both feet and to jump on the pad, making sure the entire base of his shoes and not just his toes land on the pad initially. This system, combined with his larger body weight, ensures his rockets achieve an impressive distance.
Other members of the family have different approaches. My eight year old finds he gets the best results when using just the one foot and he aims for distance across the ground, rather than height. The results achieved by my three year old son are less dramatic but even he is able to play with the rocket without any problems. His technique is a little unorthodox though as he has found (entirely by accident) that he achieves the best results by sitting on the launch pad on his bottom!
The beauty of this simple design is that it can be enjoyed by all the family, disregarding the over-cautious age recommendation of six and over. I can only assume that this relatively high age recommendation is because children under six are unlikely to get the maximum results from the rockets, due to their lower body weight and strength. They will still get a lot of enjoyment from this set, although it will always be the adults that get extremely competitive! The only thing to bear in mind with younger players is that they do need to be reminded to wait until other players have moved away from the rocket launcher before stomping. Although the rockets are only made from plastic, they do come keen as they are travelling at speed and could cause a lot of pain if they hit another child straight in the eye, for example.
Both my kids and the even bigger kids in the household love this game. My only reservation is how durable the set will be in the long term, as all of the components are made out of plastic. The kit would be rendered useless if the pipe was damaged or came away from the launch pad, for example. So far, the set has held its own against my heavy-handed family and is showing no signs of splitting or other damage, despite being taken out and about with us and played with many times and with much enthusiasm.
In all, this is a really well-designed inexpensive toy that is fun for all ages and surprisingly effective. The lightweight design means this can be taken whenever we go somewhere with enough space and the whole thing is good to go in a couple of minutes. If we do manage to break the launcher, I would be more than happy to buy another at its current selling price, as I think we have had our money's worth in terms of enjoyment.
Recommended ages 6+
As you can see this is meant to be a very high powered rocket that can fly up to 400 feet, or more than the length of a football field. The toy consists of a thin plastic stand a length of plastic tube and a plastic bulb you stomp on to launch the rocket, plus 6 little foam rockets.
My oldest son has an ELC stomp rocket which is excellent, but we thought he would really love this as it is meant to go further, and then both boys could use a rocket at once if they took turns between this and the old ELC Rocket.
The test: After taking the rocket out of the box we were uncertain whether to try it indoors, but the weather was bad so we gave it a go. We need not have worried, my son gave it a good stomp at it launched a few inches into the air. With a bit of practice he was able to get it to launch further, and with myself and my husband being a bit bigger we could sometimes get it to hit the ceiling if we jumped up and landed on the bulb right. Now I live in a n ordinary house and I can assure my ceiling is in no way near 400 feet. Used outside you might get 15 feet or so, which is fine, they just shouldn't have made such ridiculous claims.
The toy got some use, but unfortunately the stand was very flimsy and fell apart, the tube always fell out and neither boy wanted to use this rocket. We ended up tossing it in the bin and getting a second ELC rocket which flies much farther and is made far better. To top it off the ELC model is cheaper as well. We spent £12 and got two Thomas the Tank space hoppers and got the rocket for free.
I have given this toy 2 stars as they did get some fun out of it before it completely fell apart and to be honest being thrown in the toy box did not help the stand. If you kept it carefully boxed up the stand might last longer. It still has misleading claims though which really knock it down in my opinion.