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I had never heard of rocket zoomers before but when I came across this one in the Early Learning Centre sale I thought my girls would like it. I opted for the pink option as I tend to when it's available and doesn't cost extra. Packaging This toy comes in a sturdy cardboard box which can be used as storage, this is useful as it keeps all the parts together although it could do with being a bit larger as one of rockets did get damaged being pushed back into the box. In use The setting up of this toy is quick and easy to do. The pump needs to be attached to the launching pad and there is a nozzle which you need to insert into the launching pad. You then just need to attach one of the 2 rockets and stamp on the pump, the air then launches the rocket approximately 2-3 metres high. It is suitable from ages 3 upwards and my 2 year olds aren't yet strong enough to launch the rocket although I imagine most 2 year olds would be. So in our garden it is down to the grown ups to make it work. It is very easy when first playing with this to find yourself lent too far over so that the rockets just launch into your body, this provides as much amusement as them doing what they are supposed to. The rockets are made of foam and so need to be kept away from little people who still like putting things in their mouths to chomp on, one of our rockets has teeth marks on it and this could pose a choking hazard hence the recommended age of 3 and above. Price and availability The full price of this toy is £6 but I paid £4.80 in the sale and I 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, hopefully this is just down to the time of year. Would I recommend? Yes, this toy is fun and although it is only made of foam it is lasting reasonably well. I'm looking forward to my girls being strong enough to play with it alone as they really enjoy seeing how high it will go.
Another present that I got for my nephew on my trip to the Early Learning Centre to keep him amused in the garden was a Rocket Zoomer, that too was in the sale for £3 instead of its £6 price tag and I have to say this was one of the favourite presents that I purchased from the Early Learning Centre it stays in the middle of the garden and he is regularly playing with it. It is for children over the age of 3 years old as there are some small components, there is a base that comes with two foam rockets, you place one of the foam rockets on the base and then with your foot you stamp on to the launch pad to blast the rocket into the sky. Its helps your child to use their co-ordination in launching the rocket, whilst also making it fun to play with. The rocket zoomer that I purchased has a blue base and launch pad, there is then a green tube connecting between the two. The rockets are red and yellow. How the zoomer works is that when you stamp your foot onto the launch pad which is like a foot pump, it releases a blast of air and carries the rocket into the sky. The harder you press the launch pad there is more air released and higher into the sky the rocket is launched. The great thing with two rockets is that if you have two children playing with the rocket zoomer each child can take it in turns to see who can launch their rocket higher into the sky. At the start my nephew only lightly touched the launch pad which meant that the rockets barely got off the ground, but he has now realised that the harder you jump the higher the rocket goes. In looking on the website so see if they are still on special they are also recommend that the colours of these rockets may alter. For £3 I recommend this for any child it will keep them amused for hours on end whilst playing in the garden and getting some fresh air. I would not recommend using this indoors the foam rockets are quite light but could still cause some serious damage to your ceiling lights. There is only one small disadvantage is that if you press on the launch pad with too much force the pipe can disconnect from the base but this is easy to reattach and because of that I am only giving it four stars.
My daughter loves to go into our local Mothercare, which also has an ELC, and enjoys playing with the toys that are there. On a recent visit they had one of these rocket zoomers out for children to play with and I decided to have a go. My daughter was very excited by it and my husband suggested we get one. After looking at the price, we decided it was worth it! ---About the product: The ELC Rocket Zoomer is a toy that allows a foam rocket to be sent into the air by someone standing on a pad. The zoomer comes in a cardboard box with pictures of children playing with the item in a large grassy area. Inside the box there are 5 parts to the toy. There are two red foam rockets with yellow flights on the sides. One of the rockets is slightly taller than the other. The other three parts make up the propellent. There is the pad that is then connected to the rocket launcer via a green tube. Once the rocket is connected together, it can be played with. As it only took a few minutes to assemble, my daughter did not get bored waiting for it to be put together. ---Using the product: Once it was put together, we decided to have a go. I assume that ELC intended this to be for outdoor use, but we have used it mostly inside instead. Once it was put together, we took turns to 'fire' the rockets into the air. The pad is quite stiff and my daughter who is 2 and a half found it very hard to launch them on hewr own. She had to either get a lucky jump (her aim is not very good...) or we had to lift and jump her onto it. If I stepped on it, the rocket flew into the air and my daughter squealed with delight as she chased it around the room, then went back and did it again. She is quite capable of putting the rockets onto the launcher and then chases them across the room. We've tried this ouitside a bit, but the biggest problem with this is the wind. You need either a very large space so it doesn't matter how far it goes; or no wind so you can be reasonably sure of where it will go. It is quite hard to predict how high or far the rocket will go and it is definitely not an exact science! When we use it inside, I regularly hit the ceiling so it's good not to have any breakables around! The ELC Zoomer has been a great toy and is good for helping children to get active and to teach co-ordination with putting the rocket back on the launcher. As my science teacher sister would agree, it is also helpful for teaching physics about how items move and propulsion. It is good as a family toy and my daughter has encouraged us all to join in with it and still squeals with delight when the rockets go into the air. She enjoys getting this toy out again and again and is not showing signs of forgetting about it. ---And finally: I would definitely recommend this toy if you have few breakable items in your house, or have a large expanse of space outside that you can use this on. It costs £6 which I feel is a good price for the toy and is currently on a 3 for 2 offer in ELC. It says it is suitable for 3 years and over, but I feel that as a family toy, it is suitable for younger as you can play with it together. As my daughter still has problems pushing the launch pad on her own, I would suggest that for children to play with it on their own they would need to be older.
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. *Age range* 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 *Personal Experience* 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. *Summary* 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!
Back when summer was just beginning my husband decided that the kids could not play outside without some proper outdoor toys (a tub of sand and toy cars was not enough in his opinion), so off he stomped to The Early Learning Centre to see what he could find. They must have had some sort of 3 for 2 promotion on a the time because he came home with a plastic skittle set, egg and spoon race set, and this ELC Rocket Zoomer. 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!) **Play Time** 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.
There was a time when I could never walk past a branch of ELC without being dragged in by the kids, and of course, ending up buying something. Now that they are 10, 8 and 5 years old respectively, I don't go in store nearly as often as I have done in times past, but we do occasionaly have a mooch around. Having been a customer for the last 10 years, it surprises me that very little has changed instore over time, and the shop tends to stock the same, favourite products that they have always sold. One of the things that sucks the kids in has always been the demonstration toys, located just by the door, anything from garages to keyboards to pushchairs, carefully placed so that your kid goes in the shop and starts playing with it, just long enough for the parent to see that they can't live without this toy! One such product, that is always on display in our local ELC is the rocket launcher, which, at £5, is one of the more reasonably priced toys in their range. The toy is very simple in design. The rockets are light foam rockets, in a torpedo shape, with a hole in the bottom to allow them to be fixed to the launcher. They have three foam fins around the edge, presumably to make them more aerodynamic. The main part of the toy consists of a blue plastic tripod base, which has an air pump attatched to it. A tube comes out of the bottom of the base, which has a large bulb at the end, which is designed to be stepped on, or pressed in order to launch the rocket by forcing air very quickly through the tube. The launcher has a raised point in the middle, and you just fix one of the two foam rockets supplied onto the base, stamp hard on the launcher, and the light foam rocket flies up in the air, to the delight of the kids. My kids always seemed to cause chaos in ELC whenever they saw this toy. My son would stamp really hard on the launcher, usually making the foam rocket fly up to one of the higher shelves, where it would get lost, or onto a poor, unsuspecting cutomer. I used to get quite embarrassed, and discourage them from playing with it, but they seemed to be drawn to the thing, and would always nag me to buy one. I would refuse, reasoning that it wouldn't really keep their attention once they got it home, and they would soon get bored. After all, how many times can you keep doing it before it gets boring? However one day, I think because the assistant was giving me "the look" and wondering if I was acually going to buy something, as my kids trashed the shop, I grabbed one quickly and took it to the till, just as an excuse to leave! At first, it was lots of fun to play, and the kids kept trying to get the rocket to hit the ceiling. Although I wouldn't class it as educational, it was a good way of helping them to improve their co-ordianation, as they needed to assemble the launcher, place the rocket on the tube, stamp hard on the pad, and then try and catch the rocket. My little boy has leaning difficulties and really struggles with his co-ordination, so this was a way of helping him learn through play. Unfortunately, because he has learning difficulties, he did not see the danger in taking a huge bite out of the rocket, either. As this is a kids toy, this is a potential danger, as their is a real possibility that a young child could choke on one of these rockets if they bit a piece off. The foam rockets are very bright and appealing, and if your kids like foamy sweets, it is easy to see why it would be appealing to take a bite! Despite my warnings, the rockets got smaller and smaller, as he kept biting bits off, and he also pulled off the foam wings on the sides of the rocket. The cat, also had a go, and managed to destroy the remaing rocket with her teeth and claws, again, another danger, as I don't think that swallowing this foam would do the cat much good either. The toy is also quite limited, as it doesn't offer much variety in gameplay, even if you have a good imagination. You launch the rocket, you catch it. End of. We tried to see who could get the rocket the highest, and who could catch it first. The kids also incorporated it into role play, where the launcher became a weapon for destroying the "goody" toys, buy it was still limited in my opinion, and had about a 15 minute play time span. This was not a toy that they would play with every day either. it would spend long periods of time in the cupboard, before being "rediscovered". So in the end, we ended up with a launcher, but no rockets, so that was the end of that. Maybe ELC should sell replacement rockets for a couple of quid, as the launcher by itelf it pretty useless. So this leaves me with mixed feelings about this toy. Yes, it is lots of fun for kids, and it gets them active and helps hand eye co-ordination. On the other hand, it is hard for very young kids to resist taking a bit of the rockets out of curiosity, which could be a choking hazzard. It is labeled as suitable for aged 3 and up, but I know a lot of 3 year olds who would bite the rockets! Maybe it should be labelled for children aged 4 or 5 and over. I think the ideal age for this toy is between 4 and 9, although older kids would secretly love it, as well as adults! I can't moan about the price of the toy at £5, as it is a great pocket money toy, and something a bit different, so I am going to award it 3 stars.
Ages 1+ This set is meant to be for ages 3+. I believe this is because it is possible for a baby to bite a piece off of the foam rockets,a s my son did. He was supervised with the toy, so we immediately retrieved it and made sure he didn't bite it again. It is very easy to stomp though and a very young child can work this without difficulty. My youngest was able to use from just over 1 year of age. I have two sets of these rockets. The first set is 2 1/2 years old and still in brilliant condition, except for the previously mentioned bite, and a couple of fins that have come off through constant use. The second set was not a replacement but so that both boys could play at once. The set includes a strong plastic bulb to stomp on, with a tube that feeds the air into the rocket launch pad, also very sturdy and well made. You also get two rockets. Our newer set is red, as shown, and the older set is blue. We have tried other stomp rockets, including much more expensive ones. This is only £3.36 at ELC right now. This is without a doubt the best of the foam rockets we have tried. It is the easiest to work, launches the farthest, and is the best made. I have found that the rockets from the set we through in the bin do fit this as well, which was nice. I would recommend this with supervision for very young children as it does develop some motor skills placing the rocket on the launcher, as well as encouraging walking about to get the rockets and stomping with one foot. I have found older children enjoy it too. Mt five year old still loves it, as do older children that come over to play. It can be used indoors if you do not have anything it will knock over. Being very soft, the rocket itself will not break anything and does not really hurt if a child gets hit with it. It is of course best used outdoors.