Your Kids Will Have A Blast (Off) With These 10 Toy Rockets & Launchers

Fly me to the moon.

by Kate Antoniades
Originally Published: 
best rocket ship toys
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Toy rockets are a natural choice if your kid loves everything about space (or you’re just searching for tempting toys to pry their attention away from the iPad for a while). Space-crazy kids are easy to spot—they’re the ones who are glued to their mini telescopes before (or after!) bedtime, are constantly drawn to STEM toys, and have their own mini solar systems in their rooms. (By the way, wanna feel old? It’s been 17 years since Pluto was a planet.)

These awesome rocket ship toys and toy rocket launchers just might inspire hours of pretend play. (Fingers crossed.) And if your kid happens to be a fan of launching things into the air (and I mean, who isn’t?), a toy rocket launcher will, fortunately, make much, much less mess than the Diet Coke and Mentos trick, even if one or more of the rockets does end up on your roof… and they will.

Best Rocket Ship Toys

This toy rocket ship is designed for school-age kids, so it has a lot to keep them busy. It includes a transport container and space capsule, astronaut and mechanic figures, and several accessories, such as tools and a toolbox, an astronaut helmet and visor, two pairs of gloves, a headlamp, and so on. The rocket ship has working lights and a few sounds (yeah, sorry about those): a countdown, thruster noises, and space communication. (I assume that the communication doesn’t include “We’re not gonna make it!” which is what I’d be screaming if I were in space.) It’s also backed by an impressive score of 4.8 out of five stars on Amazon, so rest assured, your kids are gonna love it.

One Reviewer Wrote: “The most played with toy on Christmas day. All day. Nothing else needs to be said.” — Meg

This rocket ship toy is very toddler-friendly—it’s made with their skill level and safety in mind. It’s composed of six stacking, magnetic pieces made from “all-natural” wood with nontoxic paint. There’s a cute little astronaut inside, too. (He looks a little young for an astronaut, but who knows, maybe he’s a prodigy.) While your kid is having fun, they’re also developing their fine motor skills and improving their shape recognition. But perhaps best of all, this toy has zero batteries and therefore zero sounds.

One Reviewer Wrote: “This was my son's first Christmas gift and he loved it. Three years later and he still plays with it. It's a fun play on a traditional ‘stacking’ design. Plus it's a rocket so what's not to love. The quality is spot on, durable, and cute for display or play.” — Lady Jedi

This rocket ship must be a lot of fun to explore space in because the two little astronauts and alien figures are sporting big smiles. (I’m pretty sure it’s not because of that freeze-dried astronaut food.) It’s pretty spacious, too—it has a cockpit, living space (with space-themed wallpaper!), and a lower compartment. And because the figures — along with their “space car” — all fit into the rocket ship, cleanup is easy (well, theoretically). Your kid will love the electronic countdown and liftoff sounds. The toy is recommended for ages three and up.

One Reviewer Wrote: “My daughter is obsessed with airplanes, space, etc. I was a little hesitant on spending this amount of money on a single toy — but it's been a hit. She [plays] with it almost every day. It's stunning and sturdy. It has [fallen] to the floor several times and not a single scratch.” — Leslie

If your kid always wants to “help” put together new toys that are clearly designed for adults to assemble (a situation that can often end in tears—hopefully only theirs, and not yours), this is the perfect solution. This toy rocket ship is constructed of six parts and seven bolts and includes a kid-safe, real drill for building the rocket and taking it apart again. Once they’re done, your kid can play with the rocket with the included astronaut and his doggie friend. Bonus: The box the toy is packaged in unfolds to become a space station! (What if EVERY box unfolded to become a space station?)

One Reviewer Wrote: “I purchased this as a birthday gift for my three-year-old nephew who likes Buzz Lightyear and rockets. He absolutely loved it! Right away, he figured out how to build (and take apart) the rocket with minimal help. I’m impressed with the quality and design. There are enough components to provide hours of play! I would definitely recommend this toy and will likely purchase other toys from this brand.” — Amazon Customer

Here’s a very highly rated and eco-friendly toy that’s designed for the youngest aspiring astronauts ages two and up. It’s made in the U.S.A. from 100% recycled plastic milk jugs and is free of BPA, phthalates, and PVC. It’s also packaged with recycled and recyclable materials that are printed with soy inks. Plus, it’s dishwasher safe (always nice for kids’ toys—and so many other things!), which also means your kid can play with it during bath time. (Hey, maybe it can be a hybrid rocket ship/submarine.) The rocket ship includes two astronaut figures.

One Reviewer Wrote: “We are an overall huge fan of green toys. We use them in the sand, in the mud, the lake, the bath, and just run them through the sanitize cycle of our dishwasher to keep them clean. Both my boys aged ten months and four years old LOVE the rocket. It's very popular I think because it has two compartments they can open and put things in. Obviously every four-year-old loves shoving items in compartments.” — Sean

This soft rocket ship — named Neil — was designed in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. When they’re not tracking constellations, budding astronomers can light up the night with this plush rocket ship that glows. The perfect size for a cuddle, the window on this stuffed ship illuminates when it’s hugged for a comforting night light — it can also be turned on and off with a button on the fin. It’s made from safe, eco-friendly materials, and (you’ll love this, Mom), the soft shell can be machine washed; just take out the batteries first, obvi.

One Reviewer Wrote: “My 4-year-old son has a space-themed room, and he is sometimes scared of the dark, so this seemed like the perfect buy. It's a very firm plush but soft enough for him to sleep with. He uses this stuffed rocket as a stuffy, a nightlight, and a pillow. It feels well-made and durable, and the cords are safely tucked inside a heavy-duty Velcro closure that he has had no interest in opening so it has never been a concern for me. Overall would recommend!” — Kari C.

Best Toy Rocket Launchers

If possible, it might be wise to find a big (empty!) parking lot or a field where your kid can use a toy rocket launcher like this one, instead of your backyard. Thanks to this one’s ‘extra-large foot pump,’ the rockets can fly 100 feet into the air! (Your neighbor would not be amused when you ring their doorbell for the millionth time to retrieve a rocket from their fenced backyard.) Other nice features are the LED lights on the rockets and the learning guide full of educational flight experiments for kids. Replacement rockets are available at Amazon.

One Reviewer Wrote: “I bought this for my grandson's 5th birthday. He loves it! He can jump and stomp. He can pretend to be Hulk and we can race the rockets. Ok, let's get real. It's me who gets to do all that! It's fun for five or 50!” — Kindle Customer

A lot of toy rocket launchers use air to launch the rockets into the air (and sometimes onto your roof, or into a tree), but this one uses water to propel them up to 90 feet in the air. This toy even provides a great example of reusing things rather than throwing them into the trash—you’ll need an empty soda bottle to create the water rocket. (Make sure to have one ready before your kid spies this launcher; otherwise, you may find yourself chugging a liter of Diet Coke.) Note: You’ll need a bicycle pump, which is not included. This rocket launcher is geared toward younger teens, but with close supervision, it would probably work for tweens and younger kids.

One Reviewer Wrote: “I bought this to use with my 3-year-old and she loves it. Very easy to put together and she had a blast every time it launched.” — Trent Doubledown

First things first — these rockets can be launched up to 400 feet. With that power, you may be tempted to blow off some steam by playing with this yourself while your kid’s not around. (Hey, self-care doesn’t just mean bubble baths.) The six “super high-performance rockets” come with flame stickers that your kid can put on to make them look even cooler. (On the rockets, that is, not on your kid—although that works, too.) You can also buy replacement rockets easily on Amazon.

One Reviewer Wrote: “My kids love this! They have spent hours and hours playing with it since getting it for Christmas. I didn't expect the rockets and launcher to last as long as they have but here we are months down the road and only one rocket is cracked from being stepped on and it still works.” — Kelsey Deney

This water-powered rocket gives you two options: Either use the included rocket body or follow the instructions to reuse a plastic bottle. (I’m not a big fan of reading directions, so I know what my choice would be!) The water pressure propels the rocket up to 100 feet in the air, and the kit includes a detailed “science learning booklet” that presumably explains why.

One Reviewer Wrote: “Overall, a really great toy, it looks cool, and works well. Doesn't really fly that high, but for young kids it's great. It's fun to play with various amounts of water and pressure. There is some setup time, you need to fill the rocket with water, then put it on the launch pad, then pump it up... then launch it. But it is all fun.” — Bill Peterson

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