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 15 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 + 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 all gonna die!” which is what I’d be screaming if I were in space.) One reviewer noted, “This is a great toy full of fun features for kids to play with and imagine. Lots of fun, easy to assemble, perfect gift. Good quality, very durable.”
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. (Woohoo!)
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). While YOU probably won’t be a fan, your kid will love the electronic countdown and liftoff sounds. (If worst comes to worst, you can always make it “run out of batteries.” Sorry, kids.) The toy is recommended for ages 3 and up.
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?)
Here’s a very eco-friendly toy that’s designed for the youngest aspiring astronauts ages 2 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 be a hybrid rocket ship/submarine?) The rocket ship includes two astronaut figures; one mom wrote that they “are a great size & shape for little toddler hands.”
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.
Best Toy Rocket Launchers
If possible, it might be wise to find a big (empty!) parking lot or a field when your kid uses a toy rocket launcher 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.
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.
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.) One grandparent noted, “It was a big hit. There are 6 kids in the family, ranging up to 17, and they all loved playing with it. Highly recommend.” This rocket launcher is designed for kids 9 and up, but with supervision, younger kids may do just fine. Replacement rockets are available at Amazon.
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 customer wrote a review to say, “I bought this for my 5 yr old cousin after he showed interest in rockets. It was so easy to set up and use. I recommend filling a bucket with water and taking it with you to an open area cuz this thing flies! He had hours of fun.”