A rocket is a quality educational toy for children, but it also can be great fun. Choose a ready-made rocket or give your child a kit that lets him build his own rocket, then start the countdown to zero and watch it blast up into the sky. Since the earliest flight, rockets have inspired children to look at the world above us in a different way. Others have grown up but held onto their childhood dreams of one day traveling through space. You can find rockets and rocket kits for children of all ages--preschool through high school and even adults--at online retailers like Buy.com and Edmund Scientific. Some rockets are disposable, others reusable, and most shoot up 100 feet or more into the air.
Spending a Saturday afternoon watching a rocket race toward the sun can be fun, but it also teaches your children to be curious about why these things are possible and explains to them in simple terms the principles of scientific basics, like gravity, propulsion, velocity and chemical reactions. Learn what happens to the rocket when you mix vinegar and baking soda together, or study the power that can be harnessed from wind or water pressure. Some rocket kits are packed with information and activities that teach children about our solar system and beyond, from planets to stars and phenomenons like black holes.
Science Is Fun
Rockets aren't just for older children. Preschoolers and younger children can spend hours playing with a toy rocket that features flashing lights and engine sounds. Many open up to reveal astronauts inside, as well as space vehicles, tools and working parts that encourage your child to be the captain of his own ship. Take your children outdoors to launch soft foam rockets together by hitting or jumping on an attached air pump. For older children, rockets they can launch by triggering a chemical reaction or starting an electricity-driven gyro blade are a safe, positive way to explore their love for taking things apart to see how they work or to channel a boyish need to blow up stuff. Most models are reusable, too, providing years of play.
From the Ground Up
Older children will enjoy hours spent putting together their own rockets and launching them with the help of a model kit. Most include easy-to-understand instructions that will lead your children step by step through the construction stages for various types of rockets, from solid-fueled to multistage models. Rocket kits also make an easy science fair project for young teens, who can teach others how the rocket uses power or chemical reactions to shoot to great heights while learning about the process himself.
You're Never Too Old
Why should children have all the fun? Give a rocket as a gift to an adult, and watch him relive his childhood. There are even remote control versions that give you complete control over your rocket's destiny. Other great gifts for adults include rocket-themed books and puzzles.