You can tell it’s a good toy when you ask a parent how they heard about it, and they tell you ‘I saw someone else using one in the park and we went and got one too…’
The toy in question is the Stomp Rocket. It’s not complicated, doesn’t involve batteries and costs an affordable $20. Elliot experienced it for the first time when his friend brought it to the park after preschool. The lucky parent sets up a simple stand whilst impatient kids mill around grabbing things, and then put a foam rocket on the launch tube. One of the kids jumps on the hard-wearing yet plastic bubble, shoots air along the tube and off goes the foam rocket. Endless fun, really.
Between us, my friend and I have gone through three versions of this toy and agree that the Stomp Rocket Glow Jr is the best of the bunch. The stand is the most robust and least likely to tip over, and the launch pad has a long enough tube to allow the kids to see the rocket go up (even when they insist on launching it with their back to it). Smaller ones tend to have the launch pad too close, resulting in many rockets hitting the launcher in the chest. Harmless, but not very exciting.
Every time we take it out at the park, we make new friends – loads of kids wander over to have a go on the rocket launcher.
I picked up mine in Vancouver at The Toy Box in Kitsilano.
Disclosure: None! I found out via other parents in the park and went out to buy our own.