Looking for a model rocket for your child? They’re a classic toy that’s great for learning about physics and gravity with hands on experience, offering early science education that’s good for kids. Given the variety of kit styles and features available, you may be wondering which of the many kinds of kits on the market would be best for your kiddo. We’ve taken a look at the 10 best model rocket kits to buy in 2019 to help you choose a kit your child will love.

Our Top Picks

Estes Magician Flying  Rocket

Best Overall

Estes Magician Flying  Rocket

LEGO NASA Apollo Saturn V

Upgrade Choice

LEGO NASA Apollo Saturn V

How to Pick the Best Model Rocket Kits

1. Recommended Age

Age is always an important factor to consider when you’re buying toys for kids, because recommended age ranges usually indicate whether a child will be able to use the toy safely and easily. When it comes to model rockets, a toy that’s designed for an older child may confuse a younger one or be unsafe for them to use, so make sure to double check the recommended age before you buy.

2. Type of Rocket

There a few different types of model rocket – standing models, flying models, bottle rockets, and some other unique picks you’ll see listed. Bottle rockets tend to be a little smaller and already made, so if you’re looking for a rocket kit to build, you’ll probably want to stick with flying or standing models.

3. Does it Fly?

Some model rockets fly and some do not. It would, of course, be a disappointment if your child wanted a flying rocket and did not get one! If your child wants a rocket that flies, make sure to double check that it does.

4. Powered By

If you need to provide a power source for a toy, knowing what it is so you can have it on hand takes the frustration out of playtime. Model rockets that fly aren’t going to be very exciting without a power source, and many of the ones here have an engine that’s sold separately, so make sure you have one if it’s needed.

5. Difficulty Level

The kits we’ve listed here range in difficulty from beginner to advanced. If your child is accustomed to building models, an intermediate model is a safe choice that will keep them stimulated. If they’re a novice, there’s plenty of kits they’ll find simple to use. Either way, always choose a kit that corresponds with your child’s skill level so they aren’t frustrated.

6. Maximum Height

When a rocket flies, excitement grows with its height. Most of the ones listed here have a decent shot, but some go further than others. If your goal is maximum height, this is pertinent info.

The Winners

#1

Estes Magician Flying Rocket

Best Overall

This large rocket stands at a statuesque 33 inches and is awesome in flight. It takes a fair amount of time to assemble and requires parental supervision, so be prepared to dedicate a few days or weeks to working on this project with your child between building, painting and finishing the rocket. The maximum height of Estes Magician Flying Rocket is amazing at 1600 feet, but it’s worth noting that all Estes rockets require you to bring your own engine, launch pad and landing gear if you want the rocket to fly.

Recommended Age: Adult supervision required for users under 18
Type of Rocket: Flying model
Does it Fly: Yes
Powered By: Engine
Difficulty Level: Intermediate / Advanced
Maximum Height: 1600 F

#2

LEGO NASA Apollo Saturn V

Upgrade Choice

It’s not a flying rocket, but it is a huge and very cool LEGO model that will keep kids busy for some time. The LEGO NASA Apollo Saturn V is great for intense builders who love a good project, because there’s over 1900 pieces to this rocket. It stands around 39 inches when built, and it’s a great pick to build with the whole family. If kids don’t have a space to launch rockets or they’re more into the building than the actual launch, this is an ideal pick. 

Recommended Age: 14+
Type of Rocket: Built model
Does it Fly: No
Powered By: None
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Maximum Height: 39 inches tall, does not launch

#3

4M Water Rocket Kit

Best Budget Buy

An excellent way to illustrate the powers of water propulsion, the 4M Water Rocket Kit model requires users to bring a bike pump, water and an empty 2 liter to create a water and air powered rocket that can shoot up to 90 feet. Assembling the kit challenges kids, so it’s a great pick for those who love to build and find simple assemblies boring, but some may require adult assistance. It’s an inexpensive kit, and kids will marvel and what they can do with only water and air.

Recommended Age: 12+
Type of Rocket: Water powered flyer
Does it Fly: Yes
Powered By: Water and air (bicycle pump required)
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Maximum Height: 90 F

#4

Estes Tandem-X Rocket set

Best model rocket kit for beginners

An ideal pick for new model builders, the Estes Tandem-X double rocket set can be built in a day by parent and child and ready to launch with needed accessories, sold separately. The kit features the Crossfire ISX and Amazon rockets, shooting an impressive 650 and 1150 feet respectively. The rockets can be shot in tandem or separately, and the low frustration assembly and use builds confidence in entry level users.

Recommended Age: 10+
Type of Rocket: Flying model
Does it Fly: Yes
Powered By: Engine
Difficulty Level: Beginner / Intermediate
Maximum Height: 650 F / 1150 F

#5

Stomp Jr. Glow Rocket

Best for young children

Perfect for letting little ones get in on rocket fun, these safe toy foam rockets launch up to 100 feet when kids stomp. They’ll learn about gravity and trajectory by experimenting with the toy, and the fun glow rockets are fun and easy to spot even in the evenings. The Stomp Jr. Glow Rocket assembles in seconds and is easy to understand, and it has the youngest minimum age requirement on our list at 3+.

Recommended Age: 3+
Type of Rocket: Foam toy
Does it Fly: Yes
Powered By: Force
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Maximum Height: 100 F

#6

Estes Big Daddy Rocket Kit

Best large model rocket kit

The impressive 19 inch Estes Big Daddy Rocket Kit features an eye catching blue, red and yellow gradient and logo decal that look sharp as it soars through the sky. It has a maximum height of 900 feet with convenient parachute recovery, and assembly is easy compared to some Estes kits. The laser cut wood fins and decals are simple to add to the model, which can be used to teach kids about aerodynamics and propulsion. As always, Estes kits require additional accessories to launch, sold separately.

Recommended Age: Adult supervision required for users under 18
Type of Rocket: Flying model
Does it Fly: Yes
Powered By: Engine
Difficulty Level: Intermediate / Advanced
Maximum Height: 900 F

#7

Estes Bull Pup 12D Rocket Kit

Best estes model rocket

The Estes Bull Pup 12D Rocket Kit is another great pick if you’re looking to avoid a building project. This 15 inch rocket with a realistic USAF design is a good pick for an older first-time model rocket user. All they have to do is customize the rocket with decals and add the engine, launch pad and landing gear(sold separately as always with Estes models) and they’re ready to go. The parachute recovery system protects the rocket upon landing and the unique Air Force decals make it a visual standout.

Recommended Age: 10+
Type of Rocket: Flying
Does it Fly: Yes
Powered By: Engine
Difficulty Level: Beginner / Intermediate
Maximum Height: 800 F

#8

Quest Aerospace Striker AGM

Featuring an impressive 27 inch length, the molded boat tail and 10 degree plastic nose cone of Quest Aerospace Striker AGM model allow for smooth flight, and it’s easy to assemble thanks to the quality laser cut balsa fins. Kids can add aesthetic details with a large decal sheet that offers many custom options. It’s a scale model of a real army rocket, featuring parachute recovery that keeps the device safe during landing. Like many model rockets, it requires a standard engine, sold separately.

Recommended Age: 10+
Type of Rocket: Flying model
Does it Fly: Yes
Powered By: Engine
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Maximum Height: 900 F

#9

Relationshipware StratoLauncher IV

The Relationshipware StratoLauncher IV is powered by water and air, this unique kit makes fueling your rocket virtually free. A bicycle pump and water are all that are needed to create this model, which uses the combination of water pressure and air pressure to send the rocket soaring 350 feet – kids will be mind blown at how far it will go with no motorization. The kit can be expanded and modified, and though it’s not as powerful as motorized rockets, it teaches kids about natural forces in a hands on way. 

Recommended Age: 10+
Type of Rocket: Water powered flyer
Does it Fly: Yes
Powered By: Water and air (bicycle pump needed)
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Maximum Height: 350 F

#10

Estes Athena Flying Rocket Kit

If you’re looking to skip the assembly entirely, the Estes Athena Flying Rocket Kit is a good pick. Users simply add the standard Estes necessities of an engine, landing gear and launch pad and they’re good to shoot this petite rocket with a powerful max range of 1100 F. The 16 inch rocket is ready to go whenever you and your child are primed to launch. If you’re lacking the time and space for model building, this pick can give you the fun you desire with no frustration. 

Recommended Age: 10+
Type of Rocket: Flying
Does it Fly: Yes
Powered By: Engine
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Maximum Height: 1100 F

DIY, Craft and Décor: Ideas for rocket lovers

Straw Rockets

Want a simple craft to get little ones involved in the rocketry fun? These adorable little straw rockets with free printable templates from Chelsey at Buggy and Buddy are easy to make – kids can color them, create their own designs and then play.

Rocket Ship Collage

Another great craft comes from Kristina at Toddler Approved – a rocket ship collage that will make great rainy day fridge art for the days when an outdoor launch just isn’t possible.

Space and Rocket Themed Birthday Party

A space and rocket ship themed birthday party might be the perfect event for your little astronaut, and Stephanie at Spaceships and Laser Beams is full of great ideas to make it a special day for everyone.

Quick Decision

Estes Magician Flying  Rocket – Best Overall
It’s the biggest flying rocket on our list at 33 inches and it’s a project that teaches patience and finesse

LEGO NASA Apollo Saturn V – Upgrade Choice
It’s a fantastic project for kids who love to build but may not have the space or inclination to actually launch rockets

4M Water Rocket Kit – Best Budget Buy
It’s a visual lesson on water propulsion and kids will be amazed at what natural forces can do

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HANNAH M

HANNAH M

Hannah is both a parent and a freelance journalist and author. You go, girl! She is an impeccable wordsmith and her warm and witty outlook on life makes her pieces a joy to read.

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