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Updated Oct 24, 2022 4:03 PM

Whether you want to create a fun at-home experiment for the whole family or your little one has dreams of joining NASA, model rocketry is great for all ages and occupations. These STEM toys for kids can help them learn technical skills while giving them fun (and safe) reason to get outside. No more defunct DIY science experiments. Let’s opt for tried-and-true toys that guarantee takeoff. Lucky for us, there are a variety of model rocket engine kits to suit whatever skill level you’re at, from simple models safe for small kids to complex ones that challenge adults.

Part science experiment and part fun, model rocket kits take the guesswork out of experimentation with well-designed parts and detailed instructions to guide you through how to build a rocket, step-by-step. That said, not all model rocket kits are the same. Some are designed for the serious builder. Others are rudimentary for beginners. Here’s what to think about before you buy one of these building toys for kids. Here’s what to consider.

Age: If your little ones will be using the model rocket kit, you’ll want to ensure it’s age-appropriate. While some kits have a variety of complicated parts, instructions, and builds, others only require a simple setup that parents can help with. Before you buy your kit, check the age parameters on your pick to make sure it suits the little one’s capabilities.

Blast off or just build? When you think of a rocket, do you imagine building a complex structure? Or are you more excited about launching it into the sky? Depending on what aspect is your favorite, you might opt for a rocket kit that focuses on one more than the other. While some popular picks are constructed from hundreds of pieces, others are focused on the propelling part of model rocketry. Make sure your model is equipped for flight if that’s essential to you. Some decorative picks and not built for blastoff.

Space: Nobody wants to launch their rocket onto a rooftop or over the neighbors’ fence. That’s why you should consider the space you have to move forward with experiments. Check the model kit product description to see how far your rocket launches. If you don’t have a yard to shoot into, you can always launch at a park or nearby open space.

Safety features: Most model rocket kits are equipped with the essential safety features you need to keep users safe. But some options are more kid-proofed than others. Some rockets are built with foam to prevent any bumps or bruises, while others have detailed instructions to help you follow along with your kids’ experiments. For children below the age of 5, we recommend steering clear of any small parts that can easily get lost (or swallowed).

Best model rocket kits: Our picks

Best overall: LEGO NASA Apollo Saturn V



If you’re more interested in the mechanics of the build than the takeoff itself, this kit allows your kids to construct a complex, yet seamlessly designed NASA rocket from scratch. With 1969 pieces, three removable rocket stages, and two mini-figures, they can relive landing on the moon from your living room.

Best LEGO: LEGO Star Wars Ultimate Millennium Falcon



If you want to build a galactic keepsake from your favorite films, look no further than this 7,541-piece model. This pick comes with two crews of mini-figures, an engine room, two escape pod hatches, a removable hull panel, a boarding ramp, and blaster cannon. For anyone who wants to try their hand at a fantasy-themed complicated build, this pick will surely hit the mark.

Best for kids: The Original Stomp Rocket Jr. Glow Rocket

Stomp Rocket


This foam-rocket toy will teach your kids the basics of force and trajectory while giving them a fun outlet for all that energy. You can set up in a matter of minutes and use this rocket both inside and out for year-round playing. Built for ages three and up, this pick is simple enough for even the littlest kids to operate. 

Best for experiments: Playz KABOOM! Science Kit for Kids



Designed for kids ages eight and up, this combustion kit offers a variety of fun STEM activities to keep them entertained for hours. The set includes DIY rockets, fizzy bombs, color explosions, and helium balloon bombs for a variety of experiments that extends beyond just model rockets. No need to worry if you’re not a science whiz yourself. The colorful and simplistic guide is easy for both parents and kids to follow. 

Best budget: 4M Water Rocket Kit

Transform a simple soda bottle into a high-powered water rocket with just a bicycle pump and water. This pick is also reusable, so your kid can play and experiment for hours on end. For the little ones interested in space and rocketry, this safe and simple at-home kit can bring their dreams to life.


Q: Is it legal to launch model rockets?

The Federal Aviation Administration designates an amateur rocket as one that uses slow-burning propellant, but as these picks aren’t powered by propellant, you don’t need to worry about breaking the law when launching your rocket. That said, we’d still recommend warning the neighbors if you plan on experimenting to prevent any injury to property or people.

Q: What is the maximum height model rockets can reach without a permit?

Any rocket that goes above 150 km, or 93.2 miles, into the air, is no longer classified as an amateur rocket and will face more restrictions than one which flies lower. That said, most model rocket kits fly far below this limit, so you shouldn’t need to worry.

Q: What model rocket goes the highest?

To date, the highest-flying model rocket was created by the Civilian Space eXploration team. They flew it to 72 miles high a height in 2004. Looking for safe, simple, and affordable options that don’t require engineering? The 4M 4605 Water Rocket Kit can fly up to 90 feet in the air using only water pressure.

The final word on the best model rocket kits

Science toys are some of the most entertaining for kids. They provide plenty of fun and hands-on education at the same time. Whether you’re shooting a water rocket into the sky or want to spend hours constructing a highly detailed model of your favorite starship, these picks can suit any skill level. The perfect model rocket kit will give practical STEM practice while getting kids outside and away from the screen.