How to safely introduce your kids to model rocketry


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Jun 14, 2021
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I would like to thank everyone for your invaluable suggestion, because today my daughter had a great morning flying with me 2 A8 on her first kit an Alpha from Estes, which she manage to assemble with some help from me and painted with brush paint. We got also an Estes Astron XL which she enjoyed much more to assemble since was way larger and was able to work on.

I am particularly grateful for those who suggested me to fly by ourself, this was really crucial. The first flight for her was really scary, she was scary of loosing the rocket, scared to ear the sound etc etc. I explained her all the steps and provide explanation and after the first chute came out she was so happy and rushed to pick it up and then the second came immediately after. Our future flight for larger models will be at the club since, this spot is ok for small model rocket with A engines, but now at least she know what to expect.

Thank you all :)
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Jan 16, 2022
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Apache Junction, Arizona, USA, Earth
I really appreciate this thread! My son (5, close to 6) is the reason I have returned after a rough patch in life that forced me to take a break. Though a little old and perhaps closed, I am really surprised that nobody mentioned NARTREK Cadet Program!

I personally am a scratch builder and have comparably little interest or experience with kits. From RTF by Estes up through critically acclaimed LOC or Apogee kits, it just feels like building someone else's rocket to me. To each their own, and regarding this thread; I decided to use kits for my son's introduction.

He has been around rocketry his entire life and had shown varied interest in dad's hobby outside of the launch time excitement. This I imagine is pretty typical for the age so would recommend keeping that in mind for a healthy introduction. My son for example had weeks at times between building or flying when he wanted to do something else (hot wheels, friends, etc.) and there were times when after expressing interest it lasted less time than it took for me to get his kit and supplies out for him. To me, this was not only kept in mind it was my plan all along.

NARTREK has a 4 level Cadet Program with increasing challenges and rewards for completion each which is tangible and exciting for kids. Mercury (the first level) is about small rockets and recover as each rocket must be flown twice. We had a total of 4 rockets invested as one was lost and another was damaged beyond (his) ability to safely repair on flight #2.

Perhaps concerned about doubts that he did in fact build everything except CA glue, I took plenty of build photos with plans to compile a YouTube video. I am very glad I did this! His kindergarden teacher is a huge supporter because her father and brother were in aerospace. She (his teacher) offered to show such a video with his classroom when complete. More about this at the end.

Rocket #4, a Lamprey by Custom Model Rockets was painted and decorated to his liking to Incredible Hulk theme. We spent half a day at Hobby Lobby looking for Hulk stickers, purple and green paint options, etc. This was something I should have encouraged more and earlier on. It is "Dad's interest" to build scale accurate and realistic models but that doesn't appeal to my son who wants to make it "his rocket."

*The video and teacher offer to show it in class, mentioned earlier worked out way beyond anything I could have hoped for. All of the STEM benefits (following instructions, building confidence and understanding, etc.) were there of course but other unplanned and unexpected rewards came really quickly for my son! The teacher after showing the YouTube video in her classroom mentioned it to another kindergarden teacher who was overheard talking about it by another, and another... by the end of that same week the video had been shown in the majority of classrooms across the entire elementary school. My son who often wears NASA or rocket themed shirts found himself as somewhat of a little celebrity within his school gates and was recognizable and "Zeno; that boy from the video, who flies rockets!" in the cafeteria, playground, etc.

I am adding a couple photos here but for the video please check it out on YouTube as we are considering uploading more there and appreciate the view count. YouTube search "Zeno's Mercury Level Rocket Flights".


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