For as much fun as shooting foam-dart blasters is, it’s tough to argue that doing so is educational. There’s not a lot of learning going on in the middle of Nerf battle other than figuring out where the best place to hide is. Which is why Hexbug’s new DIY rapid-fire Gatling gun is so cool ⏤ it’s essentially a STEM building toy before it’s a shooting one.
Introduced at last month’s Toy Fair ⏤ along with Hexbug’s other awesome release, rebooted Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots ⏤ the new motorized dart shooter is part of the VEX Robotics line of build-it-yourself engineering toys. So, like many of the other shooters and launchers in its already intimidating arsenal of crossbows, catapults, and paper airplane launchers, it comes with over 200 snap-together components that kids ages eight-and-up can easily assemble ⏤ including a motorized spinning barrel and eight rubber-tipped darts.
Similarly, Hexbug also announced the VEX Robotics Z-360, a zip-launching pistol that shoots plastic discs up to 30 feet. It’s essentially a blaster version of the tabletop Zip Flyer. Both the Gatling Shooter and Z-360 are compatible with the VEX IQ educational kits, the company’s line of bigger robotics learning kits that are targeted to classrooms and offer more formal instruction, and are slated to hit stores this Fall.
(Price $35, Available Fall)