The grass is turning green outside where we live, and there are two things on my mind. Number one, I will be participating again with all other dads to have the best-looking lawn on the block. And, number two, it’s time to unpack the outdoor activities and toys and encourage the kids to go outside so they can enjoy some fresh air. At the risk of sounding old, I just want them to experience life like we did when we were kids.
Although the first is important to me, the latter is more important, because spending time with the kids is one of our biggest priorities. Last year we got the kids water squirters. This winter we showed them what dart launchers are. We practiced aiming, shooting, and dodging. Now, thanks to the Gel Blaster team, we have introduced them to another option that encourages going outside, being active and playing outside all summer long.
The blasters use gel balls that the kids are familiar with, as we have used other similar water beads as sensory toys inside. Now, you take those gel balls and shoot them with a blaster, which for me makes those gel balls so much cooler. It’s so cool, I keep thinking, why did I not think of this idea?
We are in the school of thought that any toy can be played with by any kid. Em will soon be doing shooting sports for 4H. This was a great progression from what she knew with dart launchers to what she would eventually learn with something like a Daisy. Although this toy might be targeted more for 10–14-year-olds, my kids still liked playing with it.
What we were most impressed with about this Gel Blaster was first, we didn’t have to do any picking up when we were done. That in itself was huge. Wait, so we just play and don’t have to pick up after ourselves with this toy? Exactly! The gel beads explode and disintegrate on impact, then begin to dehydrate and disappear. The gellets are eco-friendly and colorful until they explode. They are mostly water based, so after playing there is no evidence that a battle just took place.
Second, we like how many gel pellets come in each bag. After adding water to the pack of gellets, you soak them in water for at least 2 hours. They can be soaked and kept for use for up to 3 months. It’s crazy how small the package is, how small the gellets are prior to placing them in water, and then how large they grow. They increased to become 10x the original size!
Third, the blasters come with power cords, so no batteries are needed. Do you hear that, parents? Grown up kids? No batteries! The blaster is equipped with a lithium battery and is charged using a USB-C cable. So, when we received the Gel Blasters in the mail, we charged them by plugging them into a USB. We made plans for the day we would play with them and made sure we placed the gellets into the depot to soak prior. There are tons of colors you can use for your gellets, and that was even more exciting for the kids.
We placed out targets, loaded the blaster’s hopper with gellets, switched the switch to shoot and we unleashed the fun. You can choose from single shot to automatic with the hand blasters, and with the XL blasters you can change it from single, triple, or full auto. I really like the ability to change this as we do more single with targets and more automatic when battling. The kids also prefer to just put it on automatic and just go to town with whatever they want to shoot or do with them.
I gotta say, these Gel Blaster remind me of when I was younger, and we had paintball fights. The added benefit here is that you can play with them anywhere without needing to clean up, and they don’t seem to jam up as much. You can’t exactly see where you might have been hit, but players WILL know they got hit by someone else because it makes a little red mark. If you don’t want it to hurt as much, you can wear a jacket and long pants, and you feel the gellets hit you, but they don’t hurt at all. The Gel Blaster are a lot safer than paintball, less expensive, but remarkably similar in experience.
The Gel Blaster is a great option for those looking to have that “paintball” type experience without the added prep and cost. The bad part about using these blasters is they don’t have a huge negative effect when you get hit, so it might change the course of how you play with them. What I mean is that players might tend to become lazy and get hit more while caring less. Getting hit with a paintball gun hurts more, leaves a mark, and causes players to want to avoid getting hit as much as possible. While the Gel Blasters are safe for shooting others, my kids didn’t like that idea. As a result, we implemented a rule that you may not shoot someone else until you are 12 years old. This rule eventually went away as the kids realized that getting hit wasn’t a big deal.
Cheating can also increase with the Gel Blasters as you can’t really see the gellets after they are shot. You can hear them hit things, but they explode on contact and since it is mostly water, it is impossible to see exactly where they hit. We have a metal sunflower, and the kids had a blast shooting at it as it made a loud ding sound when hit. The Gel Blasters are great for my kids as they are learning how to use something that shoots, they enjoy hitting targets down more than having some type of battle against other players. I think once they are a couple of years older, they will be all about shooting each other and enjoy Gel Blaster battles.
Even though I’m in my 30’s I still consider myself a kid, and I really like what these toys provide. I have mentioned most of the good stuff already, and I do feel like this is the best option for a toy that shoots something that won’t seriously hurt someone when used correctly. But there is a learning curve. It is hard to work on aim with them because the hopper is in the way. Also you can’t see where the gellets hit at times. You are adjusting based upon on sound, and watching to see what path your ammo takes, and adjusting while shooting.
We really appreciated the Starfire line that allows you to use glow in the dark gellets. The blasters are like the Surge, minus that they provide a light to charge up the ammo so you can shoot it at night. The kids absolutely loved playing with the glow in the dark feature, and for me would make night battles epic as you can hide and be sneakier with your strategy.
Lastly, we thought it was great that you could modify your unit using different colored Gel Blasters to form teams, or just to have your favorite color shown on your blaster. There are several options for what color you’d like your gellets to be, which can also help to divide teams as many times you can see what color gellets are in another’s hopper. Of course, you can’t forget about the glow in the dark ones which are 100% necessary when playing at night.
So as the grass turns green, these toys are great to have to get kids outside playing. Our kids have loved using the Gel Blasters and they keep making new gellets so they can continue to play, even planning for future fun. If you’re ready to amp up your outdoor play time too, add Gel Blaster Surge or Starfire products to your Amazon cart. While you are working in your gardens, mowing your grass, or sitting out on the patio, you will surely want to take a turn with your kids shooting a Gel Blaster.
What types of outdoor activities do you encourage your kids to do?