Monday, July 30, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Air Storm Z Curve Bow: Aim to Focus

It's like three toys in one. Kids can play with the Zarts (suction arrows) and the Zooperball (rounded tip arrows) without the bow.  photo: Zing Toys

WHAT: Air Storm Z Curve Bow by Zing Toys
DOES:  I choose this over a toy gun anyday!; opportunity to use Olympics and the movie Brave to have your child embrace the toy version of this amazing sport, stresses trial-and-error learning, gives immediate feedback for performance even faster than video games; allows for practice on the act of focusing
INVEST:  $19.99 MSRP
TOOLS:  My Body Needs to Move, Think Like a Scientist/Engineer, Social Scene Helper (sports played along among like-minded folks help ease social setting), Lose and Win Gracefully
GIVEAWAY:  Details below

In the B.C. era (Before Children), there were three toys I said that I would never buy: a toy gun, a toy sword, and a toy bow-and-arrow.   But like most parents, after our children are born, we issue retractions.  I definitely had purchased toy dart guns (in the name of pretend play) and light sabers in the past but still, I had not purchased a bow and arrow. I think that it's because guns and swords are easy.  Archery is not, you have to be a bit older. 

Number 1 Son is 8-years-old now.  He is definitely old enough in my book and after watching Brave in the theatre, I decided to test out a toy bow and arrow that looked promising.

Number 1 flipped when he saw this.  He was really surprised to get this from me because he knows I'm not a fan of toy-weapons but I like this toy.  It appears to be quite safe and not as noisy as I thought it might be.   photo: Zing Toys

The Air Storm Z Curve Bow by Zing Toys not only promises, it delivers!  I absolutely love the Z Curve!  I love watching my son create targets to shoot and then focus at aiming to shoot them.  The foam makes this whole set not only safe but also reminds them (and you) that it's just a toy.  He doesn't get upset if he doesn't do well. I think there is potential for disappointment and giving up when something is so dependent on a child's pre-existing skills.  But the design of the Air Storm Z Curve Bow with its special hook arrows and specially-created bow makes shooting easy.

Immediate feedback is the best!

Channel That Energy 

This is a perfect example of kinesthetic learning and more importantly, learning how to focus using our bodies.  I think most of us think that focusing is an act that remains primarily in your head.  But, I believe that focusing is a whole body action. What I mean is that if your child is "always-on-the-move" or if he has "ants in his pants" then your child maybe the BEST candidate for archery.  Likewise, for the more floppy bodies or even flabby bodies, archery may still be a good way to roll.  Maybe I sound too new age for you but bear with me. 

I also think floppy bodies (low-tone) and hyper bodies share a similar problem.  They have misdirected energy in their bodies.  Sometimes the same kids who are hyperactive also have issues with low-tone in some areas. There is an imbalance that prevents them from having a good posture and accurate movement. But when you have activities that promote the collection of energy and coordination of muscles, you basically have an activity that is helping your child learn how to control his or her body.   Now, I could say, go take ballet or even go swimming.  But we are talking about toys here.

Kids need time in the day to have fun and this toy is VERY fun.  With each shot she takes, she gets immediate feedback too.  Did she hit her target or did she miss or did she almost get it?  Because of the aim-release, aim-release -nature of this very simple activity, it actually serves as a great self-motivator because you get feedback at every shot.  Moreover, if you assign a point value to the rings in your target, they have an even more concrete way of seeing how well they're doing.

I think there is a certain mature appeal to this toy that guns and swords do not have.  It's more work to shoot something and thus there's more gratification.  There is also less chance of little brother getting hit.   photo: Zing Toys

Archery- Cool or Not Cool?

But I can't stress this enough about harnessing your energy to one focal point. I totally believe this is possible.  My theory is that the more we practice channeling our focus and our energy, controlling our movements and possibly our whole selves (mind and body) will get that much easier.  For some, the path to a focused state is murky.  You have to calm your body and maintain it in a steady position to execute whatever it is that you want to accomplish. Somehow, archery and even play archery seems like an excellent way to practice focusing (aiming and shooting) while maintaining an even and balanced demeanor throughout the whole game.  When I watched the Olympics, the athleletes on each team are rather quiet, even if they hit the very center.  You don't have anyone jumping for joy.  I think that would probably break their concentration.

We had fun trying to photograph the arrow in mid-air.  Suddenly,  I realized that this is a sport where you can really self-evaluate using video as a tool.    Performance-evaluation via video playback is something I used to do for clients as a publicist but parents and teachers can use it too for so a variety of objectives.

Not only has the U.S. Men's team already won silver but watching the sport itself is riveting.  I would have never believed it was that tense and for kids, it is so easy to follow.  Everyone knows what a bullseye is.  Understanding the scoring structure is incredibly easy.  There is no judge really.  Your arrow is either in or out.  It kind of covertly has the child doing arithmetic in his head.  "If he gets more than 5 points, the U.S. team wins!" (and they did, beating the world-record holding South Korean team) 

Speaking of cool.... The person who broke a world record in Archery recently in London, Im Dong Hyun during the qualifying rounds is actually legally blind. He sees with 10 percent vision in one eye and 20 percent in the other.  What the what???!!!????    Im, (his last name), 26, does not wear glasses in competition.  The message to me?  It's not just your eyes that you use to hit the target.  Your body is extremely important.   I would love for my son to become more self-aware of his own body.   Self-control starts with self-awareness.

This toy is very social too.  My little one played alongside his brother with his very own Zing toy (to be reviewed on another date).  Just as with kites, you can be very social with this game and yet, be unfettered by too much group-work mentality which can be taxing to some people (like me).   Additionally, I dare say that there is an exercise component to this toy but I haven't fully explored that yet.  But if you let them shoot it and make sure they pick up all their arrows, by default, they'll be moving those feet to go fetch their beloved arrows.   (Additional pack of 3 is about $10)

To see this really happening, watch the video directly below the photo.  This was taken with a member of the Olympic team for South Korea in a South Korean television show.    Don't bother trying to understand what they are saying.  Just watch.

Don't miss the rest of the Archery events this week in the London Olympics!   I have the schedule here just for you!

Now it's time to win your own Air Storm Z Curve Bow!   The winning prize can only be shipped to the U.S.  I have new giveaway questions.  I can't wait to hear your answers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Let me just say that no one shot this at his head.  He put it on himself.  Oh, and these suction darts do fall off on their own.  I love that.  You never know.... what if it got stuck on the ceiling?

Want Your Own Air Storm Z Curve Bow Right Now?  Click Onto My Amazon Link!

Update 8/7/12   I love playing with this indoors but if that is the case then the Zartz arrows (suction cup arrows) are better because they'll stick to the wall and not bounce of like the other ones.  It looked like the Zartz were maybe $8 for one each but I found this refill pack of Air Hunterz suction cup arrow replacements (4) for just $12.99!  So I got them!  Yeah.    You will see that the colors are a little different and the camouflage look seems to be part of Air Hunterz design but the arrows are the same as the ones from Air Storm Z Curve Bow.

Disclosure statement: Toys are Tools has not been compensated in any fashion by the manufacturer of any of the mentioned products for the publication of this post.  The product was given to Toys are Tools' testers to facilitate a review.  Reviews are never promised.   


  1. Nerf anything is a great tool for adhd adults too!

  2. If I had $150 I could do almost all of my kids school shopping :)

  3. My son has been asking for a bow and arrow for awhile now. He would love this!!

  4. As a parent I too have been torn about buying weapons. We have a very lose rule: it's okay to kill aliens, it's not okay to kill people. so movies like Star wars is okay. but then my 10 year old discovered The Hunger Games, a book I was reading and loved. So we read it together and it made for some great discussions. And now he wants to be into archery and be like Katniss.

  5. HI Rebecca! The $150 dollar question was about which one toy would you buy, you know.. like a video game system or a tablet... But still, thanks for trying to answer the question. I know that is on everyone's mind.

  6. Has he really? That's terrific. I like his style!

  7. Thanks for saying that. I sometimes feel like I am over-reacting. I like your rule. And I just had to look up Katniss. This is sad. I gotta stop playing with toys and keep up with the rest of the world!

  8. Hmmmm... we've never done Nerf here. I wonder if anyone else is interested... Thanks for your comment!

  9. I really like this. It's going on my list as a potential Xmas present for my grandson...he and grandpa would have a lot of fun with this.

  10. $150 to spend on one toy!!! I started out thinking electronic---we don't have a Wii yet and I could probably get a used one with a game or two for $150. Then I thought construction---how may Legos or K'nexs can you get for $150? I finally settled on GeoTrax trains.

  11. My son would LOVE this! I too am anti-toy weapons, but this has so many benefits and seems more like a sport.

  12. I love GeoTrax! Great choice. We gave away a huge set to my nephew last year. It you want a large set, it does cost a pretty penny, not to mention it takes up a lot of space but they are really easy to build.

  13. I think the bow and arrow is awesome. I have never managed to find one that is decent. Thanks for this review.

  14. With $150, I think I would use towards buying an XBOX or an iPad.

  15. We love the z curve. We just had a sun room addition, and the suction cups automaticly stick on the wall if we aim right. Now to make the target!! I only wish there was some kind of holder for the arrows so we could grab them quick for rapid fire!

  16. I love that it's foam and I can see my whole family playing with this. Sure beats a bb gun!

  17. Much better than a toy gun! Is there anything like this for 5 year olds?

  18. I am working on that- waiting to hear back about another idea I have. I hope I'll have good news to report soon. My five year old can play with it but he's still somewhat awkward. However, I think he can do better with more practice even at 5.5 years of age.

  19. You did a great job with the review.. I can tell you all my kids surrounded me when they saw the bow wanting it! It looks fun enough for me to want to play too.

  20. I would buy the Rebecca American Girl doll. My daughter has been asking and asking for it but it's just not in our budget.