- Family and Parenting
Bounce U. Review for Children Who are Two (Years Old): Entertainment for a Birthday Party
The Party Place
Alright, most parents out there have probably heard of Bounce U. either through word of mouth or through their own experience. Basically, it is a bounce house themed birthday party destination for kids of varying ages. According to Bounce U.’s website, the “inflatable party professionals”, “love to see families and friends just being themselves in a private-party environment, going a little wild, and sharing memories that will last a lifetime”. They also emphasize that their facilities are “designed to be safe, upbeat, and truly memorable” for your children. I had a little trouble finding out a general age range required for participation but noticed that they have open bounce time (non-party) for children 7 and under only as well as one for all ages as well as a family bounce night that emphasizes its bouncing facilities as well as video games an other family friendly activities. Other events are also available to be planned including sports team parties, fundraisers, field trips, holiday parties, as well as scout troop parties. Their truly seems to be an opportunity for a variety of participants and their widely varying interests and backgrounds to enjoy the Bounce U. bounce house experience. However, being a parent of a 2 year old and having experienced both age appropriate birthday parties as well as open bounce, I have some reservations about allowing my child to participate.
Bounce U. Appropriate for a 2 Year Old?
Let it be known that I am by no means an over protecting parent and actually believe that a couple of bumps and bruises is an experience by which youngsters “toughen” up and learn what is within their capabilities. I digress. As I mentioned earlier, there are three general “bouncing” options that can be participated in aside from organizing or attending a party of some sort; under seven open bounce, general open bounce, and family night. As you can imagine, these options are kind of daunting when you have a child at the low end of the age spectrum but the eagerness to try everything. My son, for example is mid-way though his third year of life (2.5 years old for non mathematicians). He has been gaining momentum, coordination, and confidence for quite some time since he began walking at around the age of 1. He also loves to bounce, and before his first exposure to Bounce U. has always had a good time at your run of the mill “carnival” style inflatable bounce castles. Usually he was an individual occupant or the other kids were of similar age and or size to him. He is quite big for his age measuring over 40 inches tall and weighing around 40 lbs. Nonetheless, open bounce was a bit overwhelming for him. The time slot we attended was around noon on a Sunday and the place is packed. There were kids from the ages of 6 months to 14 years flying around the place like they characters in a movie about a world with out parents. The bounce obstacle courses, which were hard for even myself to navigate, were a racecourse for the older kids who would all but trample anything in their path, including toddlers who were trying to stand up for their lives! The bounce slide, which for a person whose feet are larger than a men’s size 6, is difficult to climb to assist a younger child to the top. I of course wear a size 13 and in socks, there is no telling when or how fast I will begin sliding backwards toward the other children attempting to climb the slide unit in utter fear for their own lives. Needless to say, I didn’t injure anyone thankfully but I may have sent one woman into labor…It’s hard to know for sure…Of course, once I finally got to the top of the inflatable bounce slide, my son decided that the two story drop was a bit much for his stomach to handle and I needed to find a way to navigate back down the inflatable “stubby” stairs, past the line of children, all without tumbling with my child to certain death. We however made it and I am hear to tell the story. Next stop, the “dodge ball” bounce house.
Upon collecting ourselves from the 15 minute detour up and back down the inflatable slide stairs, my son and I walked over to a nearly empty, at the time, basic bounce house with a bunch of balls, some inflatable basketball hoops and some other fun to bounce on obstacles that are otherwise benign…My son climbed in and began to bounce around as if he just landed on the moon.. Every once in a while he would throw himself down in a lump of laughture and finally I thought, he is going to have a good time! He is going to take a long nap after this! What else could I ask for? Then, without warning, the tweens got a hold of the place. In they went, running a round like hounds let out of their runs for a hunt… dodge balls began to fly. The floor began to sway as if an earthquake had struck and my 2 year old was on the top floor of a sky scraping just hanging on for dear life. He wasn’t having much fun any more and I had to rescue him from the madness that had ensued. After that, he was pretty warn down and tried a few other of the inflatable creations of madness but his day was pretty much done at Bounce U. All in all, it is a great place if your child is old enough to withstand the potential ground rumbling that can take place when the older kids take over the place practically un-monitored.
Thankfully, there are places one can go to satisfy your younger child’s need to bounce around or otherwise explore and have a lot of fun without too much expense. Since Bounce U has gained popularity, other smaller and often scaled down versions of the monstrosity have popped up all over the place. Recently because we live in New England where it is bitterly cold in the winter, we found with the help of our friends who have a child a year younger than ours, which fits the need for an inexpensive, warm, inside facility whereby a younger child can expend some energy and have a lot of fun. In our area of Southern New Hampshire, the place that we found is called Bobo’s Indoor Playground. It is also a facility that offers parties of all varieties and all budgets but also offers a lot more open play time than does Bounce U. Upon entering Bobo’s, we noticed their was one large bounce house with basketball hoops as well as a large inflatable slide that was a little more size friendly for a child the age of mine. There was also a castle play house that the kids who didn’t want to bounce could use to play and slide upon. Even better, there was a separate roped off area for the “crawlers” so they could explore and have fun of their own while their older brother or sis played on the big kid toys. The staff was friendly and best of all, it was only $8.00 per child for unlimited play. Bobo’s was designed for a younger age group so the play never got too “big” for my son or our friends younger daughter. If it had, we had the option of moving them to a younger section with out them having to miss out on much fun. I would recommend Bobo’s to anyone with a child my age that is looking for some weekend fun or to throw and inexpensive party at a facility that is just the right size for a toddler. Maybe in a couple of years, our son will be better equipped to take on the big boys at Bounce U.!