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Bouncy Houses for Playtime and Parties – Tips and What to Expect
During cold and rainy weather when my kids need to get their wiggles out, we like to hit one of the local bouncy houses for a good one- to two-hour romp. Bouncy houses are an affordable, easy way to burn off some nuclear kid energy and a fun way to exercise! Here are some tips for having a safe and fun time on your next visit to the bouncy house.
Keeping and Eye on Your Bouncers
Staff at these facilities are few and far between so plan to keep an eye on your kiddos yourself, or go with another parent who can help out. For children ages six and under, I recommend one adult for every three kids.
Avoid Boo-Boos, Barfing, and Burns
Minor injuries can be avoided with a few simple tricks. Some of the most common injuries are bumps, bruises and bloody noses. Everything at the bouncy house is soft, so where are bruises and bloody noses going to come from? The answer: kid-on-kid collisions. Avoid these problems by keeping your kiddos on inflatables that are appropriate for their age, size, and ability level. Keep an eye on whether your kid is struggling to stay on their feet amidst larger bouncers, and move them to another play area if necessary. The tall, inflatable slides are a ton of fun, but encourage kids to go down one at a time to reduce the possibility of brain bonks.
To avoid barfing, don’t feed your kiddo right before sending them in to jump. I like to feed my kids breakfast, give tummies some time to settle, and then take them bouncing mid- or late-morning, with lunch right afterward. Food + Bouncing = VBE (volcanic barf eruptions).
Even if it’s warm outside, clothe your kiddo from head to toe to avoid rug burns on the seams on the bouncy houses. Most bouncy houses require socks. Be sure to also have kiddos wear long pants and long sleeved shirts. I’ve never seen a major rug burn problem, but it is an avoidable distraction and discomfort for little ones. My daughter got a burn on her elbow once, and while it didn’t make her cry, she winced from the pain for the rest of the day. I have also seen parents tuck their kids pants into their socks so the pants stay down and protect calves while going down the slides – the most likely place to get a rug burn.
Exercise for Mommy
Call me crazy, but I love going to the bouncy house, too! I put on my exercise clothes (including pants with a sturdy drawstring in case a little one tugs on me) and I’m ready to roll! With my assistance, my two-year-old can keep up with older friends and siblings, and I have a lot of fun while getting some exercise climbing and bouncing. Many parents will sit on the sidelines and watch their kiddos from afar, but I prefer to get right in there. Older bullies will sometimes take advantage of the secluded nooks and crannies of the bouncy areas, and they will tease and pick on smaller kids. By being a grown up climbing and participating in the fun, you can put a sound end to that crap, protecting your kids and other kids from obnoxious trouble-makers.
A Sampling of Bouncy House Facilities
Finding a Place to Bounce
Conduct a Google search for “bouncy house” and your city or county name to find a facility in your area, or ask other mom’s in your area. Look for a place that is clean, brightly lit, and well maintained. Bouncy houses have “Open Bounce” times that are open to the public, and they have other times that are closed to the public but can be rented for parties. Open Bounce times are often broken up by age group. For example, they may offer an Open Bounce for ages six and under for 10:00 am to noon, and then Open Bounce for ages seven to ten from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm. Watch for a bounce time that’s appropriate for the age of your kiddos. Open Bounce time usually costs $4 to $6 per child, with a decreasing price for multiple siblings.
Bouncy Birthday Parties
Bouncy facilities are a great birthday option, though a little costly and food restrictions can be a pain. Reserve your party bounce time at least three weeks in advance. The bouncy facility will sometimes provide complimentary party invitations that you can send out, or will facilitate sending out an email invitation. This can be very helpful because they will make sure you include a map to the facility, and a copy of the waiver each parent will need to sign in order for their kid to bounce. Because these inflatables take up a ton of room, bouncy facilities are often located in out-of-the way, hard to find locations where the owners could get cheap rent. Be sure your party-goers get a map so they don’t spend precious bounce time driving around trying to find your party.
You will get 50 minutes to one hour of bounce time followed by 45 minutes to one hour in a party room. Most bouncy facilities have multiple party rooms, so you’ll have several groups of kids in the bouncy area during your bounce time. The party rooms have been very nice in my experience. The facility provides a staff person to help get it set up and to staff the party. The facility provides basic white table cloth, plates, napkins and plastic ware. You can dress it up with colorful balloons and a few theme plates and napkins if you want to. The bouncy facilities I have used require that you purchase their pizza and drinks, but you can bring some outside food limited to cake, and fruit and vegetable platters. The facilities will also sometimes provide goodie bags for $3.50 to $5.00 apiece, filled with bouncy-themed items.
The best part of bouncy parties is that kids have so much fun bouncing. If you want a happy birthday kid and happy party goers, a bouncy party is a sure win!
Bouncy birthday parties can run approximately $170 to $270 for the bouncy time and party room. Plan to spend more if you also include pizza or pre-made goodie bags.