Tales of a Tireless Mom: Bouncing off the Walls

Examining the mystique of the Bouncy Castle.


What is it about Bouncy Castles?

Like a moth to a flame, I have NEVER met a child who can resist the allure of the Bouncy Castle. This colorful enclosure made of rubber and vinyl has a power over children like nothing I’ve ever seen.

They will risk anything – injury, embarrassment, even punishment – to spend “just five more minutes!” in the Bouncy Castle, and when they see one they can only think of one thing:

“I must get inside and jump.”

You may know it as a Bounce House, Hop House, Moon Bounce or the ever-popular Jumpy House, but if your child has never been inside of one then they simply haven’t lived. My neighborhood had a Block Party this weekend and while the highlight for the adults was great food and drink with friends, the draw for the kids was the Bouncy Castle.

We rented just the basic model and I kid you not, I only saw Georgia with her feet on solid ground twice in four hours. It was like a big inflatable babysitter.

Of course, as with any addiction, there is a downside. The obvious risk to life and limb is at the forefront; imagine a whole slew of kids, hopped up on sugar, jumping and hurling themselves through the air inside a giant balloon with only netting to keep them contained. If there are one or two responsible older kids inside (or parents keeping watch), all should be fine.

There is also the hazard to footwear, and for a mother who insists upon clean socks and feet, this is a big one. Children all take off their shoes to get inside the bouncy castle and therefore you’ll find about 57 pairs of mismatched sneakers strewn about outside the entry.

For some reason, once the kids come outside they decide that if it takes more than four seconds to find both of their sneakers then it’s perfectly okay to spend the rest of the afternoon walking around in the dirt without them. Grrr.

The day after the party, it was inflated one last time and inside were kids ranging from 8th graders to 3-year-olds. At one point, Quinn was bouncing inside when I heard shrieking from down the street.

Around the corner came Georgia and her two friends, LITERALLY sprinting to get five more minutes of bouncing in. I had to threaten her life in order to get her to climb out and eat dinner. When the plug was pulled and the Bouncy Castle deflated, I’d swear I heard an angel crying…

At your next party, do yourself a favor and order up a Bouncy Castle but be warned: while the kids will be jumping maniacs and sleep like babies that night, don’t think that the adult body can withstand it. Five minutes bouncing will have you limping for days and taking Advil for sore thigh muscles you didn’t even know existed in your old body. Trust me, I’ve made that mistake before. It’s not pretty.

Kids, however can’t resist the Bouncy Castle, and shouldn’t. Some things are truly for the young.

Bounce away, children…bounce away.

Laurel K Little October 17, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Alex I just love reading your stories. Thanks!! Laurel
Alex Shumway October 17, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Thanks Laurel! With three kids, a full time job, activities up the wazoo and just a general feeling of craziness, I'm never at a lack for subject matter :)


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