It rained during the early part of the week here in Atlanta. My five-year-old, Decker, is quite used to riding his bike outside after school or kicking the soccer ball around the yard. I was worried that he’d be a bit antsy having to stay indoors, especially given that he might not be earning as many points with his GeoPalz device. But even with the rain, he still managed to keep his daily 10,000 step goal thanks to the iBounce.
While I’m not a fan of outdoor trampolines, this triangle-shaped personal trampoline has been a huge hit in my household. With its big green handlebars that are tacky to the touch and easy to hold onto with tiny hands, Decker has had zero accidents in over a week’s worth of jumping and jumping and jumping. That said, I’ve told him that if I catch him jumping on it without holding the handlebars, he’ll lose it for a week.
By itself, he’ll get on it and jump for two or three minutes at a time. You’d think that wouldn’t be a lot of jumping, but he’ll be almost out of breath when he finishes a good round of jumping. But the iBounce also comes with an iPad mounting bracket and a free iPad story app that provides additional incentive to get back on and keep jumping. The young kangaroo, RompidyRoo, guides the jumper on an adventure to find Mr. Fuzzy (a teddy bear that’s gone missing) that involves jumping, counting, and observing items on the iPad’s screen. Decker has done the app a few times (you can also view the video with a DVD player if you don’t have an iPad or choose not to install the mount), but he much prefers just to get on it and bounce at his own pace. Right now, there’s only the one story, so I’m hoping they’ll release more soon as my 2-year-old, Sawyer, has quickly figured out from watching his big brother how to hold the handles and jump. He’s much more likely to enjoy the app stories than Decker, so I’ll be keeping my eyes open for more stories to be released.
As far as jumping goes, the iBounce is very sturdy. If you follow the instructions correctly, the jumping pad will be nice and tight and capable of supporting up to 80 pounds. A soft padded skirt covers the three bungee cords that are wrapped around the metal braces that form the structure — the cords are also threaded through the metal eyelets in the jump pad, and it’s readily apparent that the material is strong and the pad is not going to tear or the cords break. Decker and Sawyer should be able to jump on this thing for years to come without any worries related to the materials used in the iBounce’s construction.
A word of warning to parents who don’t like to assemble things is in order here, however — the iBounce took me about 45 minutes to put together. The instructions were easy enough to follow, and Decker was a good assistant when I needed him to hold the three pieces of the frame so I could secure them together with the bolts. You’ll want to make 100% certain to tighten all of the bolts down after the assembly is done but not until then… the instructions will tell you exactly when to tighten everything down, so be sure to read them carefully before you begin so you’ll know what’s coming. Wrapping the bungee cords through the jump pad can be done solo, but it would have helped to have another adult help as you want to keep tension on the cord as you thread it around and around the frame. Assembly probably would have been about 10 minutes faster with another set of adult hands. That said, when I finished the thing was solid with no loose parts. After more than a week of jumping, all of the bolts are still tight.
While I’d much prefer Decker to be outside running and riding his bike after school, the iBounce has turned into a nice little afternoon activity. I’ll give Decker a challenge to do 100 or 200 jumps in exchange for 20 minutes on the iPad, for example. Rather than send him to time out, I occasionally offer him the option to go jump for a few minutes rather than send him to his room — just a little extra energy burn to help with bedtime.
Note: JumpSport provided me with an iBounce for testing purposes.