Let’s face it… bounce houses are fun! It doesn’t matter if you’re four or fifty-four: there’s just something exhilarating about flinging yourself around inside a soft, squishy, air-filled house! It’s like jumping on the bed, except you can’t get in trouble for it!
Still, even the most lighthearted and fun activities have certain things about them that must be kept in mind so they can stay lighthearted and fun. They are no exception to the rule. What follows is a list of some simple but important things to keep in mind to help you get past the planning/thinking stages and on to the fun.
There is a very good reason that this is number one on the list. It is extremely important to make sure that the company from which you’re renting is insured. Not only this, but it is important to make sure that you’re renting is covered. Some companies advertise their insurance policies, but those policies only cover certain bounce houses. If someone gets hurt while bouncing around at your party and the rental company is not insured, you could be sued for a lot of money. Tread carefully here.
2. The Age of the Bounce House
It can only hold up to so many years of sugar-rushed, excited kiddos (and sugar-rushed, fun-loving parents, aunts, and uncles) jumping up and down inside of it before it starts to show its age – brittleness, thin spots subject to tears/leaking, etc. This is not only an aesthetic problem but a safety issue. Put this question high on your list when shopping.
Make sure that the company you rent from has good bounce house hygiene. Remember these things are made to be filled with tiny people who love to stick their little fingers into all the things Mommy says don’t touch. The concepts of “eating” and “bouncing” also sometimes produce… unexpected results when done in the wrong order. So make sure the company keeps them clean… and maybe buy a bottle of Lysol or two… just to be on the safe side!
4. Solutions for the Heat
A lot of parties that warrant bounce houses are summertime bashes. Because of this, you’ll need to come up with some way to augment the heat inside the it. Plan your party in the cool of the day, perhaps, or make sure that the item is set up in the shade. There are several different routes to solving this problem. Just determine the one that works best for your party.
Remember: kids have a surprising amount of muscular power in those little frames… meaning they bounce hard… especially when they’re having fun. Having one six-year-old child in a bounce house pounding the plastic to her little heart’s content is all right, but throw five or six other kids in the mix (including that eight-year-old from down the street who could be a lightweight champion already) and the chances of injury and sudden pandemonium increase greatly. So… your job is to be a good chaperone. Keep a close eye on the bounce house. The other parents, the rental place, and its insurance company will be very glad you did!
6. Rules for the Bounce House
This falls directly in line with number five and is distinct from, but a big part of, being a good chaperone. The antics of excited children operating en masse can degenerate into anarchy very rapidly without a clear set of rules and a good enforcer. Your list could include guidelines like:
1. No teenagers or adults with the little ones.
2. No shoes in the bounce house. (i.e. hard soles = damage to the bounce house and to other kids)
3. Bouncing first, eating after.
Etc., etc., etc. You’ll know the rules that will work best for your party-goers.
7. Things You Need to Provide / Do
Check with the rental company to see if there is anything that you need to provide, do, or prepare before the bounce house can be set up. Will you need to provide a generator? Will you pick up the deflated item and inflate it, or do they deliver? Just make sure that everything is ready to go beforehand so there will be no glitches on party day.
Well… these are seven major “serious” things that you should keep in mind when renting a bounce house. Think about them for a while… process them… get everything all set and ready… and then… you have my permission… go have fun!
By Tony Atwell