It used to be that the only time you'd come across a bouncy castle would be at the fun fair or other special event. Occasionally a child's birthday party would be wild enough to have hired one, but that would be a treat. Today, it is now possible for inflatable bouncy castles and ball pools to be available for use at home - either in the garden or even inside.
Of course, the bouncy castles for use at home are generally smaller, since it is unlikely to have very many children playing on it at once, and whereas the professional bouncy castles have either one or two motors attached pumping air continuously into the inflatable castle, the ones at home can be pumped up manually, using either a small foot pump or electric pump, and then a valve is closed, holding the air inside like a balloon. The quality of build is usually more than ample for one, two even three children to play on quite happily, and a wide range of designs are available.
Bouncy castles themed to Barbie, or Disney films, or places such as desert islands, the army or underwater are available too. Generally these castles have a large bouncy base, with protective walls or barriers around the side, but not with much of a roof. These are not designed for children to use as trampolines to see just how high they can jump, like the professional castles allow you to do, but are for small bouncing, rolling or playing.
If you are planning on buying one of these, and for outdoor use, make sure you buy a good thick groundsheet, because any small sharp objects such as stones could easily puncture the inflatable, and so a protective layer, even if on grass, will be essential. These castles usually represent a fairly major investment, and the high quality, larger ones can be several hundred pounds. It's also worth bearing in mind that if children are likely to jump, fall or bounce off, they shouldn't be in any danger. Therefore, planning on having the bouncy castle nearby the greenhouse is not ideal.
The other thing to bear in mind, of course, is that if you are planning on saving money and buying your own bouncy castle for a birthday party rather than hiring, is that should a child have an accident you are not going to be insured. The price of hired castles is inclusive of fairly comprehensive insurance. As long as your bouncy castle or inflatable is for your own child's use, or you are good friends with the parents of children using the castle, then you should be relatively safe.
In addition to inflatable bouncy castles, you can also get slides, water slides, mazes and activity games, such as sumo wrestling, soccer games, gladiator style tournament challenges and other interesting activities - there is a huge range today, and almost anything that can be hired can be bought, in a smaller scale, for private home use. Certainly young children will happily use up a huge amount of energy bouncing on them, which, for a quiet night's sleep, is always considered money well spent.
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