“ Brand: ELC / Type: Bouncy Castle „
I recently purchased this for my son's 2nd birthday and I cannot fault it.
I paid £35.00 for it on special offer and compared to some bouncy castles you can buy this is a bargain price. I wanted something that is safe for my son that he wouldn't fall out of and the normal bouncy castles are just not secure enough for his age group so this is the perfect compromise.
The Bounce Zone is bigger than it looks on the picture so there is plenty of space to bounce and jump around and it is extremely sturdy and never feels like it is going to fall over. It has a small opening to climb through with an inflatable step up to it and my son loves climbing in and out of this. The Bounce Zone did take us a while to inflate as we used a foot pump but will be buying an electric pump for future use.
Another thing that I like about it is the fact that it comes with pegs so you just peg it into the ground and you know it is not going to go anywhere even when it is windy. Once we inflated it we left it out for a few days even in rain and it is still in perfect condition and wipes clean. It is very durable and I do not think it will puncture easily which is very reassuring.
I also think that this Bounce Zone is great if you don't have a big garden because it is not massive and could even be used indoors during the winter if you have the space.
I would definately recommend this to all my friends as a nice safe first bouncy castle.
My daughter loves to bounce and I thought it would be nice for her to have a bouncy castle for her 2nd birthday so we trotted off to the ELC to have a look. The one we went to had both their Bouncy Castle and the Bounce Zone up and after looking at the flimsy-ness of the bouncy castle, we instead opted for the bounce zone. My daughter was 21 months when she got this (we gave it to her early to enjoy the nice weather...)
---About the product:
The Early Learning Centre Bounce Zone is an inflatable 'pod' for toddlers to be able to bounce in like on a bouncy castle. It comes in a surprisingly small box and inflates to much larger so do check the dimensions before buying it! It is designed to allow 1 or 2 children to go on it at a time (it is smaller than a bouncy castle), and gives them the freedom to bounce without the worry that they will fall out or hurt themselves. It is for 2-6 year olds and the maximum weight it will allow is 75kg. Inside the box, you also get an inflatable step and some ropes and pegs so that you can attach the step to the bounce zone as well peg the whole item down in case of winds. There are also patches for the puncture repair kit in various colours to match the plastic.
---Inflating the bounce zone:
Once home, we got it out of the box and used a battery bump to inflate it. It has several inflatable sections. The first is the rim at the bottom of the base which the bounce zone sits on. This is quite a small section and then you come to the base which allows use of a larger hole to inflate it faster. You then have to inflate the walls of the zone which take a long time as there is only one small hole for inflation and the walls are quite thick so a lot of air is needed. There is then a small section around the hole (for them to get in and out) and the rim around the top; neither of which takes very long to inflate.
When we first got this product we used an airbed pump to inflate it and it took around 40 minutes to complete. As we wanted this to be something we could get out for a day and then put away again, we were a bit worried and wondered if we could speed the process up at all. My husband tried using a car air compressor but that didn't improve matters much. Eventually we finished and my daughter had a chance to bounce on it (see below) but then came the nightmare of putting it down. We couldn't leave it out all night as the instructions tell you not to and we still wanted it to be in one piece in the morning so we had to deflate it. Firstly we did the smaller sections that deflated easily but then we tried the walls and the base. The walls were the worst as the valve is so small and we didn't want to press too hard on the walls in case we burst it. The base was easier to deflate as it had the larger valve although you still need to be careful not to press too hard on the plastic.
After this first time, we decided to purchase the ELC pump to go with this item in the hope it would make it easier and we were really glad we did! The pump allowed much faster inflation and deflation and we were able to inflate it in less than 10 minutes and deflation took a similar time with no worries about damaging the plastic. It also meant that it folded into a much smaller space to be able to store easily as we were worried about that after the first attempt as well.
---Bouncing in the zone:
My daughter was trying to get into this as soon as we got it out of the box and was very excited as she watched it go up. The biggest difficulty was keeping her away from it while it was going up which was hard as it took so long to inflate. Once up though she was thrilled to be allowed inside and spent lots of time bouncing up and down and off the walls. She found it easy to get in and out through the hole in the side and didn't need to use the little step. Even after she'd finished bouncing, she kept going back to sit inside and read her books or play with her giraffe.
After finally putting it away that evening, she kept asking for her 'castle bounce' again so we had to explain she could have it again another day. After buying the new pump we put it up again and she was still happy playing in it on and off for the day. Whilst using it outside, we did put it on a blanket to stop any sharp objects puncturing it. We have also tried this item indoors which was a great idea on a rainy weekend as we could leave it up in the dining room for the whole weekend and let her play in it.
---A view from inside:
My daughter is still a bit young to tell me what she thinks of things, but she asks for 'bounce' on a regular basis and loves it when we get her 'castle' out. We have made it into a den for her by putting a blanket over the top and she loves having her 'den' which she can take her toys into as well. She doesn't understand why Mummy and Daddy won't go inside with her, but she enjoys us holding her hands over the edge while she bounces inside. She throws herself around a lot while in here and has not hurt herself at all due to the sturdiness of the walls and there has been no danger of it falling over with her exuberance so she has kept safe inside whilst having loads of fun.
---Why you should buy it:
I am definitely recommending this product to anyone who has a big enough space to put it up and little ones to entertain. The versatility of being able to use indoors and out has made this a great all year toy not just for the summer and my daughter has found lots of used for it (we tried it as a ball pit too which ended with a lot of balls out of the hole...). It is quite pricey at £45 but I think it is well worth it for the use we are getting from it. The only downside I have for it is the need for a very good pump and at another £20 for the ELC one, this bumps the price up a lot. It seems to be very durable and while I have read reports of leaking air at the seams, we have not suffered any problems over the last few months of use.
I am very glad we bought this though and if you are thinking of getting a bouncy castle for little ones, I'd urge you to look at this as well as it is much sturdier and I think has less risk than a castle has. My daughter is using it at just under 2 years old and I think it will last her a couple of years at least. You still need adult supervision as my daughter has perfected throwing herself backwards through the door, but you don't want to miss their enjoyment of this product anyway!