Product Type: ELC Outdoor Toy
Newest Review: ... I'm recommending that if you have enough space that you buy this for your toddler. As to stars out of five, I'm going to give the ELC J... more
Member Name: sandemp
ELC Junior Trampoline - Blue
Advantages: Large bouncing surface, padded edges, great fun
Disadvantages: Tough to assemble, quite large
==Let's Get Ready To Bounce - A Parent's View==
The trampoline comes supplied unassembled in a deceptively small (but long) box. This box is reasonably heavy and I really would suggest having it delivered rather than trying to carry it. The instruction manual is refreshingly short but not particularly clear which means that even though the parts are clearly labelled assembly is still rather confusing. The instructions do recommend that two people should work together to assemble, but I did manage on my own, with it taking me just over an hour to complete assembly. For me the hardest part was to thread the elastic that holds the mat in place and I admit a few unsavoury words passed my lips as I struggled to centre the mat. No matter whether one or two people are assembling this, I would definitely recommend that if it is intended as a gift it is assembled the night before the big day and to ensure that you can give it your full concentration. What I did particularly like about assembly is that the only tool required is a spanner and that is included in the box, meaning that I didn't have to hunt out screwdrivers, etc.
Once assembled the trampoline was much, much larger than I expected. Somehow I thought that as it is suitable for such young children (one to three years) it would be much smaller and nearer to the ground. The actual dimensions of the trampoline are 97cm x 95.5cm and the handle is 87cm high, while the mat stands approximately 30cm (12") off the ground. So this is a toy that takes up a good deal of space and it is also one that cannot be folded down, so make sure you have enough room before purchasing it.
The assembled trampoline does feel well made and secure, the various nuts and bolts hold everything fast and nothing feels as if it is going to come loose. Although the maximum recommended weight for playing on the trampoline is 35kg, I decided that I needed to ensure that it would survive the very enthusiastic play it is likely to receive and stood my rather more ample frame on the mat, gave a little bounce and found that it took my weight well, which gives me piece of mind that it won't collapse no matter how high Freddy jumps. I especially like the built in padded covers that not only cover the elastic (and so eliminate the risk of a child's foot or other appendage getting caught) but also provide a cushion should the child land on the edge. The handle is also a good idea, as it provides another element of safety, but I do feel that it is a little too high for the lower end of the recommended age group.
As a parent I would give the trampoline four stars out of five. It looks quite attractive with it's blue coated metal frame, blue mat and padding and red handle grips, and once assembled feels very secure. But it is a pain to assemble, takes up a lot of space, only just fits through a standard doorway and I feel the mat is a little too high for the younger end of the recommended age group. But it's not just my opinion that counts....
==Boing - A Child's View==
Before I go into my experiences of watching Freddy playing with the trampoline and my opinion on what he thinks about it, I'm going to tell you a little bit about him as what your child will get out of a toy like this depends very much on there developmental stage and abilities. Although he is now 20 months, Freddy has only been walking for about a month and is still quite unsteady on his feet. This is due to a condition called hypermobility, which means he has slightly unstable joints and low muscle tone. Freddy is also quite tall for his age, being on the 80th centile and even though his gross motor skills are delayed he is very adventurous and a bit of a thrill seeker who loves bouncing on Mummy and Daddy's bed.
When Freddy first saw the trampoline he was a little over-awed at the size of it and really didn't have a clue what it was. So we sat him on the mat and he soon worked out it was even bouncier than Mummy and Daddy's bed. What followed was a huge grin and half hour of him bouncing himself up and down. We did try and persuade him to stand during that first play but he was perfectly happy to bounce on his bum. At this point I wasn't sure whether he would be able to get on the trampoline on his own and was very concerned that the drop was a little too high for him to safely get off. To be perfectly honest my heart still drops every time he tries to get off as he hasn't mastered the art of going down feet first and I'm scared he's going to bump his head. There's no way that I would allow him to play with the trampoline unsupervised even for a moment as I'm not confident that he can get off without getting hurt.
My fears about him being able to get onto the trampoline, however, certainly were not founded. While the mat is not low enough for him to safely get off, it is low enough for him to be able to climb on, which is something he demonstrates several times a day. Freddy will regularly climb onto the trampoline and as well as bouncing on his bum will now stand and hold onto the bar to bounce on his feet. While the trampoline is not fantastically bouncy, it's obviously bouncier than my bed and Freddy finds it great fun to spend hours bouncing or even just sitting on the mat. I do feel the level of bounce is perfect, enough to satisfy Freddy's thrill-seeking side, but not so much as to launch him into the air. The very fact that Freddy would spend near enough the whole day on the trampoline if he could tells me that as far as he's concerned it's fantastic and worth five stars out of five.
==The Benefits Of Bouncing - A Developmental View==
Trampolines are fantastic for helping a child develop their gross motor skills and get some much needed exercise. Although there's no way you could call Freddy a couch potato, I'm always looking for ways to help him let off a little more steam. As well as allowing him to let off steam the bouncing is helping him improve his coordination and strengthen his leg muscles. I must say I've seen a huge improvement in his balance and stamina when walking since buying him this.
As to the age range, while I do feel that a one year old will need a vast amount of supervision and help to play with the trampoline, I also know from my (much) older children that even those children that cannot sit independently enjoy the sensation of being gently bounced on a trampoline. So I would have been happy to have allowed Freddy to play on this before he could walk, but obviously I would not have been happy to leave him for even a moment. Much as I don't now, as I do feel the mat is just a little too high.
As to the upper limit of three, from my older children I know that as Freddy approaches four the trampoline will probably not be quite as adventurous as he would like. But that's not to say he won't still try and play with it, my older children were still having sneaky bounces on their younger siblings trampolines when they were ten.
==Safe Bouncing - Anything else==
While there are some toys that I'm quite happy for Freddy to play with without close supervision, this definitely isn't one of them. There are some definite safety considerations to take into account. Firstly this is a toy that demands almost constant supervision, I wouldn't leave Freddy alone with it for even a moment (not even to go to the toilet). Then it needs to be positioned in a safe place, if being played with indoors I would recommend that it is placed on a carpet rather than laminate or tiled floor. This is partly so there is a slight cushion if the child fall and partly because this type of trampoline has a habit of sliding along this type of floor. If played with outdoors the trampoline should be placed on grass rather than concrete, for much the same reasons.
The trampoline also needs a little regular maintenance. The bolts need to be checked and tightened regularly, after all, all that bouncing does shake them a little loose. The elastic also needs to be checked regularly and should it show any sign of damage the trampoline should not be used. Finally the trampoline should not be left out during damp weather as it is not weather-proof, so make sure that you have somewhere to store it.
==All Bounced Out - Final Words==
Although I struggled to put this trampoline together it was well worth the effort. Freddy absolutely loves playing on it and his sheer pleasure makes the constant supervision and occasional heart-in-the-mouth moment worth it. I've also seen a vast improvement in Freddy's gross motor skills, coordination and stamina since he started playing with it. So it's hardly a surprise that I'm recommending that if you have enough space that you buy this for your toddler. As to stars out of five, I'm going to give the ELC Junior Trampoline four stars out of five.
Summary: Much bigger than it looks in the photo, and great fun