“ Manufacturer: Toys R Us / Age: 3+ / Type: Trampoline „
Having four children, we've had our fair share of trampolines in the garden. Small toddler bouncers with a nose-breaking bar for the child to hold onto, huge twelve footers and various 'character' trampolines to suit whatever is in vogue with the average four year old at the time. Our current one was bought to replace a much larger trampoline; our two older children weren't using it and after pricing up the enclosure we realised it would be cheaper to buy a smaller one for (then) almost three year old Hollie, this would also help us adults to start taking back our garden.
We bought this one on a whim, I seem to recall paying £70 for it in Toys R Us but this price fluctuates wildly through the year - I can't see it on their website now but last time I was in Toys R Us I saw it for sale at £49.99. I was surprised that the box was so small, I mean it's HUGE but I expected it to be bigger - when Mark mentioned the fact that a small box usually meant lots of assembly required my heart sank.
And rightly so. It took two hours to put this innocuous trampoline together, the main problem area being fitting the enclosure properly so that it was nice and snug against the rim. The trampoline itself (the bouncy bit) has to be attached to the base, but this was a surprisingly simple (if fiddly) job with only a small amount of frustration when the elastics refused to pull out far enough. It needs two people to assemble it really, if only so that the assembler has someone to hold the bits as he screws them into place! The instructions were relatively straightforward, I remember there being a few 'lost in translation' moments but fiddliness was the only issue really.
Once erected it's stable and fairly sturdy, the padded skirt and foam slips for the enclosure make it look bulkier than it is and when it was new it was a good looking trampoline with it's smart black and white colour scheme. When it was new. Now, after around eighteen months, it looks tatty and old with holes in the foam and a decidedly saggy looking enclosure. Hollie has had lots of fun with it so it's been money well spent, but it's looking so grotty now that I'm thinking of replacing it for this summer even though it's still perfectly bouncy! Even the canvas-style straps that hold the netting of the enclosure have inexplicably stretched - it just hasn't weathered well at all.
I'm not sure of the size, probably four feet from one edge to the other but this is very much a guesstimate so if you have a limited space to fill I suggest you check the box in-store. It's perfect for us, having only four year old Hollie playing on it, but if you have more than one child who is likely to want to play on the trampoline then this one will likely be too small - one child can bounce at a time on it, any more is just asking for a broken bone to happen! Hollie doesn't like the opening in the enclosure as it's 'envelope' style so feels a bit tight to get through, she preferred the opening on her cousins trampoline which zips down to make a small doorway - much more fun to clamber through and far less claustrophobic!
I've got one minor annoyance, and so has the hedgehog who visits our garden. For some reason the space beneath the trampoline has been draped with the same fine mesh netting as the enclosure, I can't see any reason for this and it just makes the trampoline look even tattier after a while - and has caused our local neighbourhood hedgehog to get snagged three times! Not good!
The trampoline is good and bouncy, Hollie can get herself pretty high now but the saggy enclosure prevents her from attempting anything more than a straight bounce or narrow star jump - she's getting a bit frustrated about this now actually, at her weekly gymnastics class she spends time on their trampoline and wants to be able to practice her moves at home too. I suspect the trampoline itself would be fine, but once again it's the poorly designed enclosure that spoils it as it hangs in such a way that you're losing space all the way round.
The trampoline is suitable from three years, I'm not sure quite why younger children shouldn't be on it as my sixteen month old son has had a little go recently and (other than the navigable drop) hasn't had any problems at all! He enjoys getting himself into crawling position and bouncing to give himself momentum, at the point where he reaches a decent bounce will try to crawl away - this invariably leads to him tripping over his hands and really makes him laugh. Obviously if you're letting a toddler use this (or any other) trampoline you need to supervise them constantly, marginally more so with this as the floppy mesh and straps could pose a choking hazard - but I'm always outside when David is so this isn't really a concern for me.
The tall, circular design means this trampoline will fit tidily in the corner of any garden; we have a reasonable size garden so it didn't matter too much where we put it, since it's started looking so tatty however it's been relegated to the far corner - where it's now looking tattier than ever as living underneath the trees has dirtied the foam!
As far as I'm concerned this has been a good buy; it's kept Hollie entertained throughout a relatively dry summer, and helped me in my endeavours to encourage Hollie (and all of the kids) to do more exercise.
When my eldest was nearly two, my very generous Aunty wanted to know what to get him as a Christmas present. I suggested this product as it was on a very good offer of £50 for the mini trampoline, and the enclosure that surrounds it was free. Bought separately it would have been around the £100 mark, and currently (more than 2 years later) it is available for £69.99.
I had spotted that there are cheaper trampolines about. The sort with the handle bar that the child holds while they jump did not appeal to me at all. I remember my sister bashing her mouth badly on one when we were kids, and my son had also got his foot down between two of the springs when he tried one like that at playgroup. I had visions of a hospital trip, so i decided that although this is recommended from 3 plus, i could not really see a reason not to get this one if used with correct supervision.
When we bought this, it needed to be assembled. The legs needed putting on the base, and the poles needed attaching to the base and the net putting on. It didn't take that long, but i did get my husband to do it and he is quite good at assembling things like this. It was between half an hour and an hour.
When assembled, this looks very similar to the larger trampolines. The jumping surface is about 1 foot off the ground. The springs are all covered by padding. The design has been updated since we bought it. This padding is now made from PVc. Ours has a more canvas type material which after having been outdoors for 2 years is now very sun faded and a bit mouldy looking. I can imagine that PVC would look good for longer.
The enclosure is made from 6 poles which are all padded and this is a great safety feature. If they do fall near it you are not worried they will hurt themselves. The mesh is hard wearing. My two both tended to jump while holding on to the mesh by the red bit round the middle. Although this caused this material to break apart and blow away, the mesh itself did not even get a tiny hole in it. This is a big plus.
The opening in the enclosure was a bit different to larger trampolines. Instead of a zip, there was an extra length of material at the top between the two poles, and not as much at the bottom. This meant you pulled apart two layers of mesh to get in. No complicated zip, easy for small children to manage themselves, and enough of a complication to slow them down while getting on. I found this was enough to stop them ever falling off.
According to the Toys R Us website, this is a trampoline that can be used indoors or outdoors. Personally, as a person who lives in a pretty standard 3 bedroom house, where would i put it? It is not huge, but i would not want to be battling round it to do what i needed to. It measures 180cm high and has a diameter of 140cm. It also needs to be put on a softer surface. We put it on the grass rather than the patio and this was fine.
The positive aspect of this trampoline is it is quite a grown up one without taking up a lot of space. You have all the safety features of a larger trampoline on it. My children have 18 months age gap between them, and i found that the 2 of them could jump on it quite happily together. Or, if i was feeling fit, i could get on it with one of them, but not both. (I am not one of these matchstick mums, and i worried it would overstretch the trampoline. )
The negatives we found were probably things that wouldn't bother other people. Our garden is east west facing, and quite high up. Things that have a large surface area like this can blow over in strong winds. We have had numerous mishaps with our greenhouse and this trampoline. This caused the poles to bend if it landed hard on it. The second problem was our children lacked confidence and held the middle bit of the net to bounce. This weight on the net also caused the poles to bend. We then kept straightening them again. Eventually, the poles became weak and they snapped.
Currently we still have this little trampoline in the garden without any enclosure. Our kids still bounce around on it but as it is now not quite as safe, i limit them to when we are with them and one at a time only. It is not unsafe as such as they are only a foot off the ground, but they can't get too adventurous. Because of this and there increasing size, we also got them a 10 ft trampoline which is better suited for bigger children.
In summary, i am glad they had this. They got a couple of years of fun out of it and burned off a heck of a lot of energy. The new design looks as if it would weather better, though it might be worth seeing if you can stake it down to make it last better. I think it was worth it.