Because we loved our SlooMoo experience, Mary and I planned a slate of local Atlanta playdates to do and share on the blog every other month.
Criteria: The playdates need to be a something new that the kids have never done before. These would be more involved activities than the standard meet-up-at-the-park and would have some sort of sensory/development function.
For February, we bought tickets to The Big Bounce America. Advertised as the world’s biggest bounce house, we bought tickets for their opening weekend here in Atlanta. Tickets are for 3-hour sessions with timed entry into the main bounce house. This was also a junior session, geared for kids 7 and younger.
First the Cons
Sadly, the weather was not very cooperative. Big Bounce is rain or shine, but even though it rained the previous night, all of the houses still had a lot of water accumulation. No one was able to stay dry, so if your kid is anti-squishy sock, check the weather first.
There are storage cubbies to keep your shoes while you’re bouncing, but they are located on the ends of the entire bounce area. For the smaller houses in the middle, we kept our shoes lined up on the ground. So in addition to squishy socks in the houses, you will probably be walking across the pavement in squishy socks for a bit as well. They recommend bringing extra pairs of socks and changes of clothes. I went through three pairs per kid.
After our timed session in The World’s Biggest Bounce House, we had unlimited play for the other bounce houses. Unfortunately, my kids couldn’t keep bouncing enough to stay warm. The weather was high 50s and overcast, and with wet clothes and socks, we packed it in after about two hours when it began to sprinkle.
Another con was sometimes they would be in a bounce room with older kids. They would get a little intimidated and scared to participate if it seemed like the older kids weren’t being as considerate. Keep in mind that the tickets weren’t limited to only kids 7 and younger. Older kids could participate in the session as well if they had younger siblings.
Bounce houses are great for these sensory reasons:
- Bouncing provides a lot of proprioception. You’re getting the body in motion and giving it sensory stimulus. And in most cases, you’re getting a nice cardio workout as well.
- Bounce houses, especially those with different apparatuses, provide a lot of climbing and heavy work. You are pulling, using your body weight.
- Bounce houses also work on your vestibular. You’re figuring out balance, where you are in space, and exercising your reflexes and core stability.
Our kids (almost 6 and 5) were super excited to go. There were six smaller bounce houses (obstacle course, giant slides, a sports house with climbing walls, basketball, wrecking balls, etc) in addition to The World’s Biggest Bounce House. This main house had multiple “rooms” and activities, plus slides and a DJ booth. Our kids attacked this thing. My twins ran from room to room for about 45 minutes straight. They didn’t mind falling or the density all of the other kids and adults.
Since this was the beginning of the session and they were pumped on adrenaline, they didn’t really notice they were cold until much later. I also had a hard time keeping them together, so if your kids are younger and need more supervision, bring an extra set of eyes. Older kids can obviously be okay on their own in the bounce areas, and parents can stay in the sitting areas and meet-up checkpoints.
In The Giant (a big obstacle course), it was cute to see my girls help each other out. Aeris got stuck in a ball pit at one point and Z helped get her out and to the next activity. The course was big enough that it tested their motor skills, planning and coordination, as well as gave them a type of “risky play” where they could push their will power and personal comfort zone.
This would’ve been the best playdate if the weather had been better. I know they say “there’s no such thing as bad weather”, but in this case being cold and wet and only in socks isn’t my favorite. I can’t begin to tell how much Mary hated her squishy socks.
The junior session was a good fit for our kids, and all of the employees were super friendly and helpful.
We hope they will come again and fingers crossed for a warmer, drier day.
The Big Bounce America will be in Atlanta again this weekend (March 3-5). Other locations and dates are posted on their website.
Check out more photos and video from our Big Bounce field trip on IG and TikTok.