Bouncing around the Backyard

Looking for something fun to liven up your backyard? Not convinced you have the space or energy to build a play structure? Why not get a trampoline!?

That’s what we did last summer and we haven’t looked back.

Our backyard trampoline has been a lot of fun for the whole family. My daughter enjoys showing off the moves she learns in gymnastics, and has already taught her brother how to do a seat drop. It’s also been a good way to interact with some of the neighbourhood children.

There are many different sizes and styles of trampolines to fit most budgets and yards. We have an 10-ft enclosed trampoline that we got on sale at Canadian Tire. It took a few hours to set up, and we left it out last winter with no ill effect. It takes a while to dry after a rain storm and water may collect under the safety mats, so you can expect wet feet.

Injuries can occur on trampolines, so we follow some basic safety rules:

  • No flips
  • No shoes
  • Eyes on the smallest person on the trampoline
  • Only two (or three depending on size) people on at a time
  • Stay off the mats covering the springs and no leaning on the netting

So far these rules have been enough to keep us safe.

The trampoline has been a great addition to the backyard. It’s been such a success that we’re wondering if we’ll have to get a bigger one for next summer!

KITC get together at Starr – A Gymtastic Afternoon! + Giveaway

by Krista We attended the latest Kids in the Capital children’s get together at Starr Gymnastics’ newest location, at 520 Lacolle Way in Orleans. My husband and I brought our two children, aged 3 and 2, and were joined by about 12 other families. We were excited to check out this location, as we have attended the West End Starr, but had not seen either of the other locations. This was also our first experience with a party held at Starr, which may come in handy for birthdays in the near future. They impressed our family on both counts.

We arrived just as the party was getting started, and joined the rush of families who were getting out of their winter gear. There is a fairly open area as you walk in, where you remove your outwear, footwear and socks (for children). There are bins to place little items in, you then walk these down the hall to the coat room. Once the winter wear was stowed, we checked in and were let in to the gym space. (click on picture to enlarge)

It’s a very large bright and open space that was clearly designed to suit Starr’s needs. There is a climbing wall, a swinging rope, several mini-trampolines, balance beams and bars, as well as several large open floor spaces for exercises. There is also a nice quiet room in the back of the space, intended for use by parents with really young children, and a raised area where there are four large round trampolines, and a foam pit for the children to dive into. There are also slides, mini-trampolines, balls, hoops, bean bags, and small play equipment spread through out the space.

The children were divided by age, with those under three heading off in one group with their parents, and those over three heading off without parents. The party was held much like one of the regular instructional classes, starting with a warm up, followed by activities that were geared to age. Fun Times at Starr There were at least two leaders with each group, and they instructed the children (and parents) at the start of the activity, and then left them to their own devices as they tried out the new things. They were always close by and available to step in if assistance was needed. The activities were generally high energy, and the focus was to keep the children moving. They switched things up every ten to fifteen minutes, allowing for the children to try out each station.

There were clearly some favourite activities, with most of the younger ones - and some parents - loving the big trampolines and the foam pit, In the foam pit! and some of the older kids liking the climbing wall and the “Tarzan” rope. Swinging The focus was on keeping the children moving, so other than the brief moments when instructions were given, everyone was active for the full hour.

The party then moved into one of three function rooms that look over the gym space. These are pretty basic rooms that allow for snacks and a rest after the play time. They are equipped with picnic tables and benches, and are located very near the washrooms and tiny kitchenette. As Starr does not offer any refreshments, those in attendance brought stacks for a potluck snack extravaganza. We did have access to the fridge and kitchenette to store and prepare any of the food that needed it. I imagine that these rooms could also be used by parents to watch over parties with older children, but I was having too much fun to consider this. a look at the party rooms

All in all it was a great experience. The children got to try new things, were active for an hour, and had lots of fun with new friends. The staff members and leaders were very helpful, energetic, and constantly encouraging their charges. I would definitely go there again, and would consider hosting a party for either of my children. There were two things that I would like to change, the first being the volume of the music, so the leaders didn’t have to yell to be heard by the children. The second is the flow in the entrance. The way it was set up you sat on a bench to remove you boots, then crossed the very wet floor to hit the play rooms or gym space. This problem will hopefully go away soon, with spring’s arrival.

Group Shot After the fun - for more pictures, see the KITC flickr pool

Krista is married to Willy and mom to a 3 year old son, Woo, and 2 year old daughter Goose. You can find her at Life in the Hutch or on Twitter @kgraydonald


Thanks Krista! Are you a fan of Starr Gymnastics? Would you like a chance to find out?

Starr Gymnastics is giving away one two-hour birthday party package, including one hour of gym adventure and one hour in a party room, for up to ten kids.  The birthday party package can be redeemed at any Starr Gymnastics location, pending date and time availability.

To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment letting us know which Starr Gymnastics location you would pick for a birthday party. For an additional two entries follow Starr Gymnastics on Twitter and like their Facebookpage. Please leave a separate comment for each entry!

The giveaway ends Tuesday February 22nd at 11pm. It is open to residents of Ottawa and the surrounding area.

Good luck!

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