The Trampoline: Arena Of Doom

Trampoline headline image
Harmless bouncy fun or arena of doom? The jury’s out on trampolines in our garden. Do your kids manage to play nicely on the trampoline or is yours a pigeon-poo-stained mosh pit like mine? 

“ONLY ONE PERSON AT A TIME” shrieks the manufacturer’s label.

Who are they kidding? The rows that would ensue if I tried to enforce that rule! The whole point of the trampoline is that the kids happily bounce while I wash up at a safe distance, smiling through the window.

But oh no.

“X kicked me in my head!”

“Y landed on my chest!”

“Z won’t play super-ninja-Jedi-bounce-kwan-do!”

The time I spend going in and out adjudicating arguments and administering “there, there” rubs to injured body parts, I might as well sit out there on a chair operating a one-on, one-off system like a fairground lady.

But that defeats the object. It’s my washing-up time. And their “free play” time. They’re meant to be exploring their physical abilities, letting off steam, using up energy. Having fun.

They loved it when I taught them all the moves: tuck, pike, straddle, star, seat jumps and (low down) somersaults. They used to enjoy just plain old bouncing, just trying to see how high they could go.

But now it’s evolved into a wrestling ring. I have three young boys and they need to use up a lot of energy (as, I expect, girls do). So it’s no bad thing, and they’re gentle, really.

But they’re in a giant bouncing ring.

Oh, and gravity exists.

The Democracy of Boing

The trampoline is the children’s mini-universe. An enclosed space where they rule.

Rule – and fight.

When I hear the screams, it’s hard to distinguish whether they are exhilarated whoops or yelps of pain. Particularly through a pane of glass.

But I read recently that it’s beneficial to let siblings sort out their own spats instead of always weighing in. Equally, you can encourage imaginative play by taking a step back and leaving them to their own devices.

And my boys do often play nicely for ages, making up games, bringing props onto the trampoline to create their little world. Like, er…weapons.

Trampoline ed for in-text

They may spat like mad on the trampo, but try and get them off, and they move as one to the far side of the wretched thing, and huddle there thick as thieves, laughing in the face of my ineffectual pleas and arm-swipes. I feel like Winnie-the-Pooh sticking his paw in a hole in the tree full of giggling, sting-quivering bees.

I have two choices: shout at them like the child-catcher. And risk the neighbours’ censure.

Or get on and bodily remove them.

And then I’ve walked right into their trap.

There’s no such thing as a dignified walk on a trampoline.

One has no authority on an unstable surface.

And I defy anyone to get on to a trampoline and resist the urge to


So there we are, manically bouncing up and down, the kids fighting over who gets to hold my hands, everyone giggling themselves sick.

Them all the more so, as they know my pelvic floor is no match for their exuberance. Within minutes I’ll be running urgently inside, leaving them to their crucible of chaos, and the tea to get cold on the table.

It is a fulcrum, yes. Not just of bickering and bruises, but of creativity and comradeship.

So I guess I’ll bounce to that!

Just let me go to the loo first…

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  • All so very true! Our trampoline died a death years ago and we never replaced it. A friend told me about the ‘one kid at a time’ rule and I always tried to enforce it. One day I looked out of the window and saw all three on there. I decided to ignore them. Seconds later, there were blood-curdling screams and my younger son spitting blood out on the patio. He’d knocked his front teeth so badly (luckily his baby ones) that they had to be removed at the hospital under GA. After that, they were happy to do one child at a time!
    Sarah MumofThree World recently posted…Gone Girl by Gillian FlynnMy Profile

  • Your trampoline looks almost as bad as mine. My kids are animals, and I only have two. Half the time I’m yelling about not jumping with sticks. I have half a mind to get rid of ours. But the kids love it so.
    Californian Mum in London recently posted…The Accent of an ExpatMy Profile

  • Jess this is amazing! 🙂 It really made me giggle. I love the super-ninja-Jedi-bounce-kwan-do. It sounds very much like your boys would get on very well with my three too! Xx
    Life at the Little Wood recently posted…#myhomestyle {edition six}My Profile

  • Suzanne says:

    I did away with the ‘one bouncer at a time’ rule years ago. And when they have friends round (shhhh) I don’t even police it! I know, I’m living life on the edge and all but seriously, what mum has time to referee trampoline time? Our trampoline was probably our best buy ever. We’ve never looked back. Yes of course there are fights, but with three kids, there are fights about everything and anything. Or is that just my lot? x
    Suzanne recently posted…The Annual Camping TripMy Profile

  • Sam says:

    Great post Jess! I’m really wary about our trampoline ever since my two year old nephew bounced straight out the unzipped side, straight onto his head and straight to a&e! They do love it though JJ’s latest thing is to scale the entire circumference of the outside if the net. *sigh*…
    Sam recently posted…Is fear a necessary part of parenting?My Profile

    • Wry Mummy says:

      Oh no, nightmare! Our oldest fell out the zip bit (unzipped, obvs) onto a path when we first got it, but luckily not a major injury. It’s on grass now and they’re good about zipping it up but like JJ, they also walk round it and are wrecking it bit by bit!

  • We’d definitely jump to this too! It seems like you and your kids had so much fun! I can’t wait to try this out for my two sons. I’m sure they’ll love it!

    You just brought trampoline into a whole new level of fun and exciting!

    But, safety first, what do you think can I do about kids accidentally jumping off the unzipped side? Can you suggest any material that I can use to prevent them from doing so?

    Thank you!
    Cristelle Song recently posted…JumpSport Fitness Trampoline Model 250 ReviewMy Profile

  • Geez! This is scary, I remember when we got our first trampoline, I made sure to add a mattress below just to make sure my kids will be safe and I am glad that I did just in case anything like this would happen.
    Natalie Lussier recently posted…Top 10 Best Portable Camping ShowersMy Profile

  • Mack and Bobal says:

    Favourite line ‘super ninja bounce kwan do’. Who knew trampolines could be so terrifyingly fun!

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