Remember when you were a kid and first stepped inside a moon
bounce or bounce house? The excitement you felt as your feet landed
on the soft, squishy floor and the freedom that came from jumping
as high as you had every jumped can never quite be replicated.
Today's bounce houses have gone to the extreme and places such as
Jump!Zone, Monkey Joe's, PartyTime and Pump It Up are giving kids
of all ages the opportunity to bounce through rooms filled with
themed-inflatables that jump the birthday party celebration to an
entirely new level.
"Kids get to run, jump, and slide all over the place," says
Davora Sides of Pump It Up. "Who doesn't love that?" Not many kids
would balk at the chance to have free reign in a party area where
fun obstacles and challenges abound and their playground is
literally a room filled with soft, bouncy surfaces and parents love
the idea of letting kids be kids in a location other than their own
home or yard. While most inflatable party locations offer packages
that include party rooms, dedicated party hosts and even snacks and
drinks, there are numerous ways you can make the most of your party
Although the floors and walls are soft, safety is still a
primary issue when it comes to having an inflatable party. At Pump
It Up, guests are shown a brief safety video before the party
begins that clearly outlines all the rules of play. And at
Jump!Zone, those rules are reinforced throughout the party. "As
kids tend to have a short memory span, we train each of our staff
members to remind our young guests the importance of the rules
throughout the party in case they forget, " says Scott Soeder of
Jump!Zone. Make sure parents of all your guests are informed of the
rules as well-even if that means asking them to stay during the
beginning of the party as the rules are being explained.
Be Date Flexible
As with most birthday party locations, inflatable parties fill
up fast especially during the key weekend hours, so be sure and
book your party at least 4 to 6 weeks ahead of your intended date.
In addition, ask if there are any 'off hour' party times. Pump It
Up offers "Early Bird" (Sat/Sun 9AM), "Late Night" (Sat 7:45 or
later and Sun 7 PM or later) and weekday party options.
Don't miss the opportunity to make your party unique and shining
the spotlight on the party boy or girl. At Monkey Joe's, the
birthday party kid gets a sticker to let everyone know it is his or
her birthday along with the opportunity to sit in an "awesome
birthday chair" and have a poster signed by all the guests. Also,
if you have a separate party room available where you can serve
food and open presents, ask if you can bring in your own items.
"Parents can bring in their own custom birthday cake as well as
their own paper plates and decorations," says Soeder. And some
parents have taken the decorations to the extreme. "We had a
jungle-themed party where the mom packed the party room with
inflatable animals, trees, etc. It was amazing," says Sides.
Ask for the Upgrade
At Pump It Up, almost any traditional party package can be
upgraded to include pizza, drinks, goodie bags and balloons. Monkey
Joe's will actually offer you a variety of 'themed' paper plates,
napkins and cups. And, PartyTime Palace in Des Plaines allows you
to order balloons or piñatas directly from them and has an amazing
selection of food options that includes kosher pizza, spaghetti,
nachos and salads. Although most upgrades will cost you a little
extra, they will save you tons of time and planning. In addition,
be sure and ask if the location of your party has any partnerships
with outside vendors such as pizza restaurants or ice cream
parlors. If they do, they will often have discounts available if
you purchase food for your party.
Make the Memories Last
No party is complete without a great parting gift for your
guests. While many locations offer gift bag options, you can also
use this as an opportunity to add yet another personal touch to the
party. Give guests water bottles with their names or gift bags
filled with things that will remind them of the birthday party boy
or girl. And, for a final reminder of the fun, take pictures of the
kids as they are jumping for joy during the party and send photos
to them with the thank you card.
Inflatable parties are a great one-stop shop for the perfect
birthday celebration-for kids of all ages. With just a little
advance planning (and remembering to ask the right questions), your
next birthday party experience will have even you jumping for
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