As this long, strange summer settled upon us, and kids had far fewer outlets for their energy, you may have invested in an outdoor or indoor trampoline, or maybe a water slide for the lawn. But nothing transforms your yard — come summer, spring, or fall — into a garishly glorious amusement park quite like a kids’ bounce house. And nothing provides quite as much safe bouncing, either: These hideous but practical structures allow kids to jump and jump until they can’t jump another minute. The best bounce houses are safe, durable, and let kids burn off energy while having a great time, all without ever having to leave the yard — which gives parents something resembling a break.
When you choose a bounce house, pay attention to the weight limit, so that you can get the most use out of it. You want one that’s easy to set up, and equally easy to deflate and store. The bounce houses on our list all come with blowers to inflate them, and in-ground stakes to keep them secured. To be perfectly clear, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is not a huge fan of these structures, and suggests that parents follow some common-sense guidelines when using one:
- Make sure one child uses it at one time, if at all possible.
- If more than one kid is using it, the kids should be the same age and size.
- Kids should use the bounce house under adult supervision.
- No pushing, shoving, kicking, or karate maneuvers, period.
The Best Kids’ Bounce Houses
Great for kids 2 and up, this sweet and basic bounce house inflates in less than 5 minutes. The walls are mesh, so you can see your kids while they're inside. The weight capacity is 250 pounds, and it's small enough to be used in a living room or basement.
You get the best of every world with this bouncer. When dry, it's a great bounce house with a tunnel, a basketball hoop, and safety netting. If you add water, it's a water slide and a splash pool. There's a climbing wall, and a water sprayer. The max weight limit is 350 pounds.
Perfect for a sunny yard during long summer days, this Little Tikes bounce house comes equipped with its own shade, to block out some UV rays while also keeping the jumping surface cool enough for bare feet (there are handy shoe storage pockets on the side). With safety mesh on three sides, extra-thick durable plastic, and continuous shade, this one's hard to beat for the peak of summer. Maximum weight limit is 250 pounds.
This isn't some cookie-cutter McMansion of a bounce house — though it is roomy, with a bounce arena that's roughly 9-by-7 feet. Key among its great qualities is an imagination-boosting and playful design, with an extra-festive hot air balloon theme. So kids can blow off steam by jumping around while also keeping their heads in the clouds. It sets up in a flash, with a maximum weight limit of 200 pounds, and has safety mesh on three sides, so you can keep an eye on kids as they bounce.
This unholy yet awesome bounce house is a castle slash slide slash basketball court. The sunroof is removable. The jumping area is a massive 8.5 x 7 feet. You can even use this indoors, assuming you have the floorspace. Two kids can use this at one time under supervision, with a maximum weight of 100 pounds per child. To deflate it, you just unplug the blower.
Don't insult this thing by calling it a bounce house. No, dear parents, this is also a ball pit. And a castle. A castle ball pit bounce house, if you will. There's soft safety netting so you can watch your kids. The total weight limit is 300 pounds. The bounce area is more than eight feet in diameter, so we're talking plenty of space. And it deflates into the size of an adult sleeping bag.
This house, for kids 3 and up, has a larger bouncing area, plus a basketball hoop with ball and a slide. Three kids can use this at one time and the max weight limit is 250 pounds. The blower has to run while kids use the bouncer, and you must use the included stakes to anchor it.
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