I am a huge fan of trampolines. So much so that I’ve entertained the idea of starting some kind of trampoline-advocacy website. Though, it should be stated that I come up with new (generally bad) website ideas practically daily, so that doesn’t really say a whole lot.
Our next door neighbors got a trampoline the summer Fisher turned 2, and he has been jumping ever since. We ended up getting one for our own yard (sometimes the older boys don’t want to share with the younger boys, and I’m just not down with that drama.)
Both of our boys are super coordinated. Sometimes I see other kids get on the trampoline who clearly aren’t used to it, and they look so stiff and awkward while my kids are doing flips and jumps and ninja moves and whatnot. Fisher isn’t super athletic, but he is fast and agile. Tate is pretty much awesome at everything, so apparently he’s working with an above-average baseline set of abilities.
Anyway, my working theory has always been that the boys are especially coordinated because of their trampoline usage, and I read something yesterday that (sort of?) supports that.
I am reading Temple Grandin’s book Animals in Translation. It’s about animal behavior, but there’s some human behavior stuff thrown in (newsflash: people are animals). In talking about locomotor play, she says it is the “pretend chasing and jumping-and-spinning play a young animal does when it’s alone”. Sounds very much like how my kids play on the trampoline! She goes on to say…
“Drs. Byers and Walker think the purpose of locomotor play might be to help grow good connections among the cells in the cerebellum, which is the [part of the brain] that handles posture, balance and coordination…it makse sense that a young animal or human might spend a lot of time leaping, running & chasing during the period that his cerebellum is forming new connections.”
True, this is just a theory, but it supports my antecdotal evidence so it must be COMPLETELY TRUE. Ok, not really, but a little confirmation bias never hurt anyone, right?
Also, I know people get all freaked out by trampolines, but in the 7 years my kids (and all the neighborhood kids) have been jumping out back, no one has ever been seriously injured. And the only minor injuries have occurred from improper use (not zippering the doorway, and slipping off the outside edge while walking around it WHILE IT WAS WET *coughtAmFamcough*.)
So, if you want a great backyard toy that your kids will use practically daily (I’m not even kidding when I say that my kids sometimes jump in the snow), is THOUSANDS of dollars less than one of those stupid wooden playsets, and is fun for the whole family (the kids love it when mom or dad get on!) and helps with coordination and brain development, then you just need to head over to your local Wal-mart with $250 in your pocket and pick up one of these puppies.
Plus, it comes with free static electricity!
PROTIP: Rig up a locking hose sprayer inside the trampoline and turn it into a slippery slidey trampoline. They will think you are the best parent ever!!
And then when your kids grow up and get scholarships because they are so coordinated, you can come back and thank me.