Inflatable Obstacle Course: Rental item of the week

Front view of a massive colorful obstacle course

Welcome to Rental item of the week, where every Thursday Bouncer Rental NW highlights pros and cons of a different rental item. We provide an in-depth review and suggestions on how to incorporate the rental into your next event. Our goal is to inspire event planners to be creatively bold and move outside the normal event scope. 

Welcome Seattle Event Planners! This week’s RIOTW is the inflatable obstacle course. The great thing about about obstacle courses is that they appeal to all age groups. Unlike a traditional bounce house that is only designed for kids up to age 12, teenagers and adults can participate in races. Most courses have separate lanes for the participants, meaning that parents can race against their children without risking a potentially dangerous interaction. The biggest cause of injuries in inflatables comes from larger participants falling on the smaller ones and obstacle courses conveniently rid events of this issue.

In addition to great safety features, obstacle courses can be incredibly large, impressive rental items that can help you theme out your event. They have high throughput, allowing two individuals to enter the ride approximately every 30 seconds (at least 240 people per hour). Rides with high throughput are always preferable for large events because of their ability to constantly entertain more guests. As opposed to a bounce house that can only service 6 to 8 children every few minutes, the constant flow of guests gives the added psychological impression of constantly moving lines.

So what exactly does an inflatable obstacle course consists of? Most courses consist of  four different actions; weaving, squeezing, climbing, and sliding. More often than not, the challenges present themselves in that order, though on larger tracks there can be multiple iterations of each. Participants start by weaving through multiple upright vinyl pillars. The pillars aren’t particularly difficult to get past, but when you are running through racing your best friend, they can definitely trip you up. Following the weaving section comes two horizontal vinyl columns so close together you can’t always see through them. You have to force the air out of the baffles and push your way through. The limited space makes this harder for adults than it is for children. Players will then encounter a wall of varying heights (depending on the obstacle course). The wall will usually have foot and hand holds and isn’t particularly challenging to climb, but doing so fast will take some serious effort. The final and most fun leg of the course is the slide. Guest will race down the slide (feet first!) and out the exit in attempts to be the first one out and rejoice in their glory.

If you want to increase the challenge, you can rent several obstacle courses, or incorporate other non-bouncy challenge items. Great options include last weeks Monster Trikes, mud pits, tires, and whatever else you might be able to get your hands on that is lying around.

So now that you have established that obstacle courses are definitely something you want to be a part of your event, how you can integrate the attraction into the overall mood of the party? Fortunately, these inflatables come in a large number of varieties. Match them to your events theme, or get inspired to create a theme from the one you choose to rent. Here are some examples of themed courses:

Wild West – Get your cowboy on! Clearly a good rental for Western themed parties. Other great events it can compliment are Chili Cook-offs, Rodeos, Ho-downs, and any other Southwest special occasions.

Treasure of the Caribbean – This pirate themed obstacle course is both impressive in size and decor. While it is an obvious choice for pirate themed events, you could also have it at a pirates of the Caribbean outdoor movie party, seafood cook off, or day at the pier.

Crash Course – The mother of all race car themed inflatables. This massive figure-eight race track is both challenging and great looking. A great centerpiece for any Nascar or Formula 1 party.

When booking your obstacle course rental, remember that these inflatables are typically on the larger side of things. If your event is indoors make sure you have ample room in a high ceilinged gymnasium or conference space. If outdoors, just make sure your party area is large enough and you plan for the footprint of the ride accordingly. Thanks for joining us for this weeks Rental item of the week. We look forward to setting up an obstacle course at your next Seattle company picnic location.

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Encourage Healthy Living! Check out YMCA’s Healthy Kid’s Day

Kid Preparing a bunch of healthy food for immediate consumption.The YMCA is an incredible non-profit that has been serving communities for a very long time.  A few years ago they rebranded their organization with the motto “For youth development, For healthy living, For social responsibility”.  They stay true their motto by hosting events such as Healthy Kid’s Day.  Their event page still needs to be updated for 2014, but we decided to go ahead and give you the scoop a little early. This year’s Healthy Kids Day is being held on Saturday, April 26, 2014 form 10am to 1pm. The event is free and open to the public, and does not require a YMCA membership to participate. YMCAs from all over the greater Seattle area participate in this event in a number of different ways.

In addition to YMCA hosted activities they bring in members of the community that support their healthy living mission. Meredith Matthews YMCA typically has horse mounted Police officers, Jamba Juice, and a giant obstacle course for the kids to play in. In past years the West Seattle YMCA sports inflatable rides, a dunk tank, and a even a giant climbing wall! No matter the specific activities, every YMCA promises a fun, active, safe, education event to families in Seattle. Our company helps to support this event by providing ‘in-kind’ donations that substantially decrease the cost of the event rentals for the YMCA. We believe that these types of events help support community health, which aligns with our own goals for event production and fun. See you on April 26th!

Do you have an upcoming public event that you would like help promoting? Email us at [email protected] with as much information as possible pertaining to your event and all related activities. We would be delighted to inform the masses regardless of whether we are helping to host your event.

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Wacky Whirligig Indoor April Fun!

Kids have a blast at this indoor inflatable bouncy house event.

Seattle is not know for it’s sunny Spring weather, and the phrase “April Showers brings May Flowers” couldn’t be more true for the beautiful Northwest.  Fortunately for those with cabin fever, several industries have adapted to the notorious rain by bringing their entertainment into the dry safety of the indoors.  Whirligig is one particularly great multi-week event hosted by the Seattle Center.   It starts a month from now, on Friday April 4th, 2014 and runs through Sunday April 20th. This annual event has been hosted by the Seattle Center for more than a decade. The event is hosted from 11am to 6pm and prices are extremely reasonable, $7.50 for an unlimited ride pass. There is a ticketing option as well, but if you plan on staying more than 20 minutes, your best bet is the pass. This well priced activity grants you access to 11 inflatable rides including inflatable slides, bounce houses, combo rides, and obstacle courses.  There is also a free Thursday option that allows unlimited use of the rides at no cost to participants, though be prepared to wait in lines.

In addition to the bounce house entertainment, there are a number of other close by paid and free activities. For free activities, there is typically an art station for children, and periodic entertainment on the main armory stage. The entertainment can range from school choirs, dance troops, magicians, and more. There a number of other exciting activities on the Seattle Center campus.  The Seattle Children’s Theatre is a great option for watching great renditions of classic plays and books. The Seattle Children’s Museum is located downstairs from Whirligig and in past years has offered a $1 discount to those that have purchased the Whirligig all day pass. The Pacific Science Center is located a short walk away from Whirligig and has both consistent and rotating exhibits on their large campus. There is an IMAX theatre as well that typically play stunning exploratory documentaries (as well as great theatrical movies) that are best viewed in this mind-blowing theatre.

The Whirligig Event is located on the main floor (Floor 2) of the Armory and is also the location of a newly remodeled Food Court. There are tons of great food options to choose from including my personal favorite, Skillet Street Food (try the Fried Chicken Sammy). There are also caricaturists, balloonists, and face painters around, with prices starting at $1. Make sure you check out the Whirligig Information Page prior to heading downtown. All this great fun will probably cause you start thinking about renting a bounce house this coming summer. Make sure you remember who brought you all the great Whirligig Fun!

Do you have an upcoming public event that you would like help promoting? Email us at [email protected] with as much information as possible pertaining to your event and all related activities. We would be delighted to inform the masses regardless of whether we are helping to host your event.

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Seattle Halloween Bounce House Parties

 Halloween Party KidsIf you are hosting a Halloween party in the greater Seattle area, consider some of the bouncy house and other party rentals listed below for your event. If you are looking for Harvest Festival Ideas, make sure you check out our other post. Before planning a Halloween party in Seattle, take a minute to recall the October weather conditions in the Northwest. It is likely to be raining and very brisk  It’s not uncommon to see kids adorned with coats over their costumes, or candy-retrieving umbrellas plodding down the street going house to house.  Some of the suggestions that we have provided are weather appropriate, but consider hosting most of your party indoors, or renting a tent to keep participants dry. No need to scare you anymore with the weather, here are our fright-tastic Halloween bounce house and entertainment suggestions.

Halloween Modular-Line Bounce Houses

Our Modular line of inflatables include Halloween Bounce Houses and many other themes.  We have a couple of Halloween panels that can be added to an obstacle course, inflatable slide, or bounce house. Keep in mind that these panels are limited and go fast, so if you want a Halloween inflatable it is best to call and book early. If we are out of Halloween panels, I’m sure your guests will forgive you for having a generic bounce house!

Mechanical Bull – Fright Style

Nothing gets a party going better than a mechanical bull rental. Guests of all ages will try their skills at taming the wild beast. See if you can have your rental company deliver the bull early so you can decorate it with various Halloween garb. If you are really lucky, a vendor in your area may have a Zombie Mechanical Bull that you can rent. These amazing mechanical bull attachments are sure to be the talk of the party.  If you want maximum participation on the mechanical bull, make sure you (responsibly) serve alcohol to the adults. With lowered inhibitions, you are likely to get everyone there to give it a shot. Alternatively, hold a contest with a decent prize to create additional participation incentive.

Carnival Style Halloween

If you are going for a tamer event that appeals to kids, check out our unique line of carnival game rentals.  With Carnival games you can add dozens of activities to your event at a relatively low cost.  Incorporate prizes or tickets redeemable for prizes to get kids really involved in your games. Most of the games can be altered to make them more difficult for adults, meaning your rental can go a long way in making lots of guests happy. 

There are only three weeks remaining until Halloween! It is always important to plan events ahead of time to make sure your vendors have the availability to do your party. Feel free to leave a comment below with any questions or other Halloween event ideas!

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October Harvest Festivals: Know the Basics

10857083_mlOctober is one of the best times throw an awesome party for your church, school, community, or family.  The sun is still out some days, and depending on where you live, it can still be warm enough for outdoor fun if you bundle up!  At Bouncer Rental Northwest we love putting on harvest festivals for our clients because of the opportunity to bring in unique activities and enjoy a few more big parties before Christmas time.  The key to hosting such a great harvest festival is to remember that it isn’t a summer party. Water activities are out, unique fall-themed games are in. Try incorporating one of these games into this years Harvest Festival.

Hay Bale Maze

Hay bale mazes can be a lot of work to create, but are a blast to navigate with friends and create an incredible experience for younger kids. Start by planning a rough draft of your maze on paper so you know how many hay bales you are going to need. Remember that you will need to stack them at least four bales high for adults to fully enjoy the maze. You can pick up hay bales at a local farm supply store.  Depending on the store, some supply places will let you ‘borrow’ the hale bales for a small fee or even free if you return them dry and in one piece.  Before you go pick up hay bales you are going to need a large truck, several volunteers, gloves, and a tarp.  Hay bales can give nasty splinters and make quite the mess, consider gloves and a trap a necessary precaution to protect your health and well-being.  Once you’ve gathered all of your hay bales, you can start building your maze! Increase your participants maze immersion by including decorations such as pumpkins and scarecrows. Tip: If you want to save on time and resources, build the maze just for smaller kids. The walls can be half height and will cut your hay needs in half!

Seasonal Spin Art

One of the best ways to keep people coming back to your annual event is to send them home with a memory.  Spin art is not only a fun craft for kids, it also lets them take home a piece of the Harvest Festival. Start by renting a spin art machine or creating your own. To make your activity more fall-oriented, restrict the spin art colors to black, red, orange, yellow, and brown.  Create a turkey stencil that you can tape down to the top of your spin art cards or frisbees.  When the kids are done blasting their card with paint, remove the stencil and let the artwork dry. You will be left with a beautiful fall colored turkey that the kids can take home with them! Tip: When it comes to spin art paint, less is more.

Competitive Bobbing for Apples – With a Twist

Classic games like bobbing for apples help create event nostalgia.  Unfortunately, in our opinion, dunking your head in water to obtain dirty fruit with your mouth leaves something to be desired. Change up a classic by incorporating another game such as Pictionary.  Create two teams and have two apple bobbing stations. If you have teams with ten players, pick ten words to write on the apples. Write each word on two apples with sharpie and divide the apples into their bobbing stations.  This game should be played as a relay race, with each team racing to finish all ten apples. Players must first fish an apple out of the bobbing station with their mouth, and then immediately go to a white board to draw their teams word.  The first team to complete all of their apple words wins the game!

Hay Find

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For the focused kid, hay finds can create hours of fun.

Hay finds are a good way to keep some kids occupied for hours. Some children are so enthralled with discovering hidden treasure and toys that they will spend a great deal of time picking through hay to ensure they have gotten every last prize.  Before starting your hay find you will need hay and a variety of prizes. If you want to make cleanup easy on yourself, make sure you have a tarp and a broom as well.  By having the hay find on a tarp, cleanup is as easy as sweeping any escaped debris back onto the tarp and wrapping up all of the hay in the tarp for easy removal and disposal.  Small toys and prizes are always fun to put in the hay, but we recommend you also incorporate a few rolls of quarters, dimes, and nickels. The money is a lot more difficult to find in the hay, and children love collecting loose change.  If you have a lot of kids at your party, consider creating two hay finds; one for children ages 3-6 and one for kids 7+.  By separating the kids, you will be giving the younger kids a chance to actually enjoy the activity without getting trampled.

Obstacle Course Relays

Create a fun team obstacle course relay and give out awards for the fastest, silliest, and most graceful teams. Rent an obstacle course from a local inflatable company, then add things to the beginning and end of it to make it longer. Include things like pumpkin hurdles, leaf pile wading, mud pits, and a grass dash to give your course some substance. We suggest teams of three for the relays, and homemade ribbons or ‘paper plate awards‘.  You can even start your night be having people create custom paper plate awards to give out after the races. Whatever you decide to do, involve the group and have a blast racing.

Harvest Train Ride

If your budget allows for it, consider renting a train and decorating it to match your event. Put hay on the floors of the car, zip tie corn stalks to the sides, attach scarecrows, put small pumpkins in the seats with the passengers, and attach battery powered orange LED lights.  Have your train navigate around and through your event. Spice things up by handing out ‘train snacks’ such as gingerbread cookies or flavored roasted pumpkin seeds. Create custom train boarding station with fall decorations, railroad crossing signs, and more hay bales. WIth the addition of a train your event will become an annual hit that people will make a point of visiting just to “Ride the Harvest Train!”

Whatever you decide to do for your upcoming harvest festival, make sure you create safe, fun, entertaining memories for your guests!

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