I am not a bounce-house parent. Yes, I’ll happily let my little one hop to her heart’s content at a birthday party—and genuinely revel in her delight. However, bringing a giant, inflatable structure into my everyday life, in my own space? Absolutely out of the question. At least I thought so. Then I met Smol’s incredibly chic version, and everything changed. 

The mom duo who founded the brand has accomplished the unthinkable: an aesthetically pleasing bounce house that puts those obnoxious entertainment center jumpies to shame. Their range includes two styles—Rainbow, with an on-trend arched facade, and Tumble, which has a more traditional, castle-inspired shape—that come in three muted, parent-pleasing colors (pink, blue, and neutral). Fortunately, I’ve found that garish primary colors are not a requisite for fun; kids enjoy bounce houses just as much when they’re done in dusty shades of blush. Plus these are available in two convenient sizes: a 6-foot and 8-foot square, the former being compact enough that I can actually inflate it in my pint-size living room on rainy days in the time it takes my daughter to finish a snack

All you need is a flat surface and access to a power outlet, and you can use it indoors or out. Inflating it is shockingly easy and quick—just attach the house to the electric blower (included with your purchase), plug it in, hit the “on” switch, and watch it come to life in seconds. Frankly, I was a little intimidated to put mine together when it first arrived, imagining a complicated user manual and cumbersome setup, but now I do it on a whim regularly.   

I was on the phone with a friend the first time I blew it up. Within five minutes of inflation, I invited her and her son over to join in the fun—this product is just something you want to share with as many people as possible. But it’s also like a unicorn. Whether you’re texting or talking, describing a bounce house as chic elicits outbursts of shock and disbelief—every single parent I’ve mentioned it to immediately demands visual proof. So I’ve carried it in its custom storage bag to most playdates since then, usually after I’ve asked the host if that would be okay (no one has declined yet). 

The ease of setup/breakdown/general use compounded by the joy it evokes in kids and parents alike has turned this seemingly cumbersome toy into an item I happily tote around. (Disclaimer: I have a car. Public transportation riders might think twice before schlepping it to a friend’s place, although it’s doable.)

When taking into account their weight capacity (80 pounds for the small, 180 for the large), Smol’s structures are on the pricey side (they start at $379). But for me, they’re more than worth it, especially after you consider the two small miracles this brand has pulled off: creating an actually pretty bounce house and transforming me into a proud bounce-house parent. That’s the power of good design.

Load more...