Keeping children busy & happy & fit

About 11 or 12 years ago I bought a 14 foot trampoline, the single best 'toy' I have ever bought my children - I was advised to go for the biggest one I could afford because they wouldn't outgrow it and would continue to have a lot of fun.

I have rarely been given better advice, it was a hit from the start, gets used all year round unlike a swimming pool, and my 5 children, who now range from 21 to 12 in age, are STILL never off it - or weren't until about 3 weeks ago when the springs started pinging off, which I'd say is perfectly normal after all this time exposed to the elements in my garden.

Anyway I have been prompted to write this by looking at where I can get a new jumping mat for it & realised that I bought the original one from someone on SF. I know I'm not allowed to give advertising plugs so I shan't say who it is - but if you recognise yourself: THANK YOU!!!!

And this is where the discussion comes in - what single 'toy' has kept your racing demons busy, happy and fit over time?

Yep, ours all love the trampoline, we're on our second now, the older ones carry it over to the pool when they visit in the summer and use it to jump in from.

Our youngest (14) doesn't use it so much now, she started with asthma last summer and it seems to start an attack.

Same for us too - on every day since Christmas!

Dropping my two off 100 miles from home with a map super fit when they finally got back and no trouble for two weeks

What a great question Vero and you've certainly given me food for thought. Twerp enjoyed judo for a while but became very reluctant to go after an injury during a competition warm-up and he's been stuck in front of the bl**dy Playstation ever since. It's very boring kicking a ball around the garden by yourself as you can imagine. I'm on the computer full-time at the mo trying to scrape enough together to pay for some electricity cables to be installed and a few other things so get zero time with him, quality or otherwise. Obviously I can't afford any pool other than paddling but maybe this summer I could find a trampoline and see if that sparks any interest. It might at least get him out of the house.

Our two have more or less bu**ered their one too. In fact, being sunny today, we briefly spoke about it. Likewise, we need to do some replacements, repairs and for all we know perhaps ought to buy a new one. So, it has just enough life in it that you are welcome to come over for a bounce, but naturally not you meant for whom coffee might just bounce onto the table.

However, back to the point, it has kept them happy. Been full to breaking point when they have had parties and there are a couple of friends who arrive and head straight off to it. I have actually known one who did so when it was sub-Arctic with freezing rain pelting down. I reckon it has done more than its money's worth and would also recommend anybody who is thinking about what they need who does not yet have one to go for one of those.