Last year we acquired a trampoline via Freecycle. I grudgingly accepted. It turned out to be a pretty good decision, as the twins have gotten a lot of mileage out of it. I still need to remind them of some basic safety issues, but on the whole they've been remarkably responsible with it. I laid down the law early on that a parent needed to supervise their activities at all times, and to their credit they've abided (at least as far as I know).
But I've always been a little uneasy about having it. I'm never quite sure how well their friends will handle the trampoline, even if an adult is supervising. And our insurance policy won't cover any trampoline-related accidents. We've had a few close calls, but no major accidents yet (I think the closest was when Mike did a flip and landed half on and half off the thing!).
We've been talking for ages about getting a jungle gym, or playhouse, of some sort, to replace the trampoline. Tom bought me a couple of do-it-yourself books for treehouses, forts, and similar structures. Some of the designs are really cool. Alas, I'm too chicken to go buy the materials and try to build something like that myself. Carina and I had eyeballed a few pre-built models from various places, but the prices were always astronomical for even the entry-level design.
Today, after a tip from Nikki, we finally purchased a playhouse kit. It's gargantuan -- far bigger than anything I had in mind -- but the price was right. I consider it minor miracle that we were able to fit the boxes into the van. Mike was kind enough to come over to help me unload the thing. He even stuck around to help get the construction started. After about 45 minutes of effort, we successfully completed the first four steps of the assembly instructions. I fear I may have bit off more than I can chew -- especially since Carina won't be able to help with the assembly until her foot heals more fully.
I started to disassemble the trampoline, which made me very happy. I feel much more comfortable about the kids having their friends over to play in the playhouse than I ever did about the trampoline. Sure, someone's probably going to get hurt -- that's inevitable with kids -- but the kinds of injuries are likely to be more superficial, which goes a long way toward my peace of mind.
Speaking of the trampoline -- anyone want it? We didn't pay for it, so we're happy to give it to someone else. Pick up only, please.