Can kids teach themselves how to do a back flip on the trampoline by watching a video on Instagram or YouTube? How about a double or triple back flip? As a former gymnast and gymnastics coach, I would have said no, until my 10-year-old son did just that. He’s part of a growing movement called Gtramp, short for “garden trampoline,”led by self-taught tween and teen boys and girls doing extreme tricks on backyard trampolines.
With its own lingo and subculture, Gtramp brings the unstructured, freestyle energy of skateboarding to the backyard trampoline. The athletes (“flippers”) who participate generally reject traditional gymnastics or competitive trampoline and tumbling. Instead, they come together on Instagram (search #Gtramp) to encourage each other, talk about safety, and share their latest learns via artistic videos they make. Some get brand sponsorships from backyard trampoline companies like AlleyOOP, SkyBound USA, or Acon and travel to events all over the country, and even Europe. In October, my son and I went to a flipping event on Venice Beach, where he was able to connect in person with Gtramp friends he’s made via social media.
Gtramp is high flying and fun to watch, but not for the faint of heart. Watching my kid prep a quadruple back on our AlleyOOP trampoline is still terrifying.
Gtramp-friendly trampoline parks
My son and I have discovered that some parks are more welcoming to Gtrampers than others. At Adrenaline in Mason, staff let Gtrampers do more difficult tricks once they see
the athlete has air awareness and is being safe. The closest trampoline park that truly caters to Gtrampers is Defy in Indianapolis. We’ve also had luck at the Sunday afternoon open gym at Ohio Sports Academy in Springboro.
Five Apps for Play Outside
Fun educational apps that will nudge your kids outdoors. —Kimberly Kennedy
Star Walk 2 (ages 4 and up): Point your mobile device skyward and the display labels objects: planets, stars, comets, etc. Click the objects for info. This app also offers calendar alerts for space events.
Audubon Bird Guide (ages 4 and up): Spot a bird, then snap a photo or list attributes for identification. Observe and report birds near you. Includes range maps and audio of bird calls.
Nature Passport (ages 7–10): Missions encourage exploration, play, and learning through science, art, and math games and activities. Record and share observations.
Plum’s Creaturizer (ages 6–9): Create imaginative creatures from a clipart gallery; respond to questions about habits and habitat; then photograph it in an outdoor setting.
Picturethis: Snap a photo of a tree, plant, or flower; the app identifies the plant and provides info. Share and discover new local plants to hunt for.