Best kids’ play tent

Playroom Furniture & Storage

Play tents for kids come in a variety of themes and sizes for kids who want to camp outdoors, play inside, socialize with friends or have a quiet place to relax.

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Which kids’ play tents are best?

Kids’ play tents are a great gift idea for those who like to spend time alone or with a couple of close friends in a secret place. Play tents for kids vary in size, structure and materials, but most are reliable and safe for indoor and outdoor use. They’re usually big enough for at least one or two kids to go inside and play, read or even sleep. Check out the Pacific Play Tents Super Duper 4-Kid Play Tent II for a tent that’s suitable for outdoor camping as well as indoor use

What to know before you buy a kids’ play tent

Age range

Play tents are made for kids of all ages. Some kids’ play tents are more complex or larger than others, making them better for slightly older kids. Others are designed with bright colors or themes that appeal to younger children. As long as it’s big enough for kids to move around in and lets them have their own space, most play tents are fine for most ages. When in doubt, check the manufacturer’s description of the play tent for an intended age range.

Benefits

There are several benefits to getting a play tent for kids. For one thing, play tents are an excellent way to improve children’s creativity through imaginative play. They’re also good for younger kids who are still learning about their environment and building their motor skills and general hand-eye coordination.

A side benefit of kids’ play tents is that they offer a safe space for children to play and do other things like reading, doing puzzles or playing with toys. This can help kids build healthy associations between different activities.

For some hyperactive kids, a play tent can also serve as a quiet, calm space for them to go to unwind or calm down. Children who are easily overstimulated may also benefit from having a space like this that can block out the outside world or triggers in their environment.

Assembly and maintenance

Most play tents are fairly easy to assemble. Some even come with a video or illustrated guide that indicates where each piece goes and how to put everything together. Larger kids’ play tents come with sturdy poles that keep them upright, even in windy conditions.

As for cleaning and general maintenance, there are several ways to keep a play tent in good shape. Oftentimes, all that’s needed is a light vacuum to remove any debris like crumbs or dust and a quick wipe down with a damp cloth. Some play tents can be turned inside out, which makes it easy to shake them out.

If you want to fully sanitize the play tent, something that’s recommended every few days or so, use a mild liquid soap and warm water solution to clean it. Let it air dry fully before putting anything back inside or letting kids play in it.

What to look for in a quality kids’ play tent

Materials

The materials used in a kids’ play tent influence its durability, texture, design and overall theme. Polyester is one of the most common options since it’s durable, water-resistant and easy to clean. Many play tents also have mesh to allow for additional airflow inside the tent.

Some play tents use cotton canvas in their construction. This material is heavy-duty and unlikely to tear or get damaged when exposed to the elements. Indoor play tents may use lighter fabrics instead.

Many outdoor play tents include plastic, fiberglass or steel rods to keep them upright. These tents work well for kids who want to camp or play in their backyard, but they may not be as safe for younger children.

Size

Most manufacturers mention in the description how many children can fit inside the play tent. Typically, play tents are either categorized this way or by size — small, medium or large. When in doubt, go with a larger size since you can always fill it with extra blankets, sleeping bags, pillows or small nightstands. For indoor use, make sure there’s enough floor space for the play tent to fit.

Themes

From rocket ships to royal castles, there are plenty of themes to choose from when picking out a play tent for a child. Some play tents closely resemble conventional camping tents, while others may look more like a traditional teepee or an upright carnival tent.

Other features

Like regular-sized tents, many kids’ play tents have at least one full zipper they can use to open and close the front flap. Some may have partial side zippers that let in more light or air. Besides zippers, kids’ play tents may also have small pockets for storing the poles or small items.

How much you can expect to spend on a kids’ play tent

Most play tents cost $20-$30. Larger or themed play tents cost around $80, on average.

Kids’ play tent FAQ

Is it necessary to supervise a child in a play tent?

A. This depends on the child’s age and how responsible they are. Toddlers, for instance, should have adult supervision when playing with any type of toy or when inside a play tent. Young kids may also have trouble using the zipper or getting out of the play tent if it collapses on them. For older children, you probably won’t need to watch them while they’re in the tent.

Are play tents padded at the base?

A. Not usually. If you want more padding, put a soft mat or a few large blankets inside the tent.

What’s the best kids’ play tent to buy?

Top kids’ play tent

Pacific Play Tents Super Duper 4-Kid Play Tent II

Pacific Play Tents Super Duper 4-Kid Play Tent II

What you need to know: This 58 by 58-inch polyester tent is durable enough to handle rough play and is reliable enough for backyard camping.

What you’ll love: The tent is made from 70 denier polyester and has double stitching at the seams for extra durability. It comes with strong poles that are safety-coated to eliminate splintering and a carrying bag.

What you should consider: It’s best for outdoor use.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Wayfair

Top kids’ play tent for the money

Playz 10-Piece Boys & Girls Dress Up Castle Play Tent Bundle

Playz 10-Piece Boys & Girls Dress Up Castle Play Tent Bundle

What you need to know: Included in this bundle are two tents and several fun props, making it a great gift for social or creative kids.

What you’ll love: There are a variety of props for kids who like to play pretend and dress up as superheroes or princesses. The tents come with a tunnel that connects them and allows for more interactive play. Lightweight and easily portable, this play tent is safe and durable enough for young kids.

What you should consider: Assembly is a little tricky.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

The Original AirFort

The Original AirFort

What you need to know: This futuristic-looking play tent takes the original concept and turns it on its head.

What you’ll love: Made with sturdy materials, it’s easy to set up and take down this inflatable fort in minutes. When fully inflated, it’s just over 6 feet in diameter and around 4 feet tall. It also has viewing windows for kids to look through.

What you should consider: The box fan that inflates the tent is sold separately.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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