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10 of the best kids' teepees and play tents

Tested by parents and journalists, we've identified the best little (and not so little) tents on the market for kids to create their own imaginary world

A collage of six different kids' teepees and play tents
Published: May 13, 2022 at 6:30 pm

Play tents and teepees offer children somewhere enclosed, semi-private and magical where they can chill out, hide away and devise all sorts of imaginary adventures. They are also a more flexible play solution than a large playhouse, as they can be placed in any room of the house or in the garden, and can be taken down and put away when the play is over – perfect if space is at a premium in your home.

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Having a play tent is more than just fun for a child, it is also really beneficial to their development, as Ruth Lue-Quee, educational consultant and founder of My Mummy Teacher says. “It is a space that a child can have ownership of and feel safe in – where they can develop their independence and create their own adventures, " she explains.

"A play tent is a perfect place for our child to engage in role play, as their den can be anything they want it to be! This helps develop their social skills and empathetic skills by taking on the role of someone else.

"Den spaces are also the perfect safe place for a child to retreat to when they need some calming moments, to curl up with a book or to self-regulate."

After trying out lots of products, and listening to masses of feedback from our child testers, we’ve found the best little (and not so little) tents for your child to hole up in, some in neutral designs and others aimed at a particular interest. Some are simple pop-up play tents requiring little to no effort to set up, while others need a little pre-construction with a few simple poles. Some designs even include extras like bunting or a tunnel.

The play tents and teepees we've selected are designed and made for indoor fun – although a few of them can also be used outside in good weather.

If you’re looking for an outdoor set-up, check out our list of best playhouses for kids – and maybe have a peek, too, at our list of best mud kitchens, best water play tables, best paddling pools and best climbing frames.

Best play tents and teepees at a glance

  • Best animal theme: Habitat Sienna Jungle Play Tent, £30
  • Best budget buy: Ikea Cirkustält Children’s Tent, £15
  • Best fairy theme: Spirit of Air Kids Kingdom Pop Up Fairy Play Tent, £26.99
  • Best personalised tent: Fire engine play tent, £150
  • Best for outdoor adventures: The Original Den Kit, £45
  • Best for bedrooms: Djeco Indoor Play Tent, £59.50
  • Best for active play: Elephant play tent with tunnel, £24.95
  • Best luxury buy: Kids Teepee Set Little Queen - £132
  • Best for muted colours: Great Little Trading Company teepee, £53.60
  • Best for sun protection: Cabana Kids Lillie Tent, £139

What to look for when choosing a play tent or teepee?

How big is it? – Knowing the size of the tent or teepee will be crucial when it comes to selecting the one which is right for you. Think about the area it will take up and how high it is. If you're planning to keep it up most of the time, consider whether you have the space. Also consider how small it packs down when it isn’t in use as you'll need somewhere to store it.

Is it easy to put up? – One of the big advantages of a play tent or teepee is that you can put them up and take them down, so they don't have to be a permanent fixture. Look at how they are put together and how much effort is needed. Some are pop-up tents, which will spring up in seconds and fold down flat, while others will need to be attached to poles.

Does it have a theme? – Some play tents come in specific shapes like vehicles or types of buildings, while others are designed to fit a certain theme. Consider your child's interests and whether they will want a tent decorated with something they love or something more neutral where they can use their imagination to make their den into anything they want.

Does it have a base? – Some tents come with fitted groundsheets, while others will just go straight onto the floor or ground. If there is no base, you might want to consider getting a padded mat to go in it to make it more comfortable to play in.

Is it weatherproof? – If you are planning to use the play tent or teepee outside, look at whether the material has any weatherproof coatings. Some will be waterproof enough to survive a shower, while others will need to be quickly whisked inside if the weather turns. There are also play tents with UV protective coatings, offering some protection on sunny days.

Here's our pick of the best play tents and teepees

1. Habitat Sienna Jungle Play Tent, £30

– Best animal theme

habitat Sienna jungle play tent with child tester

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for ages: 3 to 6 | Size: 105cm diameter x H135cm | Material: Fabric with poles | Weatherproof: No | Base included: Yes | Accessories: None

This jungle-themed tent has a design featuring wild animals and large leaves, with a stylish monochrome spotty roof. There are little cut-out windows to peek out of and a fabric doorway which rolls up and down – super-easy for even little kids to do themselves. It is spacious with enough room for more than 1 child to play inside, making it a good choice for siblings and playdates.

It's lightweight (easy to manoeuvre but also easy to tip over) and, after you've worked it out the first time, simple to put up and take down. It also packs away into a small bag for storage. Vidhi, who tested this tent with her daughter Anouska (pictured above), said, "It's great as it's absolutely huge but also folds into a little bag so we can store it or take it away with us. It is a bit of a learning curve setting up and folding away but once you know what to do, it's easy. It should last for many years hopefully as the material is pretty decent quality, too."

Pros: Striking design, windows, spacious, folds down small, storage bag included
Cons: Takes some practice to assemble/put away, not weatherproof, can tip over if not weighted inside

Available at: Argos and Habitat

2. Ikea Cirkustält Children’s Tent, £15

– Best budget buy

A studio shot of Ikea's Cirkustält Children’s Tent

Age suitability: 18 months+ | Best for ages: 2 to 5 years | Size: 100cm diameter x H120cm | Material: Polyester, with plastic rods | Weatherproof: No | Base included: Yes | Accessories: None

With a bright, playful 'big top' design, this pop-up circus tent is amazing value for money. It is reasonably big, simple to put up, extremely lightweight and has a tie-back doorway (but no window) and a detachable red flag at the top.

The material is robust enough for outdoor play – although the base is not very thick and, on a windy day, you’ll need to be sure to put a few things inside the tent to weigh it down and stop it blowing away. You can collapse the poles and fold the tent flat for storage but there’s no storage bag to keep it all in so, which makes carting it around on your travels a little trickier.

Jessica, mum of our child testers for the circus tent, said it's been a big hit in her home. "Currently, it houses our ball pit," she says. "But often we take it outside in the summer, turn it on its side and it’s a rocket apparently! Occasionally, we take it down and it folds away nicely for storage ready for when it next comes out."

Pros: Colourful design with flag, pops up easily, fairly big, great value for money
Cons: No storage bag, no windows, not weatherproof, can tip over if not weighted inside

Available at: Ikea

3. Spirit of Air Kids Kingdom Pop Up Fairy Play Tent, £21.99

– Best fairy theme

Studio shot of the Spirit of Air Kids Kingdom Pop Up Fairy Play Tent

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for ages: 3 to 7 | Size: 102cm diameter x H135cm | Material: Polyester, with plastic rods | Weatherproof: Showerproof; UV-protective roof | Base included: Yes | Accessories: None

This well-made, good-sized, pop-up play fairy castle play tent won us over with its lovely, vibrant, detailed fabric decoration, including fairies (naturally), butterflies, a garland of flowers around the door and toadstools lurking magically inside. The front door has a fabric flap opening with Velcro tabs and there are 2 large mesh windows.

It's quick and easy to assemble and fold down into its carry bag, although the material is quite thin and can look creased when first unpacked. As its roof is both showerproof and UV-protective, it’s suitable for outdoor play (with some weights on a blustery day).

It's good value for money and would fit in with many popular bedroom themes. There are also versions available in Space Rocket, Command HQ and Unicorn designs, if that's more to your child's taste.

Pros: Detailed design, good value, pops up easily, spacious, windows, some weatherproofing, storage bag included
Cons: Thin material, can tip over if not weighted inside

Available at: Amazon, OnBuy and Jac in a Box

4. Kiddiewinkles Fire engine play tent, £150

– Best personalised tent

The Kiddiewinkles Fire engine play tent in a front room

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 3 to 6 | Size: L122cm x W93cm x H93cm | Material: 100% cotton, with PVC windows and a metal frame | Weatherproof: No | Base included: Yes | Accessories: None

This big play tent cuts a properly exciting dash – as it should for the price – with its oblong fire-engine shape, appliquéd wheels, embroidered hose, ladder and fire tools, and a special number plate you can have personalised with your child’s name for an extra £17.50. The attention to detail is really lovely and the fabric is a good-quality, heavyweight cotton, designed to last.

It has a nice big door on either side with PVC windows and a large, soft PVC windscreen. Unusually for a play tent, only the 'cab' area has a roof – with the rest of the engine left open. This does mean that, if you take it outdoors, you'll need to be sure it is a nice day with no chance of rain.

It takes about 10 minutes to set up (you need to put together the metal frame first) so it is more of an effort to put together than a pop-up tent. However, it is easy to store as it folds down small and comes with its own storage bag.

Pros: Amazingly detailed design, personalisation, windows, spacious, storage bag included
Cons: Pricey, not weatherproof/open roof, high cost, fair bit of assembly

Available at: Not On The High Street and The Home of Interiors

5. The Original Den Kit, £45

– Best for outdoor adventures

the original den kit

Age suitability: 6+ | Best for ages: 8 to 12 | Size: L240cm x W180cm | Material: Tarpaulin, with steel tent pegs and jute rope | Weatherproof: Waterproof and rot-resistant | Base included: Yes, as separate 180cm x120cm groundsheet | Accessories: Haversack, wooden mallet, enamelware mug, camouflage face paint, tips sheet and knots guide

This tent-in-a-kit has everything your child need to make a bivouac-style den out in 'the wild'. Perfect for older children wanting something a bit more challenging than a pop-up tent, the kit comes with rope, tent pegs, a groundsheet, a tarpaulin and a wealth of extras, including face paints and a very cute wooden mallet to hammer your pegs in with.

Both the tarpaulin and groundsheet are durable, strong, waterproof and rot resistant, and everything comes in a handy bag made from tough cotton webbing. The tent you construct is large and open at the front and back (basically a tarpaulin flung over a rope and tethered to the ground on either side).

Sarah, mum of our child tester Wilf, 6, loved how this tent sparked her son's imagination. "We had such a great time as a family creating our own little den outside," she said. "You just have to be a bit creative and make use of what you have in the garden to tie the tent to – whether it’s a tree or a climbing frame or a fence!" The handy sheet detailing den set-up ideas and how-to guides for various knots was a very welcome addition, too.

Pros: Encourages creative thinking, spacious, weatherproof, storage bag, great extras
Cons: Only suitable for older children, requires outside setting, needs skill to build, no windows/door

Available at: Not on the High Street, Kidly and The Den Kit Company

6. Djeco Multicoloured Indoor Play Tent, £59.50

– Best for bedrooms

Djeco Multicoloured Indoor Play Tent

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for ages: 3 to 6 | Size: 106cm diameter x H130cm| Material: Non-woven fabric, with plastic rods | Weatherproof: No | Base included: Yes | Accessories: None

This good-quality-fabric play tent has a built-in yellow base, a nice, wide roll-up door opening and 2 porthole-style windows – excellent peek-a-boo opportunities here.

We really like the colourful harlequin patterns on the fabric – and how much light there is inside the tent. The fabric is good-quality and the 5 rods (round play tents like this one often only have 4 rods) do give the whole tent some extra sturdiness, although perhaps the base is a little thin.

Inside it’s surprisingly spacious, with Sarah, mum to our child tester Edie, 3 (pictured above). adding, "I was so impressed with how roomy the tent was, considering its small fold-down size. My daughter had plenty of room to set up a tea party for her dolls inside, and her 5-year-old brother fitted in with her too, without it being a squeeze."

This looks stylish enough to have as a feature in a child’s playroom or bedroom and like the Ikea tent on our list, it has a jaunty circus feel to it. But it is really only suitable for indoor use. Also available in an Oriental pattern.

Pros: Colourful design, good-quality fabric, spacious, sturdy frame, windows
Cons: Pricey, thin base, not weatherproof, no storage bag, takes a little while to assemble

Available from: JoJo Maman Bebe, Crafts 4 Kids, Scout & Co and Bunny Hop

7. Elephant Play Tents Pipeline Crawling Tunnel Pop-up House, £24.95

– Best for active play

A studio shot of the Elephant Play Tents Pipeline Crawling Tunnel Pop-up House

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for ages: 3 to 4 | Size: 94cm diameter x H101cm (tent); 48cm diameter x L160cm (tunnel) | Material: Nylon, with spring steel rods | Weatherproof: No | Base included: Yes | Accessories: None

We absolutely love the design idea of this play tent/tunnel combo, with the elephant's trunk acting as a tunnel for your child to crawl through to get inside the attached pop-up tent. And the friendly elephant face, with big flappy ears attached, give it a proper wow factor.

The tent itself is not particularly big and, though it's sold as being suitable for outdoor play, the fabric seems a little thin. But we do really like the open and close 'nostril' flap entrance to the trunk tunnel. The tunnel and tent do detach for separate play and they can both be folded down – although we struggled a bit to fit them neatly into the carry bag provided.

Pros: Fun design, tunnel feature, easy to assemble, good value, storage bag
Cons: Quite small, thin material, no windows, not weatherproof, tricky to fold down

Available from: Amazon and All Kinda Things

8. Kids Favorites Little Queen Teepee Set, £132

– Best luxury buy

a collage showing a girl inside a pink play tent next to a picture of the play tent shot in a studio

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for ages: 3 to 8 | Size: L110cm x W160cm x H140cm | Material: Cotton canvas, with pine rods | Base included: Yes, padded | Weatherproof: No | Accessories: Pillows, toy basket, bunting, dream catcher, teepee stabiliser

If you are looking for really special teepee with lots of accessories, and you're happy to pay top dollar, this lovely handmade tent should fit the bill. It has a decorative window and in-built pocket and is available in lots of different designs.

The cotton canvas material is strong and built to last, the rectangular base is padded and the tent itself is pretty spacious. It comes with a lot of matching extras, including a very smart case to store it in when it's not in use (you can select an option without quite so many accessories for £102). It is a little tricky to assemble.

Sarah, mum of our child tester Annabelle, 7 (pictured above), said, "I really love the padded floor mat and matching cushions and bunting. It is more expensive than some but is fab quality and the poles are really solid. It's a really good size, even for older children, I think."

You can buy just the teepee itself for £94 but it'll come without a base or accessories.

Pros: Handmade, amazing accessories, spacious, windows, storage case
Cons: Very pricey, a little tricky to assemble, not weatherproof

Available at: Kids Favorites

9. Great Little Trading Company Play Teepee, £53.60

– Best for muted colours

A studio shot of the Great Little Trading Company Play Teepee in grey stardust

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for ages: 3 to 6 years | Size: L110cm x W110cm x H155cm | Material: Cotton canvas, with plastic-coated metal rods | Weatherproof: No | Base included: Yes, detachable | Accessories: None

This roomy, traditional-style teepee has comes in 4 beautifully muted designs, including Woodland Walk pictured above, and would fit in well in homes with a modern, neutral colour scheme.

It has a removable and washable square base, strong cotton canvas walls and plastic-coated metal poles. It is pretty simple to put up and take down, although if you want the storage bag to keep it in, you will have to pay an extra £20.

Nathalie, mum of our child tester Martha, 4, said her daughter absolutely loves the teepee. "It's easy to put up and take down, and is made of good quality cotton," she added. "We have it in our living room as it is nice enough to have out all the time – and it's great for toy storage when we haven't got time to tidy up!"

Pros: Neutral colours, very spacious, windows, simple assembly
Cons: Pricey, not weatherproof, no storage bag, muted design might not appeal to your child

Available at: Great Little Trading Company

10. Cabana Kids Lillie Tent, £139

– Best for sun protection

Cabana Kids Lillie tent

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for ages: 3 to 6 | Size: L125cm x W105cm x H110cm| Material: Cotton canvas with wooden poles | Weatherproof: 50+UPF | Base: No | Accessories: None

This traditional-shaped canvas tent is made from cotton that's been treated to offers 50+ UPF protection, so it's great for use both indoors and outdoors on a sunny day. It comes in 5 plain-colour choices, including Rose (pictured above) and the quality of the fabric is impressive.

There's a sweet, 9-paned window on 1 side, with a little blind, and the door-entry flaps can be tied back but there is no base included, so you will have to add your own if you don’t want your child sitting on the ground or floor as they play. We found a picnic blanket did the trick.

It's relatively simple to put up and comes with a matching storage bag to keep it in when it isn't in use. However, it's still quite long and bulky when folded down, so you'll need somewhere big enough to store it.

Pros: In-built UV protection, high-quality fabric, spacious, window, storage
Cons: Very pricey, no base, only 1 window, tent is quite big even when folded down for storage

Available at: Anthropologie, Kidly, Scandiborn, Cabana Kids and Sorens House

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How we tested

When choosing and testing these play tents and teepees, we considered size, price, ease of assembly, quality of materials, included accessories, weatherproofing, design and play value.

Out 10 of the Best lists are compiled by qualified and experienced parenting journalists. They rely on a number of sources, including our testing during the MadeForMums awards and feedback from our home testing panel and Top Testers Club.

Each year, 1000s of products are put through their paces by hundreds of parents across the country on behalf of MadeForMums, to ensure we’re bringing you honest and true reviews and recommendations.

Our list is not an ordered ranking from 1-10, but instead a carefully selected group of tried-and-tested products, each of which we believe is best for a different situation or requirement. We don’t just tell you what is best, we aim to help you discover what is best for your family.

About the author

Catherine Ball is a parenting journalist and mum of four girls aged between 4 and 13. She’s written for national newspapers and magazines as well as writing parenting features and reviews for MadeforMums, Mother and Baby, the Evening Standard and Parents.com.

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