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There’s nothing as magical for a child as a secret hideaway place in their own house: somewhere cosy to retreat, play make-believe games or look at their favourite story books.
And while, of course, a few blankets thrown over chairs and some cushions on the floor are always a good makeshift play tent option, there are some amazing play tents you can buy – many of them decorated in a special theme (fire engine play tent, anyone?) or incorporating fun added extras, such as lights and ball drops. With our child testers, we’ve been hard at play, sorting out the very best of the play tent bunch.
Here’s our pick of the best play tents for children…
What it is: A plain canvas wigwam-style tent with a 140cm x 120cm base, designed for your child to decorate themselves. Comes with canvas rope, 5 wooden poles and set-up instructions.
Why we love it: It’s a great-quality tent that’s spacious inside and easy to set up. And, if you’ve a child with an arty-crafty bent, there’s loads of fun to be had finding paints, ribbons, felt, pom poms and all sorts to customise it just the way they want.
Available from: Hobbycraft
What it is: A 134cm x 110cm x 110cm play tent with a metal frame, hand-embroidered space designs on our sides and porthole windows. Included in the price is the option to have your child’s name and/or a phrase of your choice embroidered on the space-station door at the front. Comes with a storage bag.
Why we love it: It’s a big-budget buy but it’s just beautiful (it’s won a Junior Design Award) and the fabric is a lovely, heavyweight cotton. It takes about 10 minutes to assemble and, with the metal frame, is very sturdy. The quilted floor mat and toy storage basket shown in our picture cost extra but are equally beautiful.
Available from: Kiddiewinkles and Amazon
What it is: A 101cm x 101cm x 142cm carnival-style tent that comes complete with peephole windows, detachable animal shapes, balloons and a drum.
Why we love it: With its bright colours and cosy size, it’s a good choice for a toddler or preschooler. The peepholes were a particular hit with our little testers.
Available from: Wayfair.com
What it is: A 100% cotton canvas teepee with a 143cm x 113cm base, a scalloped edge entrance, 5 wooden poles and a matching travel bag. Also comes in Grey.
Why we love it: This is one for those who like the neutral, minimalist look – and are after long-lasting, high-quality play tent. It can fit a matching play mat: the one in our picture is £29.95 and a lovely, soft quilted cotton.
Available from: The Little Green Sheep
What it is: A 89cm x 89cm x 128cm polyester castle-themed tent, with windows and a roll-up door. Comes with assembly instructions and a storage bag.
Why we love it: It’s a great value and good fun smaller-size play tent. Do note that, although assembly is indeed on the quick sit but it’s ‘pop up’ as some write-ups have it, as it needs 4 poles adding to give it proper structure.
Available from: Amazon
What it is: A fabric tent with a 106cm x 130 cm base, a roll up door and 2 round windows. Comes with 5 inner poles for added stability.
Why we love it: We think this is one of the coolest-looking tents for kids out there. We love the retro colours and triangles – and it’s a good size, too.
Available from: Crafts 4 Kids
What it is: A 100cm x 130cm polyester/nylon space-themed with curtain-style doors, windows and 3 mesh windows in its roof. Comes 4 rods and a carry bag.
Why we love it: It’s well priced and our testers LOVED the roof windows. We like how the poles are secured into special pockets and tied into the tent.
Available from: Amazon
What it is: A 92.5cm x 92.5cm x 122cm fire-engine play tent with appliquéd wheels, windows and windscreen, and loads of embroidered details, including hose, ladder and fire tools. The price includes personalisation with your child’s name.
Why we love it: It’s a pricey play tent but it’s a fire truck, too. And we’ve seen our child testers eyes light up at the sight. Woo hoo! Get those sirens going…
Available from: Not On The High Street
What it is: A soft canvas tent with a 100cm x 135cm base and wooden poles provide. Comes with wadded base mat that has non-slip backing and a matching fabric carry bag. Choose from many other designs/colours including Diva (pink and leopard print) and Sailor (blue and red boat theme).
Why we love it: It’s a really lovely, high-quality tent that’s won several awards for design and play value. You can buy it on an instalment plan if you’re pushed to find the money in one go – and they even do smaller tents for pets (yep, you read that right).
Available from: My Wee Teepee
Age: From birth
What it is: An 38cm x 33cm x 95cm plastic sensory dome that comes with 2 rainmakers, a ball drop with 4 balls, spinning cogs and a bead maze. The dome includes a playmat, 4 hanging toys, soft glowing lights and soothing sounds. Requires 6 x AA batteries.
Why we love it: For all its colourful bells and whistles, this is such a calming play tent for a small child. The lights and sounds are very soothing – and there’s so much to look at and grab.
Available from: Early Learning Centre and Amazon
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