11 Best Kids Play Tents In 2017

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kids play tent

All year round parents flock to toy stores looking for the perfect gift to give their kids for the latter’s birthday, special achievements, or even holidays. And while dolls for girls and toy cars and guns for boys make up the bulk of the gift suggestions, many also consider play tents as one of the most useful tools for children especially when they are engaged in imaginative or pretend play. These kiddie tents are excellent addition to the scenario being played by kids which can then help develop their psychomotor and cognitive skills as well as enhance their social and emotional development.

We know how crazy frustrating it can be to choose the best make-believe camp for children. As such, we are bringing to you the top eleven play tents you can ever find for your child and his or her friends.

11 Best Play Tents for Children

1Me Too Play Tent by Pacific Play Tents

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Age Range: 3 to 10 years old

 With a base of 16 square feet and standing at a little under 4 feet, the Me Too Play Tent is one great prop to any role playing type of kids’ activities. The tent’s mesh panels allow for improved ventilation so at least 3 children can stay inside without feeling suffocated. Mom and Dad can also peek through the mesh for added security. The canvas is made of highly colorful and high grade 190T polyester taffeta. This should make it very easy to clean while at the same time allowing for lightweight portability. Its soft cushiony flooring is made of waterproof material making it ideal to be setup in almost any surface be it indoors or outdoors. The Me Too’s poles are shock-corded and is coated with polyurethane for optimum durability.

What We like about It – It has a classic design and it’s very easy to set up that even kids can do it. It’s very lightweight at only 13.4 ounces so kids can surely carry this wherever they want to set camp.   

2Thomas the Train Play Vehicle by Playhut

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Age Range: 3 to 9 years old

Straight from the Island of Sodor, the Thomas the Train Play Vehicle is something that children who have been following the exploits of the most famous tank engine of all will surely appreciate. What sets this kiddie tent apart is that there are no poles nor sticks and pegs nor any components that need to be installed first. It’s as easy as taking it out of its carrying bag, twist it open, and it pops right up. The Thomas the Train features an ingenious EZ twist mechanism that allows for easy deployment. Best of all, it can be connected to other similar structures of the same line to create a network of tunnels for kids to crawl into. The Thomas measures 52 inches long, 26 inches wide, and 38 inches high.

What We like about It – Who doesn’t love Thomas the tank engine? The mere fact that the system can be expanded is surely something to look forward to. This should be perfect for encouraging imaginative and pretend play. This can help enhance problem solving skills in children.

3Kids Fun Play Tent Playhouse by Truedays

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Age Range: At least 1 year old

One of the biggest kiddie tent-playhouses that we have in our list is the Kids Fun Playhouse from Truedays. It measures close to 4 feet on each of the 4 sides and 55 inches high. It is designed like a cubical house complete with doors and windows. The polyester fabric is supported by a shock corded pole system that has been thoroughly coated with polyurethane. It also features a waterproof floor so it can be placed in almost any surface both outdoors and indoors. The front door can be closes with a Velcro system while 2 tunnel ports that double as windows allow for expansion options. These tunnel ports have roll down flaps to simulate the window opening. Setting it up is as easy as twisting it and just letting it pop out.

What We like about It – This is excellent for stimulating pretend and imaginative play in children. Also helpful in their psychomotor development. It can also be expanded so that simply means you can have a whole network of tubes or tunnels snaking in your backyard for the kids of the entire neighborhood to have a wonderful time.

4Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Shell Raiser Vehicle by Playhut

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Age Range: 4 to 15 years old

For children who are fond of Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Rafael, and Donatello, they will surely playing with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Shell Raiser Vehicle. This 54 inch long, 52 inch tall, and 34 inch wide colorful canvas is beautifully designed to mimic the famed Shell Raiser of the TMN turtles. It features a lot of openings and passageways to help children optimize their ninja training. The Shell Raiser also features a few tunnel ports that can be connected to other similar structures from Playhut. The flame resistant Shell Raiser can be easily popped open for instant use.

What We like about It – The colorful design will surely be loved by kids. Its expansion capabilities is also worth mentioning. This should be a wonderful addition to any playset in your kid’s playroom or right in your own backyard. Great for stimulating kids’ imagination and strengthening their psychomotor skills.

5Sprout Kids Tent by Wenzel

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Age Range: At least 3 years old

Perfect for those weekend camping trips, the Sprout Kids Tent is something that your children will be proud to call their own. It can fit 2 fully grown adults or even up to 4 kids. The dimensions are quite big and spacious at 6 x 5 feet with a height of 3.2 feet. Setting up is easy as it is simply a matter of inserting the dutifully shock-corded fiberglass poles through the slots in the polyester fabric. The fabric itself is made of Weather Armor technology for added protection against the elements. It’s got a zippered mesh door, roof vents made with mesh, and a back window with roll up flap.

What We like about It – It weighs only 4.3 pounds so it should not really be difficult to bring in those camping trips. Or, it can also be used for your kid’s weekend backyard night out to help encourage social interaction with their friends.

6Club House Tent by Pacific Play Tents

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Age Range: 3 to 15 years old

Designed like a wooden kiddie clubhouse, Pacific Play Tents’ product in our list measures 50 inches long, 40 inches wide, and 50 inches high which should make it ideal for kids 4 feet tall and below. The playset is easily assembled. G3 poles are slotted into their connectors to build the frame. Once the skeleton is completed, the polyester fabric is placed over it. The Club House comes complete with a tunnel port that can be used to connect with other Pacific Play systems. The windows and top panels of the Club House are made of mesh to allow for excellent ventilation.

What We like about It – This is great for encouraging your kid’s full use of his or her imagination while at the same time helping strengthen his or her psychomotor skills. You may need to help younger children set their Club House, though.

7Kids Play Tent by Petra

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Age Range: At least 2 years old

You will need a really large backyard or lawn for Petra’s Kids’ Play Tent. It features 3 essential components – a playhouse, a tunnel, and a playground. The playhouse measures 31 inches long x 31 inches wide x 41 inches high while the tunnel measures 57 inches long and 20 inches high. The square playground measures 31 inches long x 31 inches wide x 33 inches high. When combined from end to end, you are looking at close to 10 feet in length. The whole set comes with a very convenient carrying bag so you can bring it to the park or for simple ease of storage.

What We like about It – It’s perfect for parties as well as for giving children the opportunity to crawl through their very own tunnel. It helps strengthen leg and arm muscles while fostering social interaction.

8Children’s Play Tent Game Playhouse by BATTOP Toys & Games

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Age Range: 1 to 7 years old

Need a really fuss-free kiddie tent for your little kids? Then give them BATTOP’s Children’s Game Playhouse. It’s made of a combination of nylon and polyester for ultra-soft, durable, and water resistant fabric. When popped open, it measures 34 inches in both width and length and about 44 inches in height. When folded, it only measures 15 x 1.6 x 15 inches; very easy to store. It features a see-through mesh window complete with a roll up curtain that can be secured with a Velcro strap. It also comes with a privacy door that can be “locked” from the inside with Velcro.

What We like about It – It’s the perfect gift for small and young children who would like to have a tent of their own. This is excellent for fostering imagination while enhancing their psychomotor skills.

9Cubby-Tube-Teepee Kids Adventure Station by POCO DIVO

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Age Range: At least 3 years old

Measuring more than 10 feet in length when assembled end to end, the Cubby-Tube-Teepee Kids Adventure Station is the perfect playset for the great outdoors like the beach, the park, or right in your own backyard. It is composed of 3 units – a cubby playhouse, a tube tunnel, and a teepee playhouse. The cubby measures 31.5 inches tall, wide, and long. The teepee measures 33.5 inches long and wide and stands 35.5 inches high. The extendable tube tunnel measures 59 inches long with a diameter of 18.5 inches. The materials used in the construction of the Cubby-Tube-Teepee includes polyester with sturdy spring steel. At only 2.2 pounds, this is lightweight enough to be carried anywhere.

What We like about It – It’s great for kids’ parties and get-togethers. Helps children develop and strengthen their knees and arms as they attempt to crawl through the tunnel. Also excellent for helping children develop balance and visual motor coordination.

10Crown Princess Castle Outdoor Tent and Indoor Play House by POCO DIVO

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Age Range: At least 3 years old

Designed for little princesses, the Crown Princess Castle is a wonderful prop for young children who are playing make-believe princess. It comes in a very colorful pink design complete with royal prints. The playhouse stands 53 inches tall with a diameter of 41 inches. It can be easily assembled and disassembled and at 2 lbs. should not really be a problem storing. The playhouse is made of 100 percent polyester allowing for ease of cleaning. It’s got a sturdy plastic pole to help provide the rigid framework. It also features mesh windows and a rollup door panel for instant access.

What We like about It – This is an excellent addition to the role-playing activities of children especially when coupled with dress-up plays. It should help encourage the full use of their imagination.

11Knight Castle Prince House Kids’ Play Tent by POCO DIVO 

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Age Range: At least 3 years old

If your girl has her Crown Princess Castle, then you have to get your boy the Knight Castle Prince as well. Designed like one of the towers of a majestic castle, this playhouse by POCO DIVO comes complete with mesh windows for optimum ventilation and roll-up door panels for ease of access. The Knight Castle is 51 inches tall and is about 40 inches in diameter. It has sturdy plastic poles that provide support for the 100 percent polyester fabric. The fabric itself can be easily cleaned with a damp soft cloth.

What We like about It – This is ideal for helping children foster their imagination by giving them the correct tools to facilitate make-believe or pretend play. It can also help encourage social interaction as children share the Knight Castle with their friends.

How We Chose the Top Play Tents in Our List

Choosing the right tent for kids’ playtime activities can be very challenging. We tasked our team of dedicated researchers to come up with a shortlist of the top kiddie portable canvas shelters that we can share with you. After several days of toiling through mountains of data, product reviews, and careful analysis, they were able to give us the top 11 play tents for kids.

If you’re wondering how they did it, it was never easy. First they had to look at the overall design of the tent and make accurate assumptions as to how the product will be used by kids. More importantly, however, is how the tent will be able to help children develop or enhance their psychomotor, cognitive, emotional, and social skills. Next, the safety of the materials used as well as its construction have been examined closely. The tent maker’s reputation or credibility was also ascertained. If there are any awards, recognition, or certifications related to the product’s design, development, and manufacture, then these were also considered. Lastly, our team looked at the countless parents’ reviews and feedback about the products. At the very least, we can share with you gift suggestions that are also highly recommended by many parents.

Play Tents, Imaginative Play, and Your Child’s Development

Kiddie tents are usually used by children as props or accessories in their imaginative, dramatic, or pretend playtime activities. Depending on the objective of the game, children can surely benefit a lot from these kinds of playtime accessories or props.

First is the development or enhancement of children’s psychomotor skills. A kiddie tent provides enough covered area for playing. Children can crawl into their tent or even jump onto it. If they are old enough, they can assemble the tent themselves without additional parental support. All of these require excellent control of the muscles. It helps refine their control of gross and fine motor movements while at the same time enhancing their sense of visual motor coordination and balance. Tying some of the knots in a certain kid’s tent can help enhance manual dexterity.

Secondly, being important tools for imaginative or pretend play, kiddie tents can be excellent materials for enhancing children’s cognitive abilities. When children are given a large house-like structure made of canvas to play with, their imagination is greatly stimulated. They are able to harness other cognitive skills such as problem solving, memory, cause and effect relationships, spatial reasoning, and counterfactual reasoning.

Imagination requires input from the kid’s memory, the things he or she may have learned either through experience or from school. These pieces of information are processed by the brain to come up with a what-if situation. This is one of the crucial elements of critical thinking and divergent problem solving. This also helps in the identification of a variety of situations that are directly related to a single phenomenon. It helps foster curiosity which can further fuel the child’s critical thinking processes.

Playing with kiddie tents also help children develop and enhance their planning skills. They have to try to identify the objective of their role play and what the different activities they need to do. This is an essential skill to master as it lays the foundation for scientific problem solving where a problem is best solved using a set of objectives that are problem-oriented. Looking for solutions to accomplish the objectives will lead to the resolution of the problem. Role playing allows children to start understanding the concept of careful planning and objectives-setting. This is important when they do grow up as adults especially when they go into business as well as other endeavors that require planning.

Third, imaginative playing with friends helps encourage cooperation and negotiation. When role playing, kids eventually have to talk and discuss among themselves who plays which role as well as the different actions that each one has to perform. This helps develop children’s social skills. If they have to use the tent and there are many of them, children learn to take turns and share the different playthings in the kiddie playhouse. The social interaction obtained from imaginative role playing activities allow kids to learn empathy and consideration for the feelings of other children. They begin to understand the idea of proper behavior especially when they are in the real world.

Fourth, as a natural result of the increased social interaction playing with kiddie tents, children are also able to improve their language and communication skills. Pretend and imaginative play is a wonderful opportunity for children to use their very own vocabulary and language. They are able to use expressive language. Our role as parents is to help expand their vocabulary by paraphrasing what our kids have said during their pretend play. We can do this by using a more descriptive language which our kids will understand or by giving examples using expressive language.

Lastly, because children are able to express their thoughts and feelings through role playing and imaginative playtime activities, we help enhance their self-esteem. We are giving them power and control over their pretend world and these help enhance their creative abilities. They can create their very own story lines, decide what plots and twists to go with their story, and develop the personality of their main character in the story. All of these help enhance kids’ self-esteem by giving them the power to control their world. And if we show that we also enjoy and truly appreciate what our kids are doing, the more that we enhance their self-esteem.

The Bottom Line

Many of us adults may have already forgotten the joys of playing pretend or role playing. Kids need these types of playtime activities to help them in their cognitive, social, emotional, and psychomotor development. And when it comes to imaginative or pretend play, one of the most useful accessories or tools we can ever give our kids is a playtime tent. With our top 11 play tents you can start encouraging the imaginative play of your own kids. You won’t go wrong and kids will surely love you for it.

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Selina Marie
Selina Marie is our head of content for MyKidNeedsThat.com, mum of two and a self proclaimed toy geek. When she isn't juggling the madness at home, on a school run or baking her world famous blueberry muffins, you will find her product researching and keeping the site freshly updated with the latest toys and fun for our readers!
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