The 8 Best Pretend Play Tents for Kids (2019 Reviews)
What’s a type of toy that’s as good for creative play as it is for active fun and games? Play tents, of course.
Play tents are great because your child can experience fun in a new “location” while they use their imagination and also their technical skills. As an adult, you’ll probably find play tents are a bit of a pain to set up but provide your child with hours of fun to make it worthwhile.
In this article, we’ll discuss five of the best play tents so that you can find the one that’s perfect for your child.
GrowthPic Kids Play Tent Set with Tunnel
The GrowthPic Kids Play Tent Set with Tunnel is a deluxe play tent which your entire family of children will enjoy.
- Dedicated ball pit area
- Fun tunnel
- May not protect against the sun
Thanks to this play tent’s three separate play areas, this tent is ideal for groups of children. Whether they’re playing in the house, the ball pit, or going through the tunnel, this tent’s cheerful exterior will provide them with loads of fun.
The tent’s three components are easy to set up individually, which is a nice change compared to other play tents on the market. The only problem occurs when you need to connect the tunnel to both of the different side tents.
You’ll need to purchase the balls separately if you decide to make use of this tent’s ball pit functionality. Once the balls are loaded, you’ll never need to worry about them falling out so long as you attach the connecting tunnel to the other tent, which can act as an anteroom and keep the balls inside reliably.
Your children may not want to play in this tent if it is in the direct sun. The rooves of the tents are transparent, so they let a lot of heat inside.
Fox Print Princess Castle Play Tent
The Fox Print Princess Castle Play Tent is a royal play tent fit for your young princess and a few of her friends.
- Princess aesthetic
- High roof
- Convenient carrying pack
- Tough to assemble
What’s more befitting of a princess than her play tent castle? The Fox Print Princess Castle fits the royal bill. With this tent, your child can take shelter from the sun, play pretend in style, and have a portable and spacious place to hold court.
Your young princess will love the play tent’s high roof, shaded windows, and heart-checkered design. If she wants a bit or separation from the commoners, there’s a flap on the front which can easily be let down or pinned back up.
While the tent should simply pop open upon removal from its carrying pack, in reality, you’ll need to coax it to unfold. Likewise, when it comes time to put the castle back in the bag, you may have some trouble figuring out where to start collapsing the roof or the sides. You’ll get the hang of it eventually, but it can be intractable the first few times you try.
Kiddey Kids Play Tent & Playhouse
The Kiddey Kids Play Tent & Playhouse is a great play tent which your child can hop into or out of via any one of its four separate entrances.
- Four ways to get in or out
- Cheerful design
- May tear at the seams
As far as play tents go, this play tent is of typical design but has a huge potential for fun play anyway. Each side of the play tent has a differently shaped entrance which your child can use to pass things or escape.
The tent is supported by two sets of supports which give it shape and hold the dome ceiling, just like a real tent for adults. If your children want a play tent that has a bit more realism in the camping experience than other play tents, this might be the right pick.
You can easily connect this play tent to other play tents or other play tent features like tunnels via the connectors on each facet. While there’s no guarantee that play tent features made by different manufacturers will be compatible together, it’s a nice touch that few other play tents bring to the table so you may want to make the most of it by trying out a few combinations.
Your children should learn to be careful around the middle seam of each facet because a bit too much pressure will cause it to rip. One rip doesn’t cause the entire tent to be a total loss, however, so you don’t need to worry that much.
Kid’s Air Fort
The Kid’s Air Fort is an interesting take on the inflatable kid’s tent which uses something as simple as a box fan to keep the ceiling up high.
- Works with any box fan
- Animated and spacious
- More durable than most air inflatable play tents
- Requires box fan
- Has no floor
This child’s air fort isn’t exactly a palace fit for a king, but it might be fit for a prince. With the help of a box fan that you set up at the end of a tunnel attached to the tent, the Air Fort fills up with moving air, carrying the ceiling up to a point and giving your child a spacious play area with a window to peep on the outside.
Imaginative play is easy in the Air Fort. With a few friends, your child will be having hours of fun without any complications.
The Air Fort is fairly durable for an inflatable play tent, thanks to the tough material which it is made of and its lack of air pockets. Tears in the material will make the tent harder to inflate, but you should be able to patch them very easily with a piece of tape, unlike with a genuinely inflatable play tent.
The Air Fort is noisy on the inside, which means that it might not be great for sensitive children. Likewise, there’s no floor in the fort, so you should expect your children – and the fort itself – to come out dirty and to need a bath.
Pacific Play Tents Kids Safari Fun Dome
The Pacific Play Tents Kids Safari Fun Dome is a great twist on the standard play tent concept. With this play tent, your child will enjoy the feeling of being on a safari from the safety of your backyard in comfortable shade.
- Beautiful and artsy woodland creature aesthetic
- Fun tunnel for extra play space
- Waterproof floor
The Safari Fun Dome is a cute and durable play tent that’s almost good enough to be used for real camping. Thanks to the play tent’s tough materials, waterproof flooring, high quality zipper, and fine mesh top, your child will be exploring the savannah – in their imagination – in style for as many years as they want.
The only downside of this tent is that it’s going to be a bit heavy for you to carry around and a little bit cumbersome to set up. The collapsible tunnel is about as heavy as you might expect, but the tent itself is made to a higher standard than most children’s play tents, and so it is closer to the weight of a real one-person dome tent than it might appear at first glance.
The tough metal struts which hold up the tent’s dome aren’t going to snap or chip anytime soon. You’ll need to put your back into pitching this tent, however. High quality materials have more narrow tolerances than in other play tents, but the two main metal rods are the only thing which might give you trouble.
This is a great play tent, and if your child loves camping out or pretending to be in the wilderness, they’ll be sure to enjoy hanging out inside or making runs through the collapsible tunnel.
Rocket Ship Play Tent
For the boys and girls who love the idea of blasting off into space, this Rocket Ship Play Tent is a bundle of fun.
- Easy to use flap
- Fast to set up
- No convenient internal storage
This tent is 53 inches tall and 41 inches in diameter, which means that it’s big enough for two children to play inside comfortably or three children to hang out if they’re careful. In fact, parents might find that they can join in on the fun if they’re careful not to stand up inside of the tent.
The tent’s starry night aesthetic is cheerful, and it won’t be an eyesore if your children leave it in the yard. The only feature that the tent lacks is internal storage, so you may find that toys get strewn around inside.
Tiny Land Kids Teepee Tent for Kids Play Tent with Mat & Carry Case
When you’re looking for an adorably cute tent which will make your loved one feel like a princess, this Tiny Land Teepee is hard to beat.
- Gorgeous white linen aesthetic
- Great for indoor tent play
- Durable tent poles
- Difficult to set up
- Minimal covered floor space
As far as play tents go, the Tiny Land Teepee is of unparalleled aesthetic appeal because it doesn’t have the stereotypical children’s toy aesthetics. Instead, the Tiny Land Teepee has a classy and adult-friendly white linen and dogwood design.
This means that the teepee is pretty enough to leave in your home. You probably won’t want to move the tent around too much, however. It’s difficult to set the tend up as a result of its teepee design, but most adults should be able to figure it out quickly enough.
Monobeach Princess Tent
When your little princess desires a play tent that they can use for tea parties with their dolls, the Monobeach Princess Tent may be right up their alley.
- Great for solo play
- Pink princess aesthetic
- Doesn’t block the sun or the elements
With its frilly sheen curtains, pink polka dots, and slightly padded mat, the Monobeach Princess Tent has a great set of features for indoor play. Princesses can hold court in their tent without having to fraternize with plebes — and if you’re lucky, you can visit once in a while.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I look for in a play tent?
That depends on what your child enjoys the most. Certain play tents are built to be made into ball pits, whereas others are meant to be more like castles where your child can get lost in their imagination.
Many play tents are difficult to setup, though there are a few exceptions if setup time is a factor which matters a lot to you. Likewise, play tents come in all shapes, sizes, and colors – so be sure to check with your child to make sure that they find one whose aesthetic is appealing.
If you have more than one child, you don’t necessarily need to buy more than one play tent or even a larger play tent than normal. Most play tents have enough space to accommodate a couple of children, and you might even be able to fit three if they squeeze. The more complicated play tents which include tunnels and multiple rooms will be best for families with multiple children, though beware that you’ll need to spend the extra time setting them up.
You can generally choose between play tents that need to be inflated and those that don’t. The play tents that need to be inflated are larger, and you may need to purchase a pump or engine to power their inflation. Likewise, these tents are more vulnerable to being irreparably damaged by a stray pierce, so you should think carefully about whether your child wants one or not. The inflatable play tents have the advantage of being highly portable, however.
Are play tents safe for my child to use?
If you assemble them properly and they are manufactured to good quality, play tents are safe for your child to use. You may want to stay nearby just in case there is an incident, however. Most play tents won’t spontaneously collapse because they’re made with elastic-like materials, but if your child gets tangled, they’ll need someone who can give them a hand.
For inflatable play tents, a puncture and deflation can be more problematic because there may be enough material to smother your child. You should maintain a watchful eye if you decide to purchase an inflatable play tent.
For the youngest children, you may want to find a different kind of toy than a play tent. Play tents are best for children who are reliably mobile on two feet without any help.
Are play tents good for creative play?
Yes, play tents are great for creative play. Your child will have a lot of fun pretending that they’re their castle when you set up their play tent and leave them alone.
Any creative or imaginative play which your child normally enjoys can be done in a play tent. Likewise, any of your child’s other toys can find their temporary home as part of your child’s play tent creative play routine. Just be aware that you’ll need to quickly clean everything they left behind out of the play tent when it comes time to break it down and go inside.
Which brands of play tent are the best?
There isn’t any pack leader when it comes to the companies which produce play tents. Don’t worry about where the play tent was manufactured, make sure that it fits your other criterion, and you should find one that your child will enjoy.
Packing Up To Camp Out
Once your child has a play tent ready to go, it’ll be time for you to assemble the tent and send your tot on their merry journey. If you get frustrated while assembling a play tent – and you will – take a deep breath and ask your child for help. Your child will be more than capable of giving you a hand with assembly, but they might not stick around to help you break it down after playtime is over.
Give your children the toys they need to inspire their imagination, and they’ll thank you when they grow older.