10 Best Kids Play Tent in 2018

Igniting the imaginations of our children is always rewarding, and kids play tents are a fantastic way to stoke those embers. With so many options available, we’ve put together a buyer’s guide to help level the proverbial playing field and assist in your quest for the best kids play tent.

Top 10 Best Kids Play Tents

Families with children of varying ages may find the MAIKEHIGH Soft Play Indoor/Outdoor Play Tunnel and Play Tent is a great choice for multiple activities and age brackets.

Is it a tent? Is it a tunnel? Is it a ball pool?  Yes, yes, and yes! One of the best features of this tent is its versatility. The three pieces can be used alone or in combination with each other providing a total of six different options for use.

The tunnel offers the functional safety feature of a window that stretches its full length, allowing smaller ones to explore independent play while also giving parents the ability to keep a watchful eye on them.

The overall construction is extremely lightweight yet still durable enough for both indoor and outdoor play. The fabric easily wipes clean. Each piece is also doubly sewn giving it additional resilience.

All three pieces fold flat and fit neatly inside the storage bag included. This feature is exceptionally well received when space is an issue such as during travel.

Each piece is large and roomy which has the potential to be both a benefit and a disadvantage. If you’re low on space, the size of all three pieces together might be too much. However, it still has the redeeming quality of breaking down into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Perhaps the only real con is that, while it features a ball pool, balls are not included.


  • Versatility
  • Tunnel window
  • Lightweight yet durable
  • Roomy
  • Compact storage


  • Large size can limit indoor options
  • Balls not included

The Deluxe Pop-Up Castle Play Tent by KiddyPlay is designed with extended outdoor play in mind.

The best feature of this kids play tent is found in the protection it provides. This tent isn’t designed to simply provide shade. The interior has a silver lining that is 100% UV proof.

The roof is foam insulated which helps to keep the interior cool even on the warmest days.

With a UV proof lining, foam insulated roof, and polypropylene floor, air flow is addressed by the three extra-large mesh windows that encircle the castle. The mesh allows for air and light while keeping out insects. The closable shade covers are also 100% UV proof and can be adjusted control the amount of light and air flow inside.

As with most pop up tents, assembly requires little more than taking it out of the box. It pops right up, ready for play.

When it’s time to put things away, this play tent folds flat and stores nicely in its zippered bag making it convenient to carry almost anywhere.

While this play tent is made for both indoor and outdoor use, those who might be limited on interior space might find the size to be an issue when assembled.

This tent carries a warning stating it is not suitable for children under three years.


  • Silver 100% UV Proof Lining
  • Foam insulated roof
  • Extra-large mesh windows with closable covers
  • Easy assembly
  • Compact storage


  • Size
  • Not recommended for children under three years

For those looking for something to take imaginations in a different direction than pop ups, the Pericross Children’s TeePee Kids Play Tent might be just the ticket.

The classic teepee design is a wonderful way to spark the imaginations of young children. It’s the perfect visual aid to assist in spinning tales.

While this tent won’t pop open upon opening the box, it’s still simple to construct. The frame consists of four wooden poles that easily slot together making set up a breeze.

The 100% cotton canvas material gives an authentic feel to the experience. It’s soft, yet still durable to hold up to everyday use.

Storage pockets have been sewn onto the cotton canvas for storage of small items such as favourite books or toys that might be enjoyed in the comfort of the teepee.

One of the best features of this kids play tent is its portability. The wooden poles pull apart, becoming half their size when it’s time to store it making it easy to take along.

While the canvas gives a realistic feel, it is also difficult to wash. Too much heat at any point in the cleaning process can cause the fabric to shrink.

This play tent carries a warning stating it is not suitable for children under three years.


  • Classic teepee design
  • Sturdy wooden frame
  • 100% Cotton canvas
  • Pockets for storage
  • Pockets for storage


  • Not easily washable
  • Not recommended for children under three years

The Pericross Fairy Princess Castle with LED Lights adds a touch of magic whether set up inside or outdoors.

Mesh drape walls simply tie back, allowing access points to be positioned and changed when the urge strikes.

The hexagon shape adds to its whimsical charm, but also provides a large diameter play area perfect for sharing tea with friends.

The mesh and nylon fabrics are easily hand washed.

The battery-operated lights tend to be every little girl’s favourite feature. They have a magical glow about them that makes one believe there just might be fairies hiding somewhere nearby.

The lightweight construction of the poles and connectors means that moving the assembled tent won’t require heavy lifting.

Due to the size, those who are low on indoor space might find that leaving the tent assembled poses a challenge.

There are a lot of pieces required to put this together – 19 connectors total. This is not a kids’ tent that we want to dismantle and reassemble on a regular basis lest we risk losing parts that could render the whole thing rubbish.

This tent doesn’t include stakes, nor does it provide much protection from the sun, limiting the conditions it can be used in outdoors.


  • Versatile design
  • Large diameter
  • Easy to clean
  • Battery operated lights
  • Lightweight construction


  • Size
  • Assembly required
  • Limited outdoor use

The portable three in one design of the Pop-up Kids Play Tent Game with Tunnel and Ball Pool is a wonderful choice for those with little ones who love to explore.

This three-piece set can be used together or separately.

The netted windows on each piece allow us to keep watch over our little ones while also providing them the comfort of being able to see us as well. These are also a great source of air flow.

It’s easy to transition from indoors to outdoors and back again because the frame is made of lightweight steel and is covered with thin yet durable polyester fabric that easily wipes clean.

This ball pool comes complete with balls making it ready for play virtually right out of the box. This is a particularly favourite feature as parents aren’t left with the dilemma of making an additional purchase to complete the gift choice of others.

The ball pool is 120 x 120 x 80 cm and the tent is 85 x 85 x 100 cm. Join these two pieces together with the 45 x 180 cm tunnel and a small room can get much smaller rather quickly.

While the ball pool is completely enclosed making it wonderful for insect protection, this also means there’s limited access to the ball pool.


  • Versatility
  • Netting windows on all pieces
  • Lightweight yet durable
  • Easy to clean
  • Balls included


  • Large size can limit indoor options
  • Limited ball pool access

The VicPow Portable Infant Sun Shelter Play Beach Tent with Kiddie Pool reminds us that not all kids play tents are created equally.

The open front design coupled with a mesh wall at the rear of the tent allows for maximum air flow for infants. A shade is also included allowing the option to adjust the amount of light and air flow by raising or lowering it.

The colourful fabric has been UV protected to help keep baby safe from the harmful effects of the sun.

The pop-up design means that set up takes seconds and put away is as easy as folding it flat again.

The polyester fabric is made of 100% silver coated waterproof polyester fabric making it easy to clean. Most messes can be removed with a simple wipe down with warm water and mild soap.

The pool seating area is a favourite feature as it allows babies and toddlers to participate in the water fun without forcing parents to expose them to a larger body of water.

This play tent is specifically designed to be used in a beach setting. Outside of that environment, it provides shade and sun protection, but not much to stimulate imaginations.

The size and design are geared toward children three years and younger.


  • Mesh wall for air flow
  • UV protection
  • Easy setup and put away
  • Easy to clean
  • Pool seating area


  • Functionally specific
  • Recommended for children under three years

For those who like the three in one sets but need more activities for their little ones, the Utex Kids Pop-up Play Tent with Tunnel and Ball Pit might be just the answer.

As with all three in one sets, versatility is one of the best features as the ability to make changes in shape and arrangement of a child’s environment is often helpful in keeping them engaged.

The various places on the tent for youngsters to explore encourages the development of spatial cognition as well as fine motor skills.

The mesh windows on the tent and those that run the length of the tunnel provide ventilation while giving parents large areas to watch and interact with our little ones at play.

The pop-up design makes set up effortless. Putting it away is a matter of folding it flat and putting it inside the zippered carrying bag.

The fabric is a durable polyester that one can easily wipe down to clean.

The matter of size can be an issue if you’re pressed for space, especially when considering positioning for entry access.

The set does not include balls for the ball pool.


  • Versatility
  • Encourages development
  • Mesh windows
  • Easy set up and put away
  • Easy to clean


  • Size
  • Balls not included

The Eggsnow Play Tent is a perfect choice for those families looking for a function driven kids’ play tent.

The dome tent is surrounded by mesh walls that allow for a full unobstructed view of the interior. The access door zips shut providing a contained space for our little ones to play while keeping them safe from insects during outdoor play.

The footprint of this tent is 106 cm x 106 cm providing an ample play space.

The floor, ceiling, and corners are made of a durable polyester that makes clean up after mishaps easy.

While it’s not as easy to assemble or put away as a standard pop up, the structure uses two coated shock-corded poles making it less complicated than most non-pop ups. When disassembled, everything fits into a 47 x 4 x 6 cm bag.

The few parts required to put it together makes this kids’ play tent more portable than most non-pop up tents.

One of the drawbacks to this tent is that seems to be specifically designed to contain a child little about this tent stimulates the imagination.

Another less than desirable feature is that, while it seems to be designed for outdoor play, it provides no UV protection.


  • Mesh walls
  • Roomy
  • Easy to clean
  • Easy setup and put away
  • Easy setup and put away


  • Functionally specific
  • No UV protected

For those with toddlers and smaller ones, the creative design of the OUTAD Kids Play Tent and Tunnel can be a wonderful choice.

This kids’ play tent and tunnel combination can be separated into two pieces, changing the look of and interaction with each piece.

The mesh roof offers ventilation while also providing a window to look in on our little ones while they play.

The fabric of the walls and floor is made of a durable polyester that’s easily cleaned by wiping with warm water and mild soap.

This tunnel portion of the set is a pop-up. However, the tent is put together using two coated shock-corded poles. Put away is a matter of folding the tunnel flat and disassembling the poles so that everything fits inside the zippered carrying bag.

The ladybird design is colourful and can inspire little imaginations. The smiling face at the opening of the tunnel can be lifted or closed easily by little ones which help to stimulate their senses, develop their gross motor skills, and more.

The only window is on the roof which gives parents limited vantage points to check on little ones.

While it can be used both indoors and outdoors, it is not UV protected.


  • Versatility
  • Vented roof
  • Easy to clean
  • Easy assembly and put away
  • Creative design


  • Lack of windows
  • Not UV protected

For little ones who love playing house, the Janod Fabric Mademoiselle Wendy House can be the perfect pretend residence.

The fabric of this kids’ play tent is printed in a chic French design that stimulates the imagination. There was great attention given to detail from the shutters on the windows to the flowers in the window to the quaint streetlamps.

There are five different loosely covered openings consisting of four windows and a door which can be closed using the Velcro tabs.

While this tent does not offer the quick set up of a pop-up, it does offer the convenience of coated shock-corded poles as the frame making assembly easier than those that use an abundance of parts.

The polyester fabric used is both durable and easily washable with water and mild soap.

This tent can be used outside. However, it does not provide the portability of a pop-up, nor does it include a storage bag.

While there are five openings provided, each one is covered, only offering ventilation if they are opened. Children can also be completely out of view while playing inside the tent which is why the manufacturer suggests adult supervision during use.

This tent is not recommended for children under three years.


  • Printed fabric
  • Multiple openings
  • Easy assembly
  • Durable
  • Easy to clean


  • Portability
  • No mesh
  • Not recommended for children under three years

Final Thoughts

As parents, we want to give our children the best kids’ play tent they could have – one that stimulates imagination while still providing safety. Sometimes finding one that does it all can be a daunting task.
Which one tackles that task by being the best of the best? The Pop up Kids Play Tent Game with Tunnel and Ball Pool is difficult to beat for out of the box readiness.
Although it shares many of the same features as the other pop up tents, it surpasses the others. The abundance of mesh used in each piece allows for maximum visibility, ventilation, and insect protection.
While we highly recommend considering the Pop up Kids Play Tent Game with Tunnel and Ball Pool, all the others we’ve discussed are certainly worth your consideration as well.

Kids Play Tent Buyer’s Guide

Finding the right kids play tent isn’t as easy as grabbing up the first one we see. As parents, sometimes we think we know what our kids are going to play with, but we miss some component that’s crucial through the eyes of a child or we find the perfect thing for our little one only to find there are things we missed in the haste of our excitement.  Let’s look at some things that might help us avoid that problem.


Building forts and castles have been a part of childhood play since the time of real forts and castles. Most adults can remember at least one time they were involved in building a fort.

Perhaps it was constructed by pulling the kitchen chairs together and draping a sheet or blanket over them to provide the perfect place for a delicate princess to hide inside. Maybe it was built for more rugged imaginary foes and created with wood and nails.

No matter the construction or location, our imaginations took centre stage. You can still see that spark in the eyes of those adults when they look at kids’ play tents today. The hopes of being able to capture that wonder and pass it on to our small children are almost tangible. There’s also the bonus of knowing their time and developing minds are occupied in a constructive manner.

Imaginations aren’t the only things play tents get moving. According to the Centre for Research in Early Childhood, both large muscle movements and fine motor skills are required for a child to develop physically. Playing in a tent requires physical movement and can have a positive impact on our child’s physical development, but the benefits don’t stop there.

As the National Association for the Education of Young Children points out, play of this nature helps in the development and growth of our children’s vocabularies as well as their social and cognitive skills. That colourful toy does so much more than simply occupy their time.


As with anything we introduce to our children’s environment, safety must be first and foremost when choosing a kid’s play tent. It’s always a wise decision to check the age limitations suggested by the manufacturer, but we should also assess the product with a parent’s knowledge of our children and their abilities.

We should make sure our overall choice of brand, make, and model is safe, we should also inspect our individual purchase carefully for the presence of manufacturing defects that may be hazardous.

Making sure that our choice is age appropriate goes hand in hand with safety. Styles and models that are designed for older children will not always be safe for our younger ones. Small or moving parts can pose choking or pinching hazards.

Age Appropriateness

Safety and age appropriateness often go hand in hand. Our purchase should not have features that exceed the abilities of the children playing with it. Making sure the recipient is developmentally ready helps to maximize our purchase by ensuring our child will reap the highest rewards from it.

If the kid’s play tent is for someone else’s child, knowing the child’s age, as well as their stage of development, will be most helpful in making an age appropriate determination. Many older children will be more interested in a Play House than a Play tent.

As R. Keith Sawyer, Ph.D. points out, most toys designed for children under the age of six years are based on an educational theory that children achieve knowledge through active participation. Toys are placed into age brackets based on developmental stages with general age recommendations usually on the product’s packaging. If you’re having trouble deciding, this industry standard is a good place to start.

Indoor/Outdoor Considerations

The kids play tents of today’s world are much more versatile than their predecessors. Our mothers would have been horrified if we’d taken the chairs from the dining table outside. Thankfully, today’s mums don’t have that concern. The same tent already assembled for play indoors can easily be set up anywhere outdoors as well and in mere moments.

Remembering safety first, we must make sure that tents left outdoors, especially for extended periods of time, are checked to make sure there aren’t any unwelcome guests such as spiders or wasps before letting our little ones play each time. We also don’t advise anyone kissing any frogs that might have taken up residence.

Keep in mind that not all kids play tents are meant for extended outdoor use. Tents designed mainly for indoor use are typically not found to be as durable as those designed for indoor and outdoor use.