How to Choose a Child’s Play Tent

Simple guidelines for finding a play tent that’s just right for the little ones in your life.

Children love playing in forts where they can let their imaginations run wild and simply enjoy their playtimes with siblings and friends. Today’s assortment of play tents for kids offers a wide range of possibilities, but before you begin to shop online, think about the number of kids you may need to accommodate, how much room you have in the house for a tent, and some of the features that make tents safer. Here is a quick buyer’s guide that will put you on course to find a great play tent for your kids.

Size

This play tent has it all—tunnels, a teepee and play cave, and a ball pit (balls sold separately). Hide N Side

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To find the right play tent, begin by asking yourself two questions:

1. How many children will you need to accommodate? If it’s just one or two kids, a smaller version will probably suffice. But if you have more and don’t want anyone left out, consider going a little bigger.

2. How much room do you have indoors for a tent setup? Many parents like to leave tents set up so kids can play in them anytime, but when they’re not in use, will your play tent stow easily in a corner where it’s out of the way?

Safety

Inspired by castles in fairy tales, this beautiful princess house is roomy enough for three kids—the perfect spot for children to play, read and relax. Monobeach

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Safety is always a consideration where kids are concerned. When choosing a play tent ask yourself if the tent’s door and windows allow adequate ventilation. Is the tent fabric kid safe, like polyester? Do the poles slide into protective anchor pockets so there are now sharp ends protruding that can hurt little guys? Is the tent easy to clean with soap and water in case a drink spills inside? Does the tent have a door that’s big enough for kids to get in and out of quickly? If you can answer “yes” to all of these questions, you’re getting close.

Setup and Storage

Roomy enough for three kids and it comes with a space projector toy with three image slide discs (24 images total), so kids can project space images on the tent’s ceiling. USA Toyz

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Finally, before you make your purchase, evaluate how easy it is to set up and take down the tent you’re considering. Does it all go in a convenient tote bag so you can take it with you to grandma’s house? When set up, does it easily fit in a corner when it’s not in use so you don’t take up a whole room? Can it also be used outdoors if the kids want to take it out in the yard for an afternoon. If the answer is “yes,” you’ve probably found the tent that’s right for you.