Monday, 15 June 2015

Wendy Tents - portable play palaces for kids!

A rundown of the best children's play tents on Amazon

Sometimes a wooden or plastic wendy house or playhouse is just not practical. Sometimes you may not have the space or garden to store them - or the budget to splurge on such a big item - so I'm here to review some of the best options for a convenient alternative - play tents!

(Affiliate linking in this post - what's this?)

Sometimes called Wendy Tents, I love these as they're a play den that can be folded away and stored when not in use. Lightweight and often with imaginitive decoration they turn kids' bedroom floors, the living room, the garden or even the beach into a fantasy hideaway! And they cost a lot less too but with pretty much the same amount of fun to be had from them.

I find it great for storing all the toys that would normally be scattered all over the floor in one place. Simply fling them in and there you are! Little pickles love to sit in them, humming away happily for hours on end. They can also be taken on trips to give the kids something comforting from home when in strange places.

Sometimes they are popup, sometimes with poles. (NB most don't come with pegs so could blow away on a breezy day!) We give you a quick summary review of the best options we could find. Age ranges are the usual, 3+ generally speaking. Oh yes, and there's an obligatory "Frozen" section at the bottom of the page!

Childrens Pink Pop-Up Princess Castle Play Tent

Good points

Pretty in pink, this tent is perfect for the princess in your life. At only £12.39 (at time of writing) it won't break the bank. It is also bigger than it looks in the photo, according to mums and dads who bought it.

Less good points

Some reviewers complained that the tent was flimsy and that it had occasionally gotten tears in the fabric. At such a cheap price, it probably shouldn't be surprising. The tent got plenty of satisfied customer reviews, however, so these people might have just been unlucky? I guess you get what you pay for.

Not being really a popup - despite the name - you might have to be in charge of assembly and packing away each time, but depending on your little one's age, this might already be your job!

Details

Dimensions: When assembled, it's 135cm height and 105cm width and length. When packed away, 41 x 40 x 6 cm

Delivery: Free UK. Weighs less than a kilogram.

Buy the Childrens Pink Pop-Up Princess Castle Play Tent today!

Childrens Blue Pop-Up Wizards Castle Play Tent

As above, but in a magical blue. All the good and bad points of the above, but surprisingly a different seller. Apparently, in order to get the tent back in its (circular) case, you have to twist it into a figure of 8, which some folk gave up trying to do after a few times!

Price differs slightly (£9.40 + £1.99 delivery) in that the delivery is not free, but this seems to be because they are based out of Northern Ireland. But in the end it doesn't matter too much as the initial price is lower.

Buy the Childrens Blue Pop-Up Wizards Castle Play Tent today!

Perfect partners for this tent

As an added bonus you could buy the tunnel that is in a similar colour. I don't think it attaches per se, but could be inserted through the entrance. Another winner is the starlight projector nightlight!


HomeStore Global, Children Kids Giant Adventure Play Tents City, 5pcs set with 3 Dome and 2 tunnels - Indoor and Outdoor.

Good points

Well, the name's a bit of a mouthful but then it is a biggie! Three different tents linked by two tunnels, like a hamster maze for your kids. They'll certainly have a lot of movement and exercise, wriggling through from one bit to another. I can imagine a lot of games of chase and hide and seek!

Less good points

As with almost all the reviews, there seemed to be issues with the quality of construction, which given the price might be more of an issue than some of the other, cheaper tents. The assembly was also not regarded as particularly easy and surprisingly the tunnels don't attach on but are pushed through the gaps and can come out with kid's movement. The solution to this might be to push the tunnels into the gaps a bit further than you would think.

It's also huge. If you've not got a lot of space, this might not be for you.

Details

Dimensions: The three "rooms" are each about a metre square, roughly. The tunnels are a bit shorter. Laid out end to end it might be just under 5 metres, which is a good size room! But the L shape of it brings this down a lot, ideal for the corner of a room use outdoors.

Buy the HomeStore Global, Children Kids Giant Adventure Play Tents City, 5pcs set with 3 Dome and 2 tunnels - Indoor and Outdoor. today!

Hello Kitty Wendy Tent

Good points

Did you know that in Japan, Hello Kitty is called "Kitteh-chan"? Cute! It does actually pop up but has a pole for tensioning in the roof. Beautifully decorated, it's a great tent for Kitty fans, and has a door and windows with a cafe style theme. Perfect for playing shop.

Less good points

This may or may not be a bad point, but it is floorless. So, great if you want to put it out on the grass and encourage kids to get in contact with nature, not so good if your little one has a grass allergy and / or you want to pick it up and move everything at once. Also not huge, so probably not good for older (6 years + I would say) kids unless they're smaller in stature. This tent has been reviewed as not very stable, i.e. can fall over if children are going in and out the window, but unlikely to harm as it is so lightweight. This would probably not be a problem if it had a floor!

Details

Dimensions: 105 x 89 x 70 cm when up.

Buy the Hello Kitty Wendy Tent today!

Perfect partners for this tent

Buy the Hello Kitty Tin Tea Party Set today!

Personalised Gracie's Garden Indoor Outdoor Designer Teepee Wigwan Play Tent Made in the UK

Good points

Certainly something special! It has a designer chic, handmade and vintage vibe to it, beautifully decorated on all sides. You can personalise it with their own name so they know whose special wigwam it is. Very high quality compared to most of the other play tents, it was made in the UK and is showerproof, fire resistant etc. You can even disassemble and machine wash it. Would make a perfect gift.

Less good points

More expensive, of course. Not huge but can fit several smaller kids in, one or two bigger ones.

Details

Dimensions: 1.5m x 1.2m is what's given, which we're interpreting as 1.5m high and 1.2m per side square base.

Delivery: £2.49 delivery in the UK.

Buy the Personalised Gracie's Garden Indoor Outdoor Designer Teepee Wigwan Play Tent Made in the UK today!

Disney Frozen Play Tents

As with all things ever, there is a Disney's Frozen spin-off or two (or three, or...) Here are our top two:

Disney Frozen Royal Castle Pop Up Playhouse

Fairly over the top, this is more play castle than tent. It has an open roof for kids to stand up and look out of.

It is decorated with Frozen characters, but only on two sides. Front and back exits mean it could be great for putting on plays. It's more expensive, of course, but what do you expect for royalty? It even comes with a tiara.

Buy the Disney Frozen Royal Castle Pop Up Playhouse today!

Frozen Pop Up Play Tent

This one is a true "pop-up" because it doesn't require other sticks to be put in and an adult's helping hand. Not sure about putting it away though. Unfortuantely reviews haven't been put up about this product yet, but it is a great deal more affordable than the one above! Free delivery in the UK IF you spend over £20 on Amazon, meaning you can't get free delivery on this if you buy it on its own. Unfortunately it doesn't say how much it will be but it weighs less than a kilo, so will not be too extortionate I guess. Size is 75 x 75 x 90 cm

Buy the Frozen Pop Up Play Tent today!

Other handy stuff, accessories for your tent


Things to remember

Measure your space where you plan to put it and compare this to the dimensions supplied, and make sure your child is not too big as well! Most of these play tents aren't made out of great quality canvas like you'd get in your camping tent. They're meant for light use, not to withstand torrential rain etc. So don't expect them to hold up too well to rough play either! But remember how much fun your kids will get out of the feeling of having their own special space, whether indoors or outdoors, with plenty of room for imagination.

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