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Play Tents for Kids Spark Imaginative Play

Updated on August 21, 2013

Kids Tents for Indoor and Outdoor Creative Play

Discover the huge range of play tents available, and which will work best for you and your kids.

Play tents tie into one of the things that most kids love - and will play with for hours - and that is, a "place of their own". This can be a large cardboard box, a blanket over the dining table, a fort made of sofa cushions... or a tent of their very own to match their favorite play theme, one that can be used indoors or outdoors for loads of creative play.

If you're looking for play tents for kids, consider whether you want something plain that can be used for many different games, or one with a specific "look" for a certain kind of play, like a cottage, castle, log cabin or rocket. Also think about whether you want the tent to be "branded", like a Disney Princess tent, Thomas the Tank Engine tent or Mickey Mouse play tent, or whether you'd prefer it to be unbranded even though themed. It's quite easy to find a "princess" tent that is not Disney-branded.

If you go looking for play tents online you'll discover that there are hundreds or different ones, and often you get presented with a wild mix of themes that takes some searching through to find what you want. On this page I've grouped the available play tents so that all the castles are together, all the space-themed ones together, etc, so you can see what's available to choose from in your desired theme without having to wade through dozens of irrelevant ones. Check the Table of Contents below to find your theme.

I hope you enjoy reading this page as much as I enjoyed finding the tents for you. Although my daughter is now grown-up I almost wish she was a kid again so I could get one of these tents for her, they look like so much fun. Maybe even more then one - they are not expensive, and are quite compact to store.

Photo credit: Pacific Play Tents Cottage House Tent

Houses, Cottages, Cabins and other Buildings

There's a whole variety of building types made into play tents. Apart from the obvious house, you also find log cabins and cottages, fire halls and boutiques - if you had the space, you could set up a whole city of these things!

I've listed the most popular styles below, but you can also visit my full list of "town" play tents.

Star Wars and Space Play Tents

You want a rocket ship? Check. Space Station? Check. Star Wars theme tent? Check. All kinds of amazing space-themed tents and tunnels are available for your budding star traveler.

Castle Play tents for Princesses, Fairies, Knights and Princes

OK, so your daughter(s) and their friends are little princesses. Everything is pink, there are frills on dresses, and crowns on heads. But how can a girl be a princess without a castle to call her own?

Here is the solution: a princess castle play tent. Small enough to fit in her bedroom but suitable for outdoor play too, you can choose from multiple different designs, both generic and connected to specific stories and movies.

Princess or Fairy? Fairy Princess? Garden Fairy? It's hard to keep track, but you have your choice here of play tents for pretty much any kind of fairy you care to name, princess or not.

Some folks just don't think castles should be pink - and they may be boys or girls. For them, you'll find a variety of more realistic castle play tents in the page linked below as well as a great deal of pinkness.

There are fewer of these than the princess tents, but you still have a good range of choice - including the Dragon's Lair to give your knights something to battle against.

In case your young make-believer is a pirate rather than a knight, check below for Pirate play tents!

Pirate Play Tents

So, where does a pirate live when he's not on his ship, buccaneering? In a pirate castle, of course!

A Pirate Ship to go with the Pirate Play Tent

It's all very well being a pirate in your pirate castle, but really, you have to have the pirate ship too! While I couldn't find any pirate ship tents (except perhaps the Alex on in the list above which has a picture of a pirate ship on it), I did find a cardboard pirate ship which can be colored any way you like. Comes with markers, too, though I suspect that paints and brushes would work better.

Animal and Nature Play Tents

These tents are a mixed bag, great for your budding naturalist or jungle explorer. I'm not sure how attractive the idea of being INSIDE an insect like a ladybug is to an adult, but for kids it's apparently the bees knees!

Trains (Including Thomas the Tank Engine) as Tents

OK, if you can get inside a ladybug, then of course you can get inside Thomas the Tank Engine! There are other trains as well, along with a train station. Blow the whistle, we're on our way!

Cars and other Vehicles

Cars (including tents featuring the Disney Cars movie characters), trucks, fire engines, NASCAR racers, school buses, construction machinery - if your kids love vehicles, then there's a tent here for them!

Generic Play Tents

The trouble with a themed or branded play tent is that it limits your child's imagination in some ways. If you prefer to let your child think up his or her own games and make-believe ways to use a tent, then you may be better off with one of these colorful and exciting tents that are simply tents, without any theme or brand decorations.

Consider that you and your child could have fun decorating one of these tents one day as a castle, another day as a store, or yet again as a jungle lair. You get multiple uses from the one tent, plus extra fun and creativity when you're decorating it.

What do you think about play tents?

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    • emily potts profile image

      emily potts 6 years ago

      Great ideas for play tents!

    • elyria profile image

      elyria 6 years ago

      Children absolutely love play tents and I recently learn that my puppy is no exception. I bought a new play tent for my little niece, set it up in the living room before her arrival and half an hour later found my puppy and all her toys magically sitting inside the tent waiting for my niece. It was adorable! My niece was delightful to find out that play tent came with a playmate :)

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 6 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      Play tents are awesome! Kids love them, so do pets often :)

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 6 years ago


    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Wow, kids love these...

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 6 years ago

      Had no idea there were so many!