toys and entertainment

Best play tents and ball pits

Our top picks of play tents and ball pits

Top 5 tents and ball pits

Our favourite tents and ball pits around now

Why buy one?

Every baby and toddler loves playing in a ball pit. But did you know that they could also help to relax children and stimulate their development? Picking up and playing with the balls helps with motor skills and hand-eye coordination, and also aids a child’s focus and concentration. A play tent gives a child their own space and can help encourage imaginative games. This can assist with speech development and other communication and social skills. 

What to spend

You’ll find basic ball pits that cost from £10 and upwards, but there won’t be balls included, so you’ll have to factor in the extra cost. Those that come with balls cost more, often around the £30 mark. Play tents have a huge price range depending on their complexity, features and the material they’re made from. Pop-up tents ring in at around £15, with fabric tepee-style models costing upwards of £50.

What to look for

If you have a bigger budget, think about buying a multi-purpose model that can be used as something else before or afterwards, for example a play gym. Pop-up style tents are easier to assemble and store, and it’s useful if they can be used outside as well as indoors for added flexibility.

Chad valley ball pit 250Ball pit, £12, Chad Valley

Suitable for children from 12 months old, this simple purse-friendly ball pit is a must for lively toddlers. It can be used both inside your home and outdoors in the garden and pops up ready to use in a matter of seconds. It also folds away compactly for storage. You’ll have to buy the balls separately.

Bright starts play gym 2505-in-1 Ball Activity Play Gym, £63.99, Bright Starts

A multi-tasking baby gym that will keep your little one occupied from birth until toddlerhood. You can remove the play arch and fold up the sides of the mat to use it as a ball pit for older babies that can sit up. It comes with several toys and activities plus 35 plastic balls to use in ball pit mode.

Ikea play tent 250CIRKUSTÄLT children's tent, £12, IKEA

This tent creates a sheltered spot for little ones to play or just cuddle up in. It is recommended for ages from 18 months.

VTech ball pit 250Pop-a-ball pit, £33.99, VTech

This colourful pop-out pit that comes with around 30 balls and has a hoop for toddlers to post them through. There’s also an interactive panel with buttons to press to learn colours, shapes and numbers with songs to sing along to whilst your child plays.

Peppa Pig play tent 250Peppa Pig tent, £19.99, Getgo

Ideal for toddlers of two years and over, this pop-up tent has engaging pictures of Peppa and her friends and family on the walls. It’s easy to put up with rods to insert to keep it stable, plus there’s a roll up door, window and peek-a-boo hole for adults to engage with the child playing inside.

Best play tents and ball pits