Updated 5th January 2022.
Teepee tents have become an incredibly popular purchase for parents in recent years. They're full of fun and the kids can get truly creative in their teepees.
But there are also important things to consider when buying a children's teepee. That’s why we’re taken a detailed look at what they are, and what you need to know before buying the best teepee tent for your children.
What is a teepee tent?
Teepees – or tipis - are traditionally Native American homes, made with animal skins and canvas more recently. Historically, they would be held up by a number of wooden poles to create a cone shape, with two smoke flaps to allow fires to be lit inside.
They offer their occupants warmth during cold winters, cool air during hot summers and cover from rain. The speed at which they could be put up and taken down also made them incredibly useful for the nomadic lifestyles of the Native American people.
Rightly or wrongly, there have been some criticisms of teepees for ignoring their traditional routes. Some have questioned whether they are, in fact a cultural appropriation of a Native American home.
Nevertheless, teepees have become common in many homes around the world as a space for children to play and learn. As they have become more popular, ‘teepee’ has been used as the term to describe a variety of similar structures such as yurts or bell tents.
Why are teepee tents so popular?
Whether it’s a treehouse, a fort made from cushions and bedsheets, or a playhouse in the garden, children have loved having their own special place for generations. There's a few reasons why teepee tents in particular are so popular:
Ways to play in a teepee
One of the big draws of a teepee is their versatility. Regardless of how they’re designed, they can be used in so many ways, such as:
There are few things more enchanting than when a child becomes fully immersed in a book, captured by its wonders. But for some children (and adults for that matter!), they need to be free of distractions to jump head first into a book. Teepees create a quiet, comfortable, cosy space, making the perfect environment to read in
Whether it’s the design itself, or the accessories and toys placed inside, a teepee can act as the central hub of children’s role play. Given their origins, Cowboys & Indians is a common theme and more modern iterations often depict the latest film craze like Star Wars or Frozen. Either way, it encourages children to use their imagination
Whether it’s a place to jam together, a quiet place for them to practice, or it’s a younger child just wanting to make some noise and have some fun, the teepee can become just the space you need.
With phones and TVs, laptops and even voice assistants, it can sometimes be hard to get children to sit down and play a board game without getting distracted soon after. A teepee tent is a great place to block all that out and get going with some quiet board game fun.
Offering protection from the sun, you can take all the fun and enjoyment that teepees offer indoors and move them outside. They provide great protection from the sun, making it a cool place to read, play or rest during the hot summer months.
Sometimes children just need somewhere to chill out. Whatever they’ve been doing, we all know that they can get very worn out and just need somewhere to take a break for a bit. And a teepee tent is the perfect place to do that because it’s their space, where they feel comfortable and relaxed.
What to look for when buying a teepee tent?
Here are six things you need to look for to find the perfect teepee for you and your child.
Naturally, the size of the teepee is going to be one of the most determining factors. It could otherwise be the perfect option, but if you just don’t have the space for it, it’s no use. Secondly, you need to consider what you’d like your child to use it for. If they’re more likely to use it to play, perhaps with friends, you’re going to want a bigger one. Consider whether or not you can fit in it, too.
The look and practicality you want from your child’s teepee will determine the material you go for. These days, the majority of teepees use cotton for the fabric, while canvas is still common among more expensive choices. If you’re looking for something to use more regularly outside, you may want to go for a waterproof fabric. And, cheaper options often use polyester.
Some teepees are designed and made specifically for babies and toddlers. Don’t worry, teepees aren’t inherently dangerous to babies or toddlers, so you won’t be putting your child in harm’s way by buying a regular one. Some are just designed and made specifically for younger children with a variety of features and accessories. They really do vary from product to product, so it’s best to read more about each one.
Okay, it’s not important to your child, but it’s important to you. Regardless of what it is, we as parents want to be able to put something together as quickly and easily as possible so the little ones can have their fun. Generally, most take around 15 minutes to assemble and tying the poles together at the top can be a little fiddly, so do it with someone else if possible.
Although things like size, practicality and price might be major factors for you as parents, how it looks is the most important thing to children.
Despite their Native American roots, children’s teepees often have a Scandinavian look about them – pale cotton fabric, patterned designs, pale wood. Of course, you can get some that look a bit more ‘out there’, and there are always character-based ones from films and TV programmes.
The 10 best teepee tents for children
“A traditional canvas which you can also customise to your taste!”
This teepee is an excellent option to allow for customisation, particularly when it comes to accessories. Adding a floor, cushions, blankets and lights is where your child can really make this their own. It stands at 5 feet tall with a 58 inch length by 46 inch width base. It is made from 100% natural cloth fabric. It features two small side windows, deep pockets on the inside, and tie-back doors.
“More than enough space for dad to fit in too, and can be used both indoors and outdoors."
This teepee tent from Ningbo is perfect for toddlers, standing a little bigger and taller than most on the market at 47.3x47.3x61 inches. The bright and intricate designs include aeroplane and object patterns which will support early stage learning, along with just being great fun. It comes with natural wooden poles and is made from 100% breathable cotton canvas.
“Everything you need to get started, making it amazing value for money.”
This option from Haus Projekt comes with a handful of amazing extras and features to bring something different. It comes with pink or blue bunting, a pack of star-shaped fairy lights, a waterproof base and inside storage compartments for books and small toys. The fabric is made from sustainable cotton and the poles include silicon caps to prevent the teepee slipping.
“This is the ultimate in outdoor practicality without compromising on design.”
This teepee from Garden Games offers a great combination of vibrant design and practicality. The blue geometric design makes it stand out while the 100% cotton canvas is treated with a water-resistant coating, giving the flexibility and protection to play outdoors even in light rain. The coating also makes it very easy to clean. It is particularly easy to assemble with plastic connectors and wooden spacers.
“Perfect for any young Paw Patrol fan!”
Fans of Paw Patrol will be over the moon with this teepee. The design is transferred on the inside as well, meaning your little one will be able to see their favourite band of pups inside and out. The front design will help them to imagine they’re in the famous Paw Patrol lookout, about to start their next adventure. Its poles are plastic with polyester fabrication and it comes with an integrated floor. With a smaller 100cm base, it’s perfect for younger children.
This floral-themed patchwork teepee from Little Dove is one of the most striking designs on the market. It stands at 70.87 (L) x 23.62 (W) x 23.62 (H) inches. Like the others on this list, the fabric is 100% unpainted, natural cotton canvass, but what make's it different is the striking lace design which gives it a grand feel.. It comes with a matched carry case and assembles in a matter of minutes.
"Great value for money and range of designs."
Coming in a range of eight colours and designs, the teepee from BABYMAM gives flexibility in appearance as well as great value for money. Whether it’s the grey elephant pattern or pink and green feathers, each design is made from 100% cotton and comes with a hypoallergenic fleece floor, three small cushions and two small heart pendants.
"Stunning Nordic design."
This Nordic-themed teepee is a great option that combines practicality with appearance. Complimenting any Scandanavian-themed room, it is made with 100% extra thick cotton and includes a thick, non-slip floor mat, handmade dream catcher and carry bag. It also comes with a small window and inside pockets, perfect for storing books.
This teepee from Izabela Peters is a wonderful way of adding some personalisation to a bedroom. The design features delicate flowers, trees, bunting and a bird with a customisable message sitting above the doorway. The fabric is 100% cotton and it stands at 135cm with a 120cm square base.
"The little touches make this such an elegant choice."
Despite a largely plain white cotton canvas fabric, the small touches of lace and pompoms give this teepee a touch of luxury about its appearance. It also comes with a non-slip matte floor, small cushion and carry case, adding great value for money. It is 145cm tall with a 120cm base. The poles are made from heavy duty New Zealand pine, meaning they’ll be able to withstand any crazy play.
How to assemble a teepee tent
Most teepees are pretty straightforward to assemble. But a few parts can be a little fiddly, so it’s best to do with someone else and you’ll have it ready in around 15 minutes or so.
In terms of what comes in the box, there’s actually very little to get stressed about. The majority include the four wooden poles, the fabric and rope (or similar) to tie the poles together.
Some teepees vary slightly in their assembly, so it’s always important to double check any instructions. But, thanks to simplesimonandco.com here are the basics of assembling a teepee:
Step 1: Inserting the poles
Lay out everything flat on the floor. Insert the four wooden poles into the tube-like casings at each corner of the fabric. Do not tie the knots at the bottom of the poles just yet.
Step 2: Raising the tent
With a little help from someone else, stand the poles up creating a square shape and bring the poles together in the centre.
Step 3: Tying the poles
Using the rope (or similar material provided), tie a knot around one of the poles. Then, using a figure of 8 motion, tie that pole to a second pole. Once the two poles are secure, do the same with the third pole and again with the fourth. It really helps to have someone holding the poles together securely while the other ties.
Step 3 continued
This is how your figure of 8 should come together.
Step 4: Fixing the square
Once you have all four poles tied securely together, spread the bottom of each pole as much as possible into a square shape. Once you’re happy with the position, you can tie the bottom knots to the wooden poles.
Teepee tents - dad stories
There's nothing we love more than seeing dads with their children in their teepees. Here are some of the stories we've loved and been inspired by.
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