- What: Kids play tunnel
- When: 9 months and up
- Why: Affordable, durable, appealing to large age range
- Where: Amazon
I love this pop up tunnel almost as much as all three of my kids. My son received it as a gift at age 2, and we’ve loved it since the first moment. The kids like the bright colors and crawling through it, as well as any other games they invent using it as a prop.
I love the way it stores flat. It fits back into the included carrying case with zero effort (unlike the ball pit), and I can keep it in easy reach but out of sight behind the living room furniture. After rolling around on my floor for years, and with my kids rolling around in it, the polyester fabric does not have a single spot, stain, or tear.
The six foot length means more than one kid can fit in it at a time. My kids also like to play a monster game, where they stand up with the tunnel around them and attempt to scare each other. The tunnel stays upright and then folds over at their head height, allowing them to see out. I find this game almost as amusing as they do.
The only snag we’ve run into is that one of the two ties has come off. It can be reattached without advanced sewing skills, but I figured out that one tie did the job. Having only one side tied flat means a bit more wrestling to get it back in the bag, but not enough for me to pull out the sewing kit.
The tunnel pops free as soon as you untie the strings. If you don’t want your kid setting it up without help, you can tie the strings in knots to prevent it from opening. Tying it in a bow means they can easily set it up on their own anywhere they can find six feet of space. My kids also love to put pillows under it, or have the tunnel land on a pile of pillows as they slide down it from the sofa, so the fact that it hasn’t ripped or torn speaks to the durability under duress.
You can also leave one side tied to make a u-shaped tunnel that takes up less space and offers even more playtime fun. The manufacturer suggests ages three and up, but I think any mobile kid, from crawling on, can enjoy it. I suppose the strings, if detached, could be a choking hazard for smaller kids, but I can’t imagine any other dangers. We’ve only used ours indoors but I can see it working well outside, too, thanks to the resilient tent-like material.