* Prices may differ from that shown
While browsing Argos for my daughter's birthday we decided to buy this play tunnel along with the matching tent. They are available for around £10 each, or you can purchase them part of a two for £15 offer. We decided to buy the pink version to match the pink tent, but it is available in a multicolour version that is more suitable for boys and girls. The tunnel is very easy to set up, just remove the packaging and undo the Velcro fastenings and it will pop up. When I opened it I was next to my coffee table and hadn't expected it to be quite so abrupt. It really fly's open so I would suggest an adult opens and puts this away for that reason. While there is no storage provided it actually folds back down so it doesn't take up much space. There are Velcro fastenings on either side that when looped around the ends, they hold the tunnel together making it really compact. This means in theory it could be easily transported, but we only really use it in the house and garden. The tunnel looks very pretty. It is made up of a number of different shades of pink and purple. There are also little peep holes down the side of the tunnel so little one can peer outside while they are crawling down. This helps them feel the tunnel is a little more open and reassures them, and it makes more opportunities for playing games. It is a good size and even my son at 6 has plenty of room to crawl through. It is not overly long but certainly long enough for preschool children to enjoy. It is perfect at encouraging young babies to crawl and explore, and is still usable as they get older and more active. This toy has an age recommendation of two years plus. We purchased this for my one year old daughter and she is able to use it without any problems at all. You do need parent supervision as when little one moves so will the tunnel, and they could easily become caught inside. I would suggest adult supervision even for children within the age recommendation, as my children tend to roll towards walls, or other areas that could potentially cause harm. We use this as an inside toy more than an outside toy. I just find it is too light weight and with even the slightest of breezes it rolls across the garden. While little one is playing this is not too much of a problem as they weigh it down, but it is not something you could leave unattended in the garden as it would just blow away. The tunnel is great for encouraging little ones to crawl and move around. They never seem to tire of crawling back and forth, and sometimes rolling around inside the tunnel. It also boosts the imagination as my children try to come up with any story possible that involves a tunnel or bridge for them to use this as a prop. All of my children love this tunnel. While it is a very simple toy they love crawling through the tunnel over and over again. It is best used with the matching tent as it provides a destination for little one to get too, but it is still fully usable on its own. I have recently thrown the tent away but the tunnel is still in good condition, and receives play from all of my children. It is something that only gets a small amount of use, but as it is used daily, so has proved to be more than worth the £7.50 we paid for it. The material on the play tunnel is about the only downside for me. It just feels rough to the skin. It cannot hurt your child, but it does feel a little scratchy against skin. My children do not seem to mind the material at all which is what matters. The material is also a little thin, but as yet it has not ripped at all. It is a little misshaped where my children have climbed over the tunnel rather than inside it. This does not affect play at all so it would not stop me purchasing it. I would recommend this play tunnel. It has lasted well even with four children using it. It is becoming a little grubby from play outside but my children really do love it. This is something that gets played with little and often and has certainly proved to be worth the retail price. It looks attractive and can be reduced in size for storage so it does not take up too much space. It is available online at Amazon but I found it better value as part of the 2 for £15 offer at Argos.
My oldest son had a tunnel tube when he was small, he had an amazing amount of fun with it and it only seemed right that I bought one for my youngest. The tube is made of wipe able fabric that has metal concertinaed into it to allow it to fold down for easy storage. The tube is approximately four foot long and is about a foot and a half in diameter. It is obviously designed for younger children and collapses very easily under pressure so we have had a few tears when a cousin landed on top whilst my little one was crawling throw. This however is inevitable as my boys are so boisterous that not a day goes by without at least one bump or scrape. The tunnel though bounces back into shape quickly and is not adversely affected which makes it in my eyes very hardy and it has been tested by not only my kids but numerous friends and relatives. This is often the first toy that is got out at barbeques and although we do have permanent garden toys out like a trampoline, slide, scooter and cars and trikes this still seems to be the toy that is fought over. Why do kids all want to play with the same toy at the same time regardless of the number of toys available....grrr! There are additions you can purchase for this including a ball pit and tepee tent which very easily connect to either end of the tube. You can make a huge assault course by buying additional tubes and tents. The tube is in bright colours which my son loves and he constantly asks to have it out. My oldest sons tube did start to wear along the wire so I am vigilant in regard to the ends as my oldest did scratch himself quite badly on his prior to it being thrown out. My oldest son is disappointed that he is no longer able to play with this and does try and join in the game chasing my little one around the tube and attempting to chase him throw. The tube is great quality and both my sons have had a great deal of joy from these tubes. They encourage exercise and make the garden a lot more interesting to play in. The last tube we had lasted a good few years and was only thrown because of the exposed wire that had come throw the frayed fabric but he used it almost daily and it was often put up in the house during the winter months, so we certainly got our money's worth. I says it is designed for two and over but my nephew who is only eight months old enjoys crawling throw it and touching the sides with us touching his hand throw the fabric, he stops and laughs as travels through it...its sooo cute..lol! The tub folds up and is buttoned shut for easy storage, which is ideal because we have so many outdoor toys and games that storage can become an issue. This is a popular toy in our house and is very versatile, I have taken it on picnics and to the beach because it collapses flat and transports very easily. The only thing I would say is that it is very lightweight and although this is a benefit for transporting and storage can become a problem when used in windy conditions. Definitely worth the money...I recall paying around £9.99 for mine but it now retails for £12.21 in Amazon and £9.99 in Argos for the tube with small port hole type windows along the side. I have noticed that Argos has a pink option and also for £24.99 you can purchase the tube and two additional tents as a set. My tube however is solid fabric with no windows. My kids spend a lot of time outside and this was a great buy.
I have a number of toys for my little boy to play with that encourage him to be active because if he can wear himself out by running around the garden and playing with his toys then he's more likely to go to sleep at bedtime and, more importantly, stay asleep. One piece of apparatus that he has is the Chad Valley Children's Play Tunnel which he's had now for about 18 months. I can't remember how much exactly I paid for it back then, but it is currently available from Argos for £10.49. I think this price is a decent price because it makes a good addition to my sons garden toys. The Chad Valley Children's Play Tunnel is, as the name suggests, a cloth tunnel which my son can crawl in and out of. It's about 1 metre in length and so it's long enough for my son to crawl through, but not too long to be daunting. It is about 45cm in diameter and so it's big enough for a child up to the age of about 6 to crawl through easily (having said that, my 8 year old can fit through it but it is a bit of a squeeze). It is made of orange, green and blue strips and so it is brightly coloured and attractive to children. One thing I really like about this apparatus is the fact that it is very easy to store and also to transform to it's non-storage form. Initially there are velcro strips that hold the tunnel in a collapsed form and this means that the tunnel is collapsed down small which makes storage easy. However, if you undo the velcro strips then the tunnel pops open with no effort at all - and then it's all ready to go. There are rings around it to give it form and to stop it collapsing inwards. The material is hard wearing and rainproof and so it's fine to use in the garden as long as it's not too wet. I do tend to close it down and leave it in the shed when it's not in use in order to protect it. Despite my son and his friends crawling through it many times, it has not worn or come apart and it looks almost as good as the day I bought it - although a little creased. My son really loves theChad Valley Children's Play Tunnel and it generally tends to be part of hide-and-seek and adventure play. My son and his friends are always chasing each other through it, and lying in it and then rolling over and over. It seems to be really good fun for him - and for this reason I recommend this for anyone with a young child.
We got this childrens play tunnel at the same time as we bought the matching teepee and it cost less than £10 which has been good value for the amount of play time it has received. Our little one has had this since he was about 1 and just learning to take his first steps, and still occasionally gets it out at the age of 2 when other more exciting toys are available. Its usage has decreased but it's still great fun to throw a ball through to each other, or use it as a 'slide' down from the sofa to the carpet (with a beanbag underneath it as support, otherwise your child would just plummet to the ground!). I'm sure we'll take it outside again this Spring/Summer once the weather improves and use it in conjunction with his tent and paddling pool/ball pool. It's multicoloured which always helps with a childs vocabulary and recognition skills, and is made of a mesh type fabric, stitched together in a spiral pattern and strengthened with fairly strong wire inside the spiral. So far it has lasted well without any tearing or holes appearing, and it's still in excellent condition. The tunnel is approximately 4ft long and is only really wide enough for children to use comfortably. The major benefit with this toy is that the spiral design basically makes it act like a spring, so you can squash it down and use the two attached fabric straps and velcro to tie it together around its middle, making storage a doddle. When next required, simply unattach the strap from the velcro fastening and it'll spring out quickly into the tunnel shape. Be careful, a few times when the second strap has been loosened it's nearly taken my face off it was that powerful. Best not do this with a small child around! Ideal for indoor and outdoor use and despite its simplicity, it's very versatile and easy to transport. It does however work best in a larger room otherwise you end up having difficulty getting in either end. As an adult of reasonable size, I always get stuck inside it so definitely best left to the children!
I think it's safe to say that 16 month old Freddy has more than reaped my experience of knowing which toys are must haves and which are duds. While it may have taken me a while to discover some toys that I would now call essential with my other (now adult) children, as soon as he was born I knew that there were certain toys that I would have to get for him. One of the toys I knew I would be getting was a play tunnel, which is a great way of encouraging him to move, get exercise and generally gain a slightly new perspective on the world. The tunnel that I decided to buy was the Chad Valley Children's Play Tunnel that can be purchased from Argos for £10.79. I actually bought this with the matching tent taking advantage of their two for £15 offer, meaning that the tunnel really only cost £7.50. ==Hidey-bo - A Parent's View== The Chad Valley Children's Play Tunnel (henceforth known as simply the tunnel) comes supplied in a reasonably small cardboard box. On opening the box I was a little disappointed, for some reason I had expected the tunnel to come in a bag, ah that would be because when I last bought one (15+ years ago), the tunnel did come in a zip up bag. Oh well a bag would have been a nice feature, but isn't essential so I won't be taking a star off for that. This is a pop-up tunnel, meaning that absolutely no construction is necessary. To prepare the tunnel for play you simply need to undo the two pieces of Velcro that are holding it closed and it pops open in a quite dramatic manner. I will say that I wouldn't allow a young child to open this out as it does pop open in a pretty violent manner that could cause injury to the child or damage to ornaments. Closing the tunnel is also easy, simply being a case of holding one end and then pulling the other end towards you and closing the Velcro. So far, with about three months of daily opening and closing the Velcro is still holding firm and as sticky as it was on day one. Once closed the tunnel takes up a remarkably small amount of space, being about 42cm in diameter and only a couple of centimetres in depth, making storage simple. Once opened up the tunnel does take up a fair amount of space, which means it's a good size for play. The Argos website tells me it's a metre in length and while I've not got out the tape measure, I'd say that this is about right, even though it does look a lot longer. I'm 5'1" (or 154cm) and if I stand it on end the tunnel comes up to my chest, so if anything it's a little more than a metre in length. (The Argos website does state that designs and specifications may vary). When I've previously bought tunnels they've been made of brightly coloured, silky material, much like parachute silk, that while not exactly waterproof is shower proof. But this tunnel is made of a much rougher material that is relatively open weave. What this material reminds me of is the fabric budget duvets are covered in. Not only that but the colours are quite muted, with it being formed of stripes of dull orange, blue and green. It just doesn't look anywhere nearly as attractive as it's predecessors and I certainly wouldn't rate it's chances in a seasonal summer shower. I did think that perhaps the material had changed as the original type was so flammable, but there is still a large warning to keep this away from flames (which I would have though was pretty much a given really). That same label also states that this tunnel should not be put in a washing machine or tumble drier and is wipe clean only. Now that's what I call obvious. Other than my very obvious gripe with the material the tunnel does appear to be fairly well made and durable. All the stitching is still in place, there are no holes and the spiral of bendy wire that holds the tunnel rigid is still in the right shape. And that's with over three months of use, both indoors and out and being played with not only by the now 16 month old Freddy but also his older toddler friends. So as an adult I'm going to give the tunnel four stars out of five, with it losing that star simply because of the material it's made from. But as with any toy, it's not just my opinion that counts... ==Boo - A Toddler's View== Although this tunnel is marketed as suitable for children over the age of two, I can see nothing about it that would cause a hazard to younger children, as long as they are adequately supervised. In fact I would really suggest that any child is supervised when playing with the tunnel as it is light enough for them to lift and could damage to ornaments or other people if waved around. This tunnel was bought for Freddy just after his first birthday, when he was just starting to crawl, partly as a way of encouraging him to improve this newly acquired skill and partly because I was sure he would simply have fun. To start with Freddy wasn't quite sure what to do with the tunnel and was even a little nervous, but he soon found that Mummy playing peek-a-boo at one end while he sat at the other was hilarious. After a few days getting used to this strange new toy, Freddy discovered the delights of crawling through the tunnel. Although he is only 16 months old, Freddy is very tall for his age (wearing 18-24month clothes for the last couple of months) and pretty chunky. Even so there's plenty of room in the tunnel for him to crawl through on his hands and knees, although it's not high enough for him to sit up in the tunnel or wide enough for him to turn round. The tunnel is also big enough for much older children to crawl through, although older/larger children will need to crawl commando style. The oldest child who's played with this tunnel is only two, but I would say depending on their size children up to six, seven or above would still be able to get through. From experience these older children get just as much fun out of tunnels as younger toddlers, especially if it's combined with other toys as part of an obstacle course. Apparently the tunnel can be connected to the matching tent to add extra play value and indeed there is a circular door in the tent. But the tunnel is actually quite a bit smaller than this hole and there is no way of securing it in place, which is a bit of a disappointment. Even so Freddy absolutely loves his tunnel, whether it's set up indoors or out and will spend ages crawling through it, laughing as he gets to each end before turning round and starting again. It does seem that at this precise moment this is the most fun thing to do in the world. If he could express himself in words I'm pretty sure that Freddy would give this tunnel five out of five, especially see as he gets very upset when it's time to put it away in the evening and excited when I open it up in the morning. ==The Light At The End Of The Tunnel - Final Words== Although I was slightly disappointed that this tunnel didn't come in a bag and very disappointed with the material it is made from, I have to admit that at £7.50 (as part of the special offer) it was a remarkably good purchase. It's far more durable than it looks and has survived the pretty rough treatment that Freddy has meted out. It's also very lightweight, which means that it will easily blow away if left unattended in the garden, but also means that it's easy to transport to the beach, park or even a relatives. I've also watched Freddy's confidence playing with the tunnel increase, especially as he's got better and faster at crawling. And of course all exercise is good for our children and as Freddy gets older I'll be able to incorporate the tunnel into a mini assault course for him. So, Freddy and I are giving the tunnel four stars out of five (I just can't get over the lower quality material) and recommending it for children from toddlers who are able to crawl right up until they really can't fit through anymore (maybe up to 10).