“ Brand: PMS / Type: Playhouse / Tents „
My daughter has spent the last three months or so living in her dens, a pink blanket spread over the clothes airer and a cardboard box palace/tunnel thing lovingly created by my husband. However the pink blanket was sacrificed to the demands of my washing pile and the cardboard palace finally gave up the ghost and collapsed (in the middle of the night naturally) last week. So when my dad told me he had bought my daughter a small tent for her second birthday I was stupidly excited (I have to spend a lot of time in these dens too and a tent sounds more comfortable than a precarious house of cardboard!).
PMS are not a company I have heard of before but a click on their name from the Amazon product page reveals a mix of products which could all be classed as cheap and cheerful. Glittery buckets, inflatable baseball bats, keyrings and other oddments which probably make up most of the stock of pound shops and cheap bric-a-brac shops. So it has come as a bit of surprise to find that this tent hasnt disintegrated yet as even though it has only been four days most things like this that are going to disintegrate generally do in the first 48 hours (or is that just my toddler?).
It arrived in a red polyester bag, about 80 cms long and 15 cms wide with a drawstring at the top. There is a black carrying handle and a small clear pocket into which a simple card has been placed, detailing the size and materials. There are no instructions but you really dont need them! Inside the bag is the rolled up tent and a long thin blue bag containing the folded up fibreglass poles.
The tent is simply laid out on the floor, groundsheet against the floor. The two poles need to be unfolded and clicked together and then inserted diagonally in the exterior yellow pockets. You may need an extra person to help erect the tent and push the poles into the blue pockets in the groundsheet. Once up there is a tie at the top of the tent to hold the poles together and thats it! It took about three minutes and I would imagine it would be quicker to put it down and put it away.
The tent has a polyethylene groundsheet which is attached to all four polyester sides. It is fully waterproof (my daughter spills a lot of water on our tiled floor!) and feels very strong. The four sides are made of a relatively thin (but again quite strong) polyester, two sides are blue and two sides are red. At the top there are two yellow panels and two panels made of a light netting which allow air to circulate and light in. On one of the blue sides is a circular opening with a square yellow flap to cover it. The flap can be held down by two Velcro squares at the bottom or rolled up out of the way and tied back with the built in ties.
On one of the red sides the panel is split to make another opening. It can be held closed with two Velcro squares and there are three more at the bottom to secure it to the groundsheet if you want. Both sides can be rolled out of the way and held out of the way by the built in ties.
You should keep this away from fire. The card actually says keep away fire but I assume that this is what they mean.
This is a big childs tent in comparison to others I have seen. It measures 120x120x80cms and is large enough for me (Im 5 foot 6) to sit in the middle without bending my head. It can hold two adults and a child (with the adults feet sticking out the door) and one adult and a child very comfortably. Whilst I cant stretch out in it when the doors are closed, I can lie in a light curl with half the tent empty, or diagonally with my knees up. I would say that you could easily fit four excited toddlers in there, more if you really squished them in.
The card on the packet says three years plus, but its one of those things where you need to make your own judgements. I can see a mobile one year old loving this and my daughter is (only just) two and adores it. Maximum age range would be when they no longer want to sit in tents, I like sitting in there and so did my dad so maximum age range (thus far) is about 58 years old.
As we dont have a garden this was set up in our living room and there is already a selection of cushions, blankets and dollies in there, so I dont think it will be moved any time soon. If we had a garden I would probably have put it out there, although as it is very light it definitely needs to be held down with something inside e.g cushions or blankets. Its not for those who live in a wind tunnel! Because it is not in any particular shape it holds greater potential for imaginative play, it can become a castle, a prison, a boat, a house or anything else necessary to childrens games.
It doesnt look very sturdy but it has put up with a surprising amount of abuse from my toddler including being tipped right over with her inside, a monster attack that made the tent look as if it was going to take off from the outside and the continuous buffeting of constant entrances and exits by people of all shapes and sizes. The polyester has only pulled slightly in one place, on the larger door panels, where the material is tight and hard to pull together to Velcro. This is only one tiny mark and to be honest, I am really impressed.
When excited my daughter has a habit of misjudging the entrance height of the larger panels and quite often runs into the yellow panel above. This has done neither her nor the tent any damage and is very amusing to watch from the inside, as given the opacity of the panels it has the effect of a face pressed against a window. The opaque panels also allow you to check on the activity in the inside e.g. freestyle body art using a pilfered permanent pen which was quickly nipped in the bud.
Slightly older children may want to sleep in it, I can certainly see my daughter thinking of it as a big adventure in the future. Because it doesnt have any anchor ropes they can camp inside in safety and have lots of fun at the same time.
Because the tent is polyester dont expect to come out as immaculately coiffured as you went in. My daughters hair goes nearly vertical and she always comes out looking like she has been pulled through a hedge backwards (as do I). For some reason there is no problem with static electricity, so there are no giant shocks when you go in and out, although I have tiled floors so it may be different on carpet.
This is a lovely indoors and outdoors toy for children of all ages. You can set it up inside for rainy day play or as a den inside or outside. It is very easy to set up and put down and takes up very little space to store once rolled up. I wont guarantee that it will last for years, boisterous children may have it demolished in a summer but with gentle indoor use it may last for several years. It is certainly superior to one of those pop up tents which are small and almost impossible to put back down again (from my experience anyway).
My dad paid £4.95 from one of those bargain shops, but it is on Amazon for the frankly bargain price of £8.99. Definitely recommended.
Fibre glass poles. 998 g.