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During the summer months, when we were lucky enough to have a couple of days of glorious warm sunshine, my daughter was loving being outside but it was difficult to shelter her from the sun even with her sunhat and a large umbrella. So, when I noticed Tesco selling some of their outdoor toys at half price at the time, I picked up their own brand Ball Pit Tent, costing me just under £5, half the usual price, and I thought at the reduced price this was a good bargain. I'm not sure I really would have wanted to pay the full amount.
This ball pit can be used both outside and inside, so I knew my daughter should get plenty of usage of it when the summer sun passed, which it soon did! In terms of putting this tent up, there are somewhat basic instructions that come with this tent, but it is pretty straigthforward. The tent comes folded up in a very small circular zip bag and when you first take it out, and practically pops up by itself. It does need the support however of the two tent poles which give it struture and sturdiness, which are are both needed when you have a child playing in it. The tent poles fold up easily when not in use.
This colourful ball pit tent comes with two doors, one that is open all the time, and the other that can be shut up using velcro attachments. One side of the tent is made of clear mesh so you can see through, and there are two circular holes at top part of the tent, which my daughter loves to put her hand through.
Obviously, most people will purchase accompanying plastic balls to use in this tent, thus making it like a ball pit, and I did so, but it can be used without these, especially if you are outdoors playing when it can simply be used as somewhere to play in that keeps a child better sheltered from the sun.
When I first got this tent my daughter was just under a year and she wasn't overly struck on it. She looked inside and sat in it, but other than that didn't give it much of a look. So, I put it away wondering if I had wasted my money. Fast forward a couple of months with my daughter over the year mark - I brought this tent out one wet afternoon to see if it would amuse her for a little time and since that time, it has remained up in her bedroom, being played in every day, and it now sometimes difficult to get her out of it. It has now become somewhere she loves playing in. We have it up against her bedroom wall, so the door that can be kept closed is against her wall. She loves throwing around the plastic balls, bringing her teddies in, getting me to read her stories in the tent, and sticking her hands in and out of the holes at the top.
The only negative comment I have about this tent is putting it away. THe only time I have put it away was at the beginning when my daughter wasn't interested and it was a real nightmare to put away. Getting the tent poles out is no problem but it is folding it down to get it back in the bag is next to impossible. There are some limited instructions on the sheet that came with the tent, but these proved useless. So, i simply folded it down as much as I could and stuffed it into the bag as best as possible but it wasn't easy and it still stuck out of the bag. The truth of the matter is that the bag that the tent comes in is far too small to be truly able to pack this tent away properly when not in use.
All in all, I am so glad I purchase this toy as it really has been invaluable on days when she is grumpy or its wet and she can't get outside. One mention of playing in the tent, brings a smile across her face and she could be in there for quite a while. At the price I paid I think it has been a real bargain, but I am still not sure I would pay the full price, especially since it is impossible to get it folded back the way it came.