Kidcampz Play Tent
Date: April 11, 2014
We asked two members of our GentleParenting Review Panel to test the Kidcampz play tent set, here’s what they thought:
Sally and her 8 Year Old Daughter
The day our Kidcampz kit arrived was perfectly timed with our new mattress. With our old king-size mattress on the bedroom floor my daughter and her dad built a single storey frame to cover the mattress and with her teddies, cushions, pillow, books, and her sleeping bag she slept in her tent for a week! We only took it down because we couldn’t get to the rest of her furniture!
A week later we had some friends for lunch, making a total of 4 boys aged 3, 4, 6 and 9 plus our daughter aged 8, a good testing team! The den building sustained their interest for over an hour. Cooperation, listening, leadership, following instructions, collaboration. There was no falling out, they worked together.
The sturdiness of the pieces made it a great kit for a group (although 1 green connector did snap off in an orange pole) the versatility of the connectors with multi angle options and velcro straps meant the children could achieve the shape they wanted and the blue clips secured the cover over the frame tightly.
When I talked to the older children about the den it was great to hear them using mathematical vocabulary. We had parents’ evening last week so I know this is something their teacher has really been pushing.
As a parent I think one of the advantages is the storage bag, it all packs away neatly and easily. It is no struggle for the children to disassemble and put away unlike so many other toys. The bright colours make the pieces stand out so nothing gets left behind.
The 9 year old boy loved the fact that he was free to design whatever he wanted and used trial and error to improve it. He has lots of camping experience and has been to forest school. The 8 year old girl showed a little frustration at not having a step by step instruction guide. We did watch the video on the website and this gave her more confidence to have a go. I have seen her grow with more ideas each time she has played with the kit. The weather has been particularly wet and windy recently so we can’t wait to get outside with Kidcampz soon, to the garden, the park and the woods.
Nicola and her children, aged 3 and 8 years.
We love camping. My children love camping for many reasons, but one of the things they love being able to do is hide away in the bedrooms of the tent when they want a bit of peace and quiet. And whilst we’re not fair-weather campers, we draw the line at camping in Winter. Which means no tent bedrooms to hide in.
So when this package arrived, there was much excitement in our household. Kidcampz is a creative play tent that can be used indoors or out. It consists of poles, connectors, clips, pegs, straps and a lightweight sheet which means that you can create the tent in any shape you want, even incorporating furniture into your design.
The first time we used it, we built a fairly standard design – sort of like a Wendy house – because the children decided that they wanted a meeting place, and they needed to fit their chairs inside, because otherwise it wouldn’t be a proper meeting. My son, however, has plans for other designs. He has a cabin bed, with a desk built in. There’s an opening under the desk which means he can crawl into the space under his bed. He is going to construct an entrance to this secret space to extend it.
So what was the tent like? Well, it needs an adult to help, since the connectors can be a bit stiff to get into the poles, but it definitely needs a child to put their imaginative spin on things. There are loads of poles and connectors (and velcro straps, which can be used to strap together poles if you want to create shapes that the connectors don’t allow), so there really are loads of possibilities for your building endeavours. The sheet is really big too.
We had a lot of fun experimenting with the best shape, height, angles etc so their meeting place was just right. The kit is aimed at 6-10 year olds, but my son and daughter and their big brother (16) were all involved in the construction.
The pieces in the kit seem to be robust – not cheap and flimsy, as these things sometimes can be – my daughter found that some pieces could be doubled up to make a pair of binoculars to spy on her three brothers. The inclusion of velcro straps eliminates any frustration that might come from having come up with a great design, only to find that the pieces won’t play ball. If the pieces won’t connect at the angles you want, you simply strap them together. The children really liked it, and I can see we are going to have a lot of fun with it over the coming year.
The Kidcampz is available to order from their website for £145 with free delivery.