Tuesday 23 October 2012

Wigwam Play Tent Review

Following my review last year of Garden Games’ Hexagonal Wooden Sandpit I was recently asked if I would like to review a product from their sister site Playhouses.  When they offered me a Wigwam Play Tent I jumped at the chance as I thought little man would love to play in a wigwam and it’s not every day you get the chance to play in one.

The wigwam came in a compact box.  The box contained all of the pieces needed to assemble the wigwam –

*  12 wooden poles – 6 with a hole and a groove and the other 6 with only a groove
*  6 plastic connectors
*  1 water resistant cotton canvas
*  1 rope
*  6 wooden balls

On the side of the box there are instructions informing you how to assemble the wigwam correctly.  Lee put the wigwam together in under 15 minutes, having no difficulties and he liked the fact that no tools were needed to build the wigwam.  He said it was easy to put together and the instructions were surprisingly helpful and very easy to understand and follow.  To assemble the wigwam ready for play you simply –

*  Pair up the poles so that you have 1 of each (1 with a hole and groove and 1 with only a groove) and connect the poles together using 1 of the 6 plastic connector tubes which has a indentation inside that slots into the groove on the poles securing them in place.
*  Lay the canvas on the floor and thread the poles through the elastic loops inside the canvas cover and slot the poles into the holes in the canvas, ensuring that the poles are put in place with the pole that has the hole in it facing upwards and through the hole at the top of the wigwam.
*  Once all of the poles are in place, thread the rope through the holes at the top of the poles, separating the poles with 1 of the wooden balls.  Once all of the poles are threaded with the rope and a ball is in-between each pole tie the rope to secure in place.
*  Stand the wigwam, adjusting the poles so that a wigwam shape is achieved.
*  Tighten the draw string on the canvas, securing the wigwam in place.

The wigwam looks great when finished and is surprisingly big with a height of 1.9 meters and a diameter of 1.4 meters.  Inside the wigwam it is very spacious with plenty of room for both mummy and little man to sit in there comfortably.  I was surprised by how spacious it is inside the wigwam which I think is great as I believe 2-3 children (depending on age and size) can play inside together happily without it feeling crowded.  It does take up a lot of room so if you are tight on space this wigwam may not be ideal however the wigwam can be used outside which may be a good solution for people who do not have a lot of space inside to accommodate a large wigwam.

Even though Lee found it easy and straight forward to build the wigwam he did comment that due to the size of the wigwam and the poles in particular plenty of room is needed when assembling it.  It would be easy to dismantle the wigwam so that you can store it easily; however we have not done this, instead we have found that by untying the rope that secures the canvas we can push the poles together so that it is more compact to put away in the spare room when it is not in use.  Rather than fully dismantling it and having to completely reassemble it by doing this the wigwam is ready to play with again when needed,  with only the poles needing to be adjusted to achieve a the wigwam shape and the wigwam and canvas being secured in place using the rope.

I am very impressed with the quality of the canvas; it is thick and feels very hard wearing which is great as I think it could easily withstand a lot of abuse without ripping or tearing, even surviving little man’s toddler tantrums which is no easy feat.  The heavy duty canvas is water resistant so it can be used outdoors, making the wigwam fun for little ones both indoors and outdoors.

As well as the high quality, hard wearing canvas the wigwam is made with solid wooden poles.  I like that the poles slot into the canvas at the bottom and are held in place against the canvas with elastic loops which I think helps make the wigwam more secure.  When assembled and in place the wigwam is quite sturdy however I am apprehensive that it would tumble if little man accidentally fell into the poles when he is flying around the room like a destructive whirlwind but so far this had not happened and I may just be worrying unnecessarily.  I like the feature of the wooden balls separating the poles, which helps secure the poles in place ensuring that an equal distance is achieved between the poles.

I love the design of the wigwam and I think the bold design of shapes, animals and bright colours are perfect to portrait the theme ‘wigwam’ and ‘cowboys and Indians’.  This wigwam is unisex, suitable for both girls and boys who will equally love the design and enjoy playing in their own little wigwam.

When little man saw the wigwam he shrieked with delight and instantly ran inside to investigate.  He absolutely loves it; he enjoys taking his teddies inside (and equally enjoys chucking them out too!), loves playing hide and seek with us with him hiding inside his funky wigwam and he also loves to sit inside with a few comfy cushions to rest on as he looks at his books and plays with his toys.

I look forward to next summer so that we can use the wigwam outside.  I think the wigwam is ideal for fun playtime outside and as well as being great for entertaining children as they play outside it would also be a great shelter for children from the sun (that is if we do have sunny weather!).

I think this wigwam is great and I am sure that little man will have lots of fun playing with it over the years as he gets older.  I love that it can be used as a quiet haven for calm time and for relaxed reading as well as being used as a fun prop for imaginative play.  It is an ideal prop for children to use for make-believe and role play as it helps encourage children to use their imagination and play in a way that develops their independence.

Even though little man loves the wigwam it is aimed at children aged 3years+.  I think a great alternative to the wigwam is the Rocket Play Tent which looks bright and colourful for little ones to be attracted to.  Even though the rocket play tent is also aimed at children aged 3years+, in my opinion it appears to be sturdier than the wigwam as it has a wooden frame that is assembled and secured using screws and connectors.  

This great quality wigwam is a fantastic alternative to standard play tents and it is not something I have seen in high street shops.  The wigwam can be bought on the Big Game Hunter’s Playhouse Shop for the current price of £49.99 which I think is good value for money for a versatile, entertaining, easy to assemble product that is very well made with high quality materials that little ones will love. 

More information about Big Game Hunters and Playhouses.co.uk

* Playhouses.co.uk kindly sent us this Wigwam to review for free, despite this I have written an honest review that contains my own words and opinions * 

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