Which kids tunnel is best? 

Even though there are countless aisles of toys for every age, it can be challenging to find the perfect item for babies, toddlers or young kids that is both exciting and beneficial. However, one toy that checks all the boxes is a play tunnel. No kid can resist crawling through the tunnel, wondering what’s on the other side. And as a bonus, all that crawling is certain to burn your child’s excessive energy. 

If you’re looking for a comprehensive kids tunnel with games that can accommodate multiple kids, the Playz Kids Playhouse Jungle Gym with Pop-Up Tents and Tunnels is a top choice.

What to know before you buy a kids tunnel

Here are a few things to consider before buying a kids tunnel.

What is a kids play tunnel?

The most common play tunnel for kids is made of soft material with wire that folds up when not in use. It can be anything from a simple tunnel to a full maze of tunnels, tents and games. The tents can include windows or areas to stand. Some larger play tunnels may include a ball pit or a basketball game.

Benefits of a kids tunnel

When kids are younger, they learn by having fun. Here are a few benefits kids will gain by playing in a kids tunnel. 

  • Exercise: A play tunnel offers a way for kids to get their exercise without even realizing they are. From crawling through the tunnel repeatedly to jumping in the ball pit to shooting the basketball, all of those fun activities count as exercise.
  • Gross motor skills: Toddlers and babies especially can work on several gross motor skills from a kids tunnel. Babies can develop muscles needed to crawl forward and backward, and it also benefits children by engaging their entire body and building core and arm muscles.
  • Sensory development: A play tunnel provides so much sensory stimulation, including the different colors, the feel of the material and the sound it makes when you’re wiggling through the tunnel. This can help babies and toddlers develop their senses. However, for some children who experience sensory processing problems, many of the elements in a kids tunnel can help with sensory overload.

What to look for in a quality kids tunnel

Size

There are many different sizes of tunnels for kids. When choosing a size, you’ll want to consider the age of your children. If you want a tunnel for your baby who just learned to crawl, a simple, straight tunnel will likely be a lot of fun. However, for toddlers or young kids, you might want to consider an option that includes multiple tunnels and a few games to make sure they don’t get bored.

Safety

To ensure a play tunnel is safe, you’ll first want to check the age recommendation on the tunnel to ensure your kids fall into that range. Also, because most play tunnels are soft and collapsible, they won’t be able to support the weight of your child if they lean against it or try to climb on top. Lastly, it’s smart to check the tunnel to ensure no wires have popped out of the material, which can happen if a wire breaks.

Extra features

If you want something more than a simple, straight tunnel, there are a ton of options, including sets that include multiple tunnels, tents, a basketball hoop and a ball pit. However, many expansive tunnels take up a large area, so be sure you have the space if you want a lot of extra features.

How much you can expect to spend on a kids tunnel

Depending on the material, size and features, kids tunnels cost between $10-$150. 

Kids tunnel FAQ

Can I clean my play tunnel in the washing machine?

A. Since the majority of play tunnels for kids contain metal wiring inside the material that cannot be removed, they cannot be put in the washing machine. If it gets dirty, you should be able to hand wash it with a damp washcloth and soap. However, it’s always best to read the manufacturer’s instructions first. 

Can I use a kids tunnel for my dogs?

A. Most soft play tunnels are safe for dogs and can be used to provide fun or as a training tool. However, since the material is thin, a dog’s nails could rip or put holes in the material.

What are the best kids tunnels to buy?

Top kids tunnel

Playz Kids Playhouse Jungle Gym with Pop Up Tents and Tunnels

Playz Kids Playhouse Jungle Gym with Pop Up Tents and Tunnels

What you need to know: If you’re looking for a comprehensive tunnel playset, this option offers space for multiple kids, an exciting maze and games. 

What you’ll love: While there are several pieces, it’s straightforward to assemble and is lightweight. Plus, you can combine the tunnels and tents in various ways or keep them freestanding in different areas.

What you should consider: The ball pit balls are not included and can be a little expensive.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top kids tunnel for the money

Poco Divo 6-Foot Play Tunnel

Poco Divo 6-Foot Play Tunnel

What you need to know: This simple and affordable kids play tunnel offers enjoyment without taking up too much space.

What you’ll love: Set up is fast and simple with its pop-up design, and it easily folds up and comes with a convenient carrying case. Plus, the multi-color tunnel provides visual stimulation and fun.

What you should consider: The tunnel is not designed to withstand rough play — the material is thin.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Hide N Side Kids Play Tunnels

Hide N Side Kids Play Tunnels

What you need to know: With its unique design, this play tunnel can provide hours of excitement for multiple kids.

What you’ll love: This kids tunnel comes with four tunnels and a central area, which is ideal for multiple kids or keeping one child busy for hours. Each tunnel also comes with an easy twist lock to quickly set up and put away.

What you should consider: Similar to most soft, foldable tents, inside the material contains wires that could pop out if they’re broken.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Bre Richey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.