Making a Den: TeePees, Tents, and Wigwams
Amongst our most recent purchases and gifts for the children are a pair of complimenting TeePees, which they received this Christmas. For the boy (nearly 3), a red star pattern one, and for the girl (18 months), a grey star pattern one. They were an instant hit on Christmas morning… “WOW! Mummy, is that MY tent?!?!?” gasped the boy, whilst the girl set about immediately filling hers with her stuffed toys!
I like the name “TeePee”, because I think it sounds cute, but they are also known as Wigwams or Tents. Strictly speaking the more conical shaped structure we have is more a “TeePee” than a “Wigwam”, because historically wigwams consisted of a frame of arched poles with roofing made from brush, bark, reeds, cloth or hides. Whereas an authentic TeePee would have been made of wooden poles covered with animal skins, and with smoke flaps in the top. The boy simply calls it his “tent”, and to the girl it's a "house"!
Having your own “Den” as a child.
All children, as soon as they are old enough, enjoy having a little space which is their own. A den; where they can arrange their toys, read, enjoy imaginative play. I remember when I was young un-poppering my duvet cover and crawling inside it, so I was on top of the duvet, but under the top layer. I loved playing in there after bedtime, with a torch and a book, or my teddies/dolls, and used to love the cosy, enclosed space. Then as an older child, I played in the woods, or fields behind our house, making “dens” out of whatever nature presented me and my friends with.
I came across a blog the other week that we follow on Twitter, on why Children like tents and forts, and was interested to learn that den building and playing is part of an important developmental stage. I enjoyed the read (and love Montessori) so am sharing the Montessori Pack’s blog here for you too.
Choosing our TeePees.
This was no easy task. Amongst my criteria were ones that looked good, so that the kids would love it now, and also were stylish enough that their appeal would last through the years. I wanted to like it too. I wanted TeePees that were sufficiently neutral that when their bedroom themes change, the TeePees would still fit in.
I did a Google search for TeePees, looked at quite a few on Amazon, and also on one of my favourite sites for the Children’s toys, the Great Little Trading Company. Here at Five Little Stars we love the reliable characteristic of quality in a brand. This we have found by the bucket load in the products we have previously purchased from the Great Little Trading Company. Indeed for the last two Christmas’ in a row, my children’s big item presents have been from this Company. So when I saw the TeePees they had to offer (also searchable under “Wigwam” and “Tent” on their website), the reviews about them, and that there was a bit of a sale on too, I decided they looked to be the best choice available from my research.
They arrived quickly and were packaged well. The packages were long and thin, being half the length of the pole height. The Great Little Trading Company offers delivery from £4.95, and free returns. They also offer international delivery on some items, the cost of which is calculated at the checkout.
They were really very easy to assemble, with straightforward instructions to follow. I did it on my own, quickly, AND whilst recovering from the flu. So anyone can do it!
As expected, really good quality. The fabric is thick and strong, and the whole structure is relatively sturdy. The poles can move around (as is usual with a TeePee design) altering the shape of the space, but it is very easy to stretch them all out again. We have ours on wooden floors, so I expect that were they on carpet this would happen less. This also makes them easy to "close up" and pack away if needed. I have seen other friends' lovely TeePees for their children (my inspirations for the purchases) and these really compare favourably. I particularly love the attached floor feature, which is washable, and not all TeePees have. If I had any advice for improvement, it would be for a padded floor option, but this is only really because of our hard floors. The little window is a cute feature, and the kids really enjoy this too!
I did have a little pang of disappointment that the star pattern isn’t on the very front of the Grey TeePee, whereas the red one is. So they don’t quite match, as I had envisioned in my mind. The panels on both alternate between stars, and deckchair type stripes. This was entirely brought about by my own lack of observation skills though because both the grey and red ones we have are exactly as shown on the Great Little Trading Company’s website. My husband thought I was being silly… I was!
The dimensions are on the Great Little Trading Company website, but take note that these are big TeePees! We have plenty of space in our current house and the children’s bedrooms (which is where they were for) so it wasn’t an issue, but it is worth double checking if you are planning to make a purchase too. I love the size of them. I can easily sit inside one with both of my toddlers for their bedtime story, as well as a whole audience of cuddly toys. At a squeeze, I reckon the whole family could fit in one (and that’s quite a feat as my husband is rather long at 6 ft 4”!).
There are many TeePees on the market, as even just a quick Google search will reveal. There are lots of really beautiful ones too, essentially the same design but with some small variations like the window and floor. Of course the look is one of personal taste, but we all want a good quality product commensurate with our budget. The prices of TeePees for children really do vary wildly. We are really very happy with these Great Little Trading Company ones. They also currently do ones with a Wild West and Blossom pattern too if you want something a bit more decorative. Before Christmas they had a cute Bugs pattern one too. Here is the link to the Great Little Trading Company's website so you can have a look yourself, and all the other gorgeous fun products they have to offer.
Our TeePees look superb, really striking in the children’s bedrooms, and seem robust enough to withstand the “toddler test” over what I hope will be many years to come. (I caught the boy trying to scale the side of his last night - all was well, but not advised!) I can see them being used not only inside the house, but also in the garden in the summer. They deserve our Five Little Stars endorsement.
p.s. Thanks for the FAB TeePees Aunty Sarah!