Instructions for Setting Up a Child's Tent

Most children love to play make believe and imagine they are a princess, firefighter and more. They have very active imaginations and playing make believe is just a part of that. A great place to play make believe is in a tent just their size. Play tents can look like a firehouse, a castle, a farmhouse, a bug and many other types of child-friendly things 1. Putting up a play tent could be as simple as undoing a tie and it pops open. Some play tents are not quite as easy to put up 1. Most child tents that do not pop open utilize the dome frame.

Clear the area where the child's tent will be located of any hard or sharp objects. These could put a hole in the floor of the tent.

Lay the fabric of the child's tent flat on the ground. Unfold what you have and determine if there are multiple pieces, or if there is just one large piece. If there is more than one piece, each piece must be set up separately and then connected afterward.

Push together all poles. Typically for dome type child tents they will be connected by a shock cord. These can be unfolded and pushed together. Other types of tents may have poles that are numbered or labeled. Connect all poles that must be pushed together before moving on.

Push the poles into the pole sleeves on the tent. Put one end of the pole into the fabric at the corner designed to hold it. Grasp the other end of the pole and gently push it toward the tent to create an arc. Place that end of the pole into the fabric at the corner designed to hold it. Repeat with the other pole. A dome tent would now be complete.

Stake down the tent, if desired, with a hammer and the stakes provided. Simply push the stakes through the stake loops located at the base of the tent and hammer the stakes into the ground. This is really only necessary if it is windy, or if the tent will be in place for more than a day.

Attach the rainfly if there is one. Occasionally, a child's tent that is mimicking an adult tent will have a rainfly. Lay it over the top of the tent and connect with hooks, ties, or hook and loop closures.

Connect any additional pieces that came with the child's tent. A typical accessory would be a tunnel. These normally connect with hook and loop closures or ties.


Sometimes a child's tent will come as a shape other than a dome, such as a car or castle. In these cases, build the frame with the poles according to the manufacturer's instructions, as all shapes would have different instructions.

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