Any cheap quick-pitch tent can make a functional fort for kids that they can use to set up an instant play space whether in the living room, the bedroom, or the backyard. The Air Fort, though, might make for one of the better solutions, as it combines a quick-pitching design with an element that ensures it will always be comfortable inside.
Instead of setting up poles, tying it down to furniture, or doing any of the other usual pitching approaches, the fortress requires nothing but an electric fan to properly set up. That’s right, simply aim a fan to blow wind into the toy’s tunnel-like section to have it inflate into a self-contained fortress where kids can assemble and play inside its walls.
The Air Fort is an inflatable fortress that takes on a shape similar to classic circus tents, with a relatively tall ceiling, so kids can run, jump, and stand while playing inside. It measures 77 x 50 inches (diameter x height), so it should easily accommodate a small group of kids (and even a few adults) without any problem. Getting in and out is easy, too, since the fortress doesn’t have a floor and all you have to do is lift the bottom to conveniently slide under. Basically, at no point will even small kids feel like they’re trapped inside the fort.
To set up, simply lay down the toy on the floor, attach a fan at the end of the tunnel (they recommend either an 18-inch round fan or a 20-inch box fan), and turn it on. As the fan sends air into the interior, it will inflate to the desired shape in under 30 seconds (exact duration will depend on how strong the fan is), after which you’ve got yourself a functional fortress for the kids to spend the day playing in. Having a fan blowing air inside the fortress sees to it that things will never get too hot inside, while a breathable fabric allows air to circulate properly even without any visible ventilation.
You may be wondering how you’re supposed to attach a fan to the tunnel. Well, the toy comes with an adhesive accessory that you attach to the fan, which in turn allows you to strap it down to the tunnel’s opening. The fan, by the way, is meant to be running the entire time the fortress is up, since the darn thing deflates into a flat pile as air supply is cut off.
Curious kids and spinning fans may sound like a recipe for disaster. Fortunately, they thought of that, too, which is why they have a mesh divider on the inside part of the tunnel, making it impossible for kids to crawl in and play with the fan. Basically, they’re restricted to the round area of the fort, so no worries about someone sticking a finger into a spinning plastic blade.
Each Air Fort comes with comes with a drawstring carry bag, so you can keep things tidy after play. It’s available from Amazon in either pink or digital camo.