Updated on September 15, 2020 by Lyric Fergusson
Let’s face it – everyone loves a ball pit. You know you’d in there with your kids if the other parents weren’t watching. But with a public ball pit, you never know what’s lurking under the layer of plastic balls. Fortunately, there’s a fix for that!
Now you and your kids can have fun in your own ball pit. You choose when to clean them, so there are no unwelcome surprises while you’re flopping around! The ball pits we’re looking at today are great for toddlers – but there’s no reason you can’t get in there with them!
The Best Toddler Ball Pits
(Best Value — $)
Why it’s great: Eocolz’s pop-up ball pit is a perfect mobile play area for up to three toddlers (up to age 4). The basketball hoop helps them practice motor skills and the door underneath allows you to expand the ball pit with other tunnels and structures.
The walls are super high on this ball pit, which means you can add as many balls as you want. It’ll take a few hundred to fill it up to capacity, but you’ll also want to give your little one room to play. The best part? Plastic balls won’t be rolling all over the house. The walls are high enough to keep them contained and still let your child play.
This ball pit is affordable, easy to set up, and can be used indoors or outdoors. You can take it with you on a camping trip, to the beach, or use it in your living room. It folds down quickly for easy transport. Your kids will love flopping around in this generously sized ball pit.
Keep in mind: This ball pit doesn’t come with balls. You will need to buy them separately. This gives you the freedom to buy as many balls as you want and choose your favorite style and colors.
Good for: Up to three toddlers shooting hoops together.
(Highest Walls — $)
Why it’s great: Kiddey’s ball pit is one of the largest on our list, with enough interior playroom for multiple kids. There are six sides of this ball pit, and the walls are remarkably high. This means that you can add more balls and create more of the experience you might expect from a public ball pit. The mesh is breathable and transparent, so it’s cool inside the ball pit and you’re always able to supervise easily.
Even on the warmest summer days, your kids will love wallowing around in this big ball pit. There is one door that can be secured shut so balls don’t go all over the place. In the meantime, your toddlers can flop around and throw balls to their heart’s content.
This ball pit is made of durable material that snaps right back into place when it’s bent or misshapen. It’s easy to fold this ball pit up and take it with you to the backyard, too.
Keep in mind: The tall walls make it difficult to intervene if you need to. You’d have to use the door to get to your child quickly. This is a great ball pit for older toddlers and kids, but you may want to choose a smaller one for babies.
Good for: Kids who love to throw ball pit balls around and flop indiscriminately.
(Largest Ball Pit — $$$)
Why it’s great: This ball pit huge! There are five individual pieces you can use together or separately, including 2 tunnels, a ball pit, a crawling cube, and an activity tent. All of your kids (ages 1-6) can play together and never be bored!
The activity tent has a target on the side, and the playset comes with four dart balls. On the other side, there are holes to keep your kids busy passing balls back and forth. Throughout all five pieces, the mesh is transparent and breathable. You can see your kids no matter where they are, and it will never get too warm inside.
The bright and colorful design appeals to kids of all ages. Your whole family can have fun with this Hide N Side Ball Pit, Tent, and Tunnels set.
Keep in mind: As with any ball pit or outdoor play area that has tunnels, there seems to be an issue with the tunnels staying connected. Roughhousing or energetic play can dislodge the tunnels. Thankfully, it’s easy to put them back on.
Good for: Big families with lots of space in the backyard.
(Coolest concept — $$$)
Why it’s great: This ball pit and play area has three separate pieces: a tunnel, a larger ball pit area, and a spaceship tent. You can use them together or separately to create different play experiences. You can use all of it outside and bring the ball pit or the spaceship inside to continue to play separately!
The multiple structures included mean that you can use more balls in the ball pit, as they will likely travel down the tunnel and into the spaceship while your kiddo is playing. The more balls the better!
It’s also educational! There are diagrams of the planets and stars all over this spaceship and ball pit, and your curious kids will love to point them out. The durable material makes it fun to play anywhere. It can stand up to energetic play.
Keep in mind: The company boasts that this rocket ship ball pit is approved by NASA, but that seems unlikely – no documentation proves that it is. Your toddler can still have fun with their spaceship regardless!
Good for: Aspiring astronauts who can’t wait to blast off at playtime.
(Best Indoor/Outdoor — $$)
Why it’s great: This ball pit by UTEX is perfect for keeping your child occupied. It comes with three separate pieces: a tent, a tunnel, and a cube with holes to pass balls through. The tent has windows and a roll-up door, perfect for keeping air flowing even on the warmest summer days.
This is a great indoor and outdoor playset. You can set it up wherever you have the room. The low doors and windows ensure that balls can move between the pieces freely, adding to the fun of crawling between them.
Don’t worry about your pets getting close, either – the taffeta material isn’t easily torn, so your cat or dog can join in on the fun as well.
Keep in mind: You won’t be able to use very many balls with this playset. The low windows, doors, and other openings will make it difficult to keep more than a few balls at the bottom of the structures at any given time.
Good for: Active kids who want to crawl around while they play in the ball pit.
(Most Feminine Design — $)
Why it’s great: This ball pit is a perfect fit for your little princess! The colorful design and roomy interior will make sure that your kids can keep playing in it for years to come. It can be entirely enclosed with a tie-on roof, or you can remove the roof so taller kids can stand up to play.
This ball pit folds up when it’s not in use, so it doesn’t take up much room at all between playtimes. An added parent bonus: it’s designed for fewer balls, so you won’t be finding them all over the house. But you don’t even have to use it inside, as the durable floor material is great for use outside as well.
The mesh on the outside is very thin and breathable. You’ll be able to see your child when they’re inside, and you don’t have to worry about it getting too hot inside. It easily pops back into place if it gets tipped over or sat on as well.
Keep in mind: Because the ball pit is entirely enclosed, the door must be close to the ground. This means that balls will get everywhere, so be prepared for that. You also won’t be able to use as many balls because of the design.
Good for: Princes and princesses between the ages of 1 and 8.
(Best for Babies — $$)
Why it’s great: Peradix’s Paddling Pool is extremely easy to use, and that’s one of its main draws. You won’t have to inflate anything, and all of the pieces attach with Velcro. Unlike some of the other non-inflatable ball pits we’ve seen, this one is waterproof and durable enough to double as a pool.
It’s on the smaller side as well, so it’s perfect for your younger children. Help your six-month-old burn off some extra energy throwing balls around or splashing in up to three inches of water with their siblings! The sunshade keeps them safe and cool while they play, and the attached basketball hoop adds some extra fun to their ball pit time.
Your dogs can jump in as well, as this pool and ball pit is durable enough for pet use. You’ll probably want to clean it out regularly if Fido gets in with muddy paws. When your kids are done, the ball pit folds down into a small package so you can tuck it away for next time.
Keep in mind: While this pool and ball pit is great for pets too, energetic dogs or pups that are prone to scratching may damage the material. Keep that in mind before inviting your larger dog to play too.
Good for: Babies, younger toddlers, and pets to play together!
FAQs about toddler ball pits
1. Are ball pits safe for babies?
Small home ball pits can be safe for babies with supervision. Experts recommend that babies be at least six months old to use even a shallow ball pit at home. Supervision is key to making sure your child is safe in any ball pit, even at your home.
2. What plastic balls do I buy for a ball pit?
You can choose to purchase any balls for your at-home ball pit. Most ball pits will come with a small selection of playground balls as well. When you want to add more balls to your child’s ball pit, choose soft plastic playground balls – the smaller the better, generally. Stores use a few different names for the types of balls you need – plastic balls, pit balls, playground balls, and more. It’s also a good idea to buy BPA free and Phthalate free balls. From personal experience, balls with these labels don’t have a strong plastic smell as others might.
3. What age are ball pits for?
Experts recommend that children under the age of 10 months don’t use public ball pits. Public ball pits are deeper, used by a large volume of children, and you don’t know when they are cleaned. However, your home ball pits are more flexible. They are smaller, use fewer balls, and you can control how often they get sanitized. For this reason, children as small as six months can generally use your at-home ball pits with supervision.
4. How many balls do I need to fill a ball pit?
In general, you should purchase enough balls so that you can’t see the bottom of the ball pit. How many this takes depends on the size of the ball pit. Most manufacturers sell ball pit balls in multiples of 100, up to 1,000 balls at a time. Make sure that you buy more than you think you’ll need because your children are sure to throw them around and lose them under furniture as they play.
5. What size are ball pit balls?
Ball pits are more fun with smaller balls. You can choose any size for your at-home ball pit, but smaller balls create the ‘ball pit effect’ that larger ones sometimes won’t. Aim to buy soft plastic balls that are around 2.3 inches in diameter.
6. How often should ball pits be cleaned?
A small ball pit you set up at home is quite different from a large public ball pit. The good news is that your home ball pit does not need to be cleaned as often. It is generally recommended that you clean and sanitize the ball pit balls after 2 or 3 uses. The ball pit itself can be thoroughly cleaned every 3 to 6 months or as needed.
A ball pit can be a unique and well-loved addition to your child’s playroom or backyard playground. Besides the normal bumps and bruises that come with physical playtime, your child isn’t in any harm while playing in a ball pit. As long as they are supervised correctly, your kids can have hours of fun flopping around in the ball pit and throwing the soft plastic balls around.
Consider your child’s personality when you’re thinking of what type of ball pit to get them. If you think they’d enjoy crawling through tunnels and tents while playing, a ball pit that comes with multiple pieces would be best. If they want to be surrounded by ball pit balls and wallow around, choose a larger ball pit with taller sides.
When you choose a ball pit that best fits your child’s personality, they’re more likely to use it. Something so simple can inspire hours of fun!
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