Turn the Pack n’ Play into a shady hangout for baby



Rachael's solution for combining yardwork + crawling baby:

I needed a shady, safe area to have my baby in the yard so I could get some weeding done. My husband suggested a beach umbrella, but I didn't like the idea of letting my little one crawl all over, so I was looking at baby tents. Then I was thinking, rather than spending money, if I could only rig a canopy up for my Graco Pack n Play, I'd be set. So, I found a blanket and took the clips off of the Pack n Play side basket and used the clips to attach a "canopy" out of the blanket. Works great! I check on her often to make sure the airflow is good and that she's happy and hydrated.

Another option many Parenthackers have recommended: the KidCo PeaPod travel bed (see the related hack). I mean just LOOK how happy and relaxed that couple looks while picnicking on their lovely lawn.

Related: For babies sleeping in tents, Peapod travel bed is more compact than a portacrib


  1. williamk says

    A spare backpacking tent also works well. Depending on the age you can put in a pack and play, a bouncer, or just some toys and a blanket. Some of them go up pretty fast once you get the hang of it.

  2. says

    We’re fond of the Pea Pod tent for travel and for taking the baby outside while we do yard stuff. Both kids love the tent and it is so easy to put together and and easy for when the “big kid” goes to stay at Nana’s too.

  3. says

    My pack-and-play didn’t come with a basket and clips, but I’ve used the toy clips (the kind I use to hang toys from toy bars) to clip blankets onto the pack-and-play. I’ve also used them to clip a blanket to the side of my daughter’s crib, while she’s sharing our bedroom. When she wakes up, she can’t immediately see us, so she doesn’t complain quite so quickly!

  4. says

    You know, when I saw the headline in my RSS reader I could have sworn you were going to say “Turn it upside down.” That game’s only really appropriate though for slightly older kids who appreciate it as a makeshift play fort.

  5. MidlifeMidwife says


    Just one caution about using the patio umbrella: we almost had an accident doing that. We were grilling out and had the baby’s playpen protected by the patio umbrella, when a huge gust of wind came along and knocked the umbrella down (even though it was in a heavy, weighted stand). It hit the playpen, but fortunately, our son was in the opposite end of the playpen and wasn’t injured.