The crash mat is one of the most important pieces of equipment we use at OTFC. Not only does it make sure your kids are safe and able to engage in beneficial risk-taking tasks, but it can be a helpful tool for children with proprioceptive difficulties.
Some children with sensory processing difficulties, Autism Spectrum Disorders or other regulation-based challenges find proprioceptive (or crashing/ deep pressure) input to be very calming and “grounding” for their central nervous systems. This can mean that after a few good crashes, they are able to focus and learn within the classroom more easily, cope with itchy clothes easier, or remain calm and in their seat during dinner time.
For others, crashing into a crash mat can improve spatial awareness/ body awareness, while walking over a crash mat can help to improve core strength, balance and coordination by providing an uneven, unpredictable surface.
“But I want one for home!”
What you will need:
1x single or double quilt cover (depending on your available floor space)
1-2x bags of “sponge offcuts” from Clarke Rubber ($5)
Possible velcro or zipper to stitch the cover closed
- Fill the quilt cover with the sponge offcuts. If you are unable to source this, you can use pillows, blankets and soft toys to fill the quilt cover instead!
- Close the quilt cover – may need to stitch on Velcro or a zip if the quilt cover does not have a strong enough closure.
- Jump and Crash!
“What kind of activities can we do with it?”
Make sure all activities are supervised by an adult and within the child’s skill level.
- Run and Jump
- Jump from the couch, trampoline or raised, stable surface
- Crawl or walk over
- Rest and relax
- Place under swings, suspended ladders, high surfaces for extra padded safety
- Flip (supervised and within skill level)
- Hide toys underneath so your child has to crawl under the find the treasure
- Push or Pull the crashmat across the room
- Squishes – parent squeezes the child to the child’s comfort on either side to form a sort of “taco” providing deep pressure from all sides