Crash pads are a wonderful sensory tool! Offering children the opportunity to experience proprioceptive input with squishes, jumping and crashing, as well as tactile and vestibular input through rolling, crash pads are one of our favorite pieces of equipment.
Often used in sensory integration treatment and recommended for home use, crash pads are available for purchase through various therapeutic websites, but we love making our own. Whether your child is experiencing sensory processing difficulties due to diagnoses such as Down syndrome, autism, or cerebral palsy, or your just looking for a way to provide sensorimotor fun, here’s DIY instructions on how to make a crash pad.
All you really need to make a great crash pad for your child is a bunch of soft materials to crash into and something to stuff them all inside. For this version, here are some materials to collect:
– Two duvet covers
– Old pillows, cushion foam, packing peanuts or foam purchased at a craft store for filling
– Needles and button thread to sew it shut, a zipper or Velcro to close it up
If you don’t have any sewing experience at all, you may want to enlist the help of a friend or family member that does. It doesn’t take expert-level skill, but can be time-consuming if you are completely unfamiliar. The process, however, is quite simple.
1. Add your stuffing to one of your duvets until it is roughly three-quarters full.
2. Sew the open side together, so the stuffing is sealed inside.
3. Stuff the first crash pad you made into the second duvet cover.
4. Sew your zipper, button thread or Velcro onto the fourth side and close it up.
There are a variety of activities your crash pad can accommodate to help offer sensory input and/or work on your child’s motor skills, including:
– Jumping into the crash pad while pretending you’re an animal or character
– Tossing a ball while your child falls into the crash pad and tries to catch it
– Standing upright and stiff and falling into the crash pad like a tree
– Jumping into the crash pad and trying to roll from one side to the other
– Relaxing in the crash pad and watching a movie together
No matter which activities you choose, making your own crash pad is a fun project for you and your child. At NAPA Center, we incorporate a range of proven therapies and programs that will speak to your child’s unique needs and help them achieve their full potential.