By: Easterseals Central Illinois Occupational Therapy Department
Using pillows provides proprioceptive and deep pressure to the sensory system. Proprioception provides input to muscles and joints. Proprioception and deep pressure both calm the sensory system.
- Pillows squishes:
Use pillows to provide squeezes to your child’s body. Great for deep pressure and calming. You can pretend you are creating a sandwich, tacos, or a hamburger. Add more pressure with each topping. Take turns and have your child “squish” you or a sibling. This will provide good proprioceptive input. Use this game to playfully engage your child.
- Pillow pushes:
Hold pillows up and push against each other. Great for deep pressure, calming, and proprioceptive input. Try in sitting, kneeling, or standing.
- Pillow crashes:
Pull couch cushions or pillows into a pile, jump, and crash. Try rolling off the couch onto the cushions or pillows. Try jumping off a trampoline or a stool into the pillows.
- Make a pillow boat:
Fill a cardboard box, tub, laundry basket, or large container with pillows and blankets to provide deep pressure and calming input. This can serve as a “safe spot” or a space to “take a break”. Try reading a book, doing a puzzle, singing a themed song, or pretending you’re sailing off to sea.
- Floor is lava:
Place pillows on the ground and jump or step from one to another without touching the ground. Try crawling, wheelbarrow walking, changing your speed, adding obstacles, or playing “red light”/”green light”.
Children should be supervised when completing all suggested activities. Parental discretion is advised to ensure safety.