By: Easterseals Central Illinois Occupational Therapy Department
Using a blanket during play provides opportunities to address your child’s sensory processing skills, motor planning, and strength. Blanket activities can be used to provide proprioceptive (input to muscles and joints), deep pressure tactile, and vestibular (movement) input.
- Blanket swing:
You’ll need two people for this activity. Each adult holds one side of the blanket while the child lays inside the blanket. Gently bounce or swing the child for vestibular input. Slow, back and forth, movement is calming for the sensory system. Quicker movements are typically more alerting. Try incorporating language for requesting “more swinging”. Try changing positions for sitting or lying on your stomach, side, or back. Playfully engage your child in thematic play or songs. Try interrupting quick movements with crashes. Including siblings by taking turns pushing one another for heavy work.
Hold edges of blanket and move blanket up and down/shake blanket. You can engage in peek-a-boo by hiding underneath, put a ball/balloon on top to play “popcorn”, or change speeds. This provides proprioceptive input and is a great way to play with your child.
- Blanket Burrito:
Use blanket to wrap your child up into a burrito. Have your child lay on the edge of the blanket, have them hold onto the edge, and then roll them up in the blanket tightly (leaving head free). Provide additional deep pressure by squeezing with your hands or rolling a ball on top of your child. You can then pull the edge of the blanket to allow the child to unroll quickly for a fast blast of sensory input. Try playing “inch worm” by crawling across the floor or roll into items such as a block tower.
- Blanket Sled:
Have your child sit on a blanket and pull them across the room to provide vestibular input. Vary speed to provide different intensities of input. Take turns and have your child pull a sibling or other items on the blanket for a proprioceptive “heavy work” input. Use this as a transition tool to get from one room or activity to the next.
- Make a tent:
Use a blanket to make a tent under a table or push chairs together to make a tent. Having your child set-up the chairs addresses strength and motor planning skills; it also provides proprioceptive input. You can use this as a calming space or in pretend play.