Protective Surfacing for Children Gym

Protective surfacing is intended to cushion falls and prevent serious injuries from any children gym used indoors and outdoors. The amount of a consistent type of surfacing required is based on the critical height or fall height of the equipment, which is the height of the highest designated play surface on the equipment.  Common indoor surfaces (such as rugs, tumbling mates, or carpet) are not adequate cushioning for gross motor equipment with a fall height greater than 18 inches even.

The following information has been extracted from the website www.safekidscanada.ca (section “For Parents – Safety Information by Topic – Playground Safety – Design and Surfacing).  There are currently no Canadian standards or guidelines for indoor playground surfacing. Ideally, the best surfacing would be material that was tested for use under play equipment, such as the rubber-like tiles designed for outdoor playgrounds. There is only a small amount of research available on indoor surfacing, but it points to some suggestions on what kind of surface material can (and cannot) be used indoors to cushion children’s falls.

Protective surfacing for children gymDense foam mats and interlocking foam tiles: One Canadian study found that dense foam mats (1¼ inch or 3 centimetres thick) adequately cushioned falls of 6 feet (1.8 metres). Interlocking foam tiles (such as those found in building centres or toy stores) were found not to be safe for heights of 3 feet (0.9 metres), but when double-layered did cushion falls of 4 feet (1.2 metres). These tiles measure 2×2 feet (0.6 metres x 0.6 metres) and are 5/8 inches (1.5 centimetres) thick. Therefore, two layers of tiles will create a surface similar to the dense foam mats.

Protective surfacing for children gym gymnastics matsGymnastics mats: Two studies have tested gym mats and found that if mats are at least 4 inches (10 centimetres) thick, they can cushion falls of 3 feet (0.9 metres). Six-inch (15 centimetres) mats can be safe for falls of 6 feet (1.8 metres). Unfortunately, such thick mats create an unstable base for children’s climbing equipment and increase the risk of equipment tipping over.

Protective surfacing for children gym Carpet, safety floor tiles, and resting mats: None of these materials provide adequate protection against head injury, even for falls of just one foot (0.3 metres), according to a US study that tested 24 samples of surfacing materials being used under indoor play equipment at childcare centres.

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Do-It-Yourself Home Gym for Kids

Home gym for childrenDreamGYM is very happy to announce that our basic model of the home jungle gym is now available as a Do-It-Yourself kit. The kit includes all the necessary hardware, illustration plans for building and easy-to-follow assembly instructions with 3D drawings. There are over 110 hardware pieces. There are 8 eye bolts and 8 quick links included in this kit; to make it easy to switch between jungle gym accessories, swings and hammocks.

About this model: Read the rest of this entry »

Swing Therapy for Autistic Children

therapy_platform_swingMost of us have no problem combining all our senses. For autistic children (and grownups) however, it’s a mighty challenging task. Processing stimuli from the senses of sight, smell, sound, touch, taste, balance and body is overwhelming. Those suffering from autism will often withdraw to avoid overstimulation, or try to sort out the input from their senses with self-developed soothing mechanisms and repetitive behaviours.

A significant amount of occupational therapy for autism focuses on sensory integration through specially designed programs. Some of the greatest tools for sensory integration therapy for autism type disorders are various types of swings. People with various autism spectrum disorders such as Autism, PDD, ADHD, Asperger’s, proprioceptive dysfunction and tactile defensiveness will benefit from using swings as part of their therapy.

Additionally, children and adults with Sensory Processing Disorders (also called Sensory Integration Disorders), especially those with proprioceptive or vestibular dysfunction, should definitely have swings or hammocks as a crucial element of their treatment. Read the rest of this entry »

Physical activity – therapy for autistic children

active_autistic_childWhile parents and educators of autistic children often realize the benefits of education and routine, quite often the benefits of physical activity and sports are overlooked. Some parents might think that their child is simply not capable for participating in a sports program. Or they might just feel too busy and overwhelmed with the daily routine of taking care of an autistic child, and think the time spent on sport is not as valuable as other programs. However, physical exercise has been shown to greatly improve the lives of autistic children and to improve their behaviour as well.

Autistic children, like all children with a disability are more prone to avoid sports and thus run the risk of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. Perhaps the greatest risk however, is simply not having the opportunity to reap the benefits that regular physical exercise can provide, such as improved endurance, a chance to develop fine and gross motor skills and a self-confidence boost. A right exercise program can also introduce the autistic child to a social environment and a chance to interact with his peers. Physical exercise is a proven way to help autistic children (and even non-autistic ones) to burn off excess energy and be able to focus better on their school work or other learning opportunities. Read the rest of this entry »

DreamGYM Brings Christmas Cheer to Ontario Family

xmas_giveawayChristmas is a time of giving and DreamGYM made one special family’s holiday season a little bit brighter by donating and installing a high quality indoor jungle gym. The Kirby-McIntosh family of Concord, Ontario, are the proud new owners of a DreamGYM indoor jungle gym for their two children, one of whom is autistic.

The DreamGYM jungle gym will provide numerous benefits to 8 year-old Clifford who is autistic, by burning off excess energy and helping him to focus his attention on a specific task. Upon trying the gym for the first time, Clifford said “You are the best people who ever came to our house!”. His six year-old sister Claire will also reap countless benefits, including an improved fitness level and agility.

DreamGYM produces high quality indoor jungle gyms, made locally in Ontario, Canada out of solid wood and non-toxic finishes. The gyms can be used for both recreational and therapy purposes for children 3-10 years old.

For more information, please visit http://www.KidsDreamGym.com/giveaway.html

Therapy Gym – Monkey Bars in Barrie, ON

Monkey Bars for Therapy room

Monkey Bars for Therapy room

On a last day of January 2009 we installed the therapy gym in one school in Barrie, Ontario. They were looking for monkey bars to add to their occupational therapy room, because one of the boys in their care needed a tool to develop upper body strength. But I am sure other children will benefit from the monkey bars too.

It was a custom made structure. Due to limited space they have we couldn’t offer them a jungle gym with wall bars.  The wood choice was soft maple which looked terrific. Concrete walls helped us to eliminate the whole phase of “stud finding”.

There are eight eye hooks under the monkey bars. You can see a rope ladder attached to two of them. Right now they use only a rope ladder, but they can always extend their therapy gym with a platform therapy swing, children hammock, gym rings, disk swing and any other accessory. With a help of quick links you might have  a lot of different configurations.

Certainly, children will love this place.

Marina Mironov

P.S. You can read more about therapy gym, accessories and hammocks at my website.

Indoor Therapy Gym installed in Barrie, ON

Indoor Therapy Gym installed in Barrie, ON