Sensory Areas 101: How to Create a Sensory Room at Home

Having a safe and comfortable sensory area is important for children with developmental disorders. And with 2018 CDC statistics showing that about one in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, there are a lot of families that can benefit from having a sensory room in their home. So to help you create your very own sensory room, here are a few tips to get you started.

Choose relaxing lighting: In a sensory area, having a relaxing environment is essential. This can be achieved by using the right type of lighting. You should consider using string lights, battery-operated candles, or even something like lava lamps. The right lighting can help influence feelings of calm and stillness, which is important in a sensory area. You should also consider using warm, soft lighting rather than harsh, cool toned lighting.

Install foam floor mats: Having comfortable flooring is a key part of a great sensory room. This is especially important if the user is going to be sitting or crawling on the floor because they need a cushioned surface to move around on. Fortunately, surfaces like foam carpet tile or interlocking floor mats are perfect for sensory areas. Not only are these surfaces comfortable to move around on, but they’re great for keeping people safe if they accidentally fall. So keep foam carpet tile in mind for a great flooring option.

Create a tactile wall: Having a variety of tactile and sensory items to be used is always a good idea. But instead of keeping them in storage bins where they can’t be easily accessed, consider creating a tactile wall. Hanging items on the wall that can be used as desired can help increase ease of access and create both visual and tactile stimulation. However, it is important to keep it minimal so overstimulation doesn’t occur.

Hopefully, these tips will help you create a comfortable and safe environment in your sensory room at home. And if you are in need of crash mats or foam carpet tile, make sure to contact We Sell Mats for more information.

How to Design a Budget-Friendly Workout Room in Your Home

If you’re reading this, it’s because you’ve been toying with the idea of an at-home gym. Your membership card for that chain gym has been hanging on your key ring for years, and you’re beginning to think that perhaps it’s time for a change. But should you actually take the leap?

As you probably know, any home renovation project costs time and money, so turning your plans into a reality can take a while. If you’re a fitness guru, though, an at-home gym could be the solution for your workout needs. Some reasons you may want to finally make the switch include:

  • Your workout room may require an initial investment, but over time, it will save you money that you otherwise would’ve spent on a traditional gym membership.
  • Going to the gym, especially during its peak hours, can be inconvenient. A host of folks may be crowding the machines you’ve been waiting to use. Privacy is also key to anyone who’s self-conscious about working out where other people can see them.
  • A gym created by you is a gym created for you. You can install equipment that’s best suited to your personal needs and exercise methods.
  • Traveling doesn’t just eat up time that you could be spending doing other things—it also serves as a demotivator for some people. Taking the time to drive to the gym can sometimes seem like more effort than it’s worth. Having the ability to travel no further than across the hall is a far simpler option.

If these points have convinced you, you’re in luck. We’ve collected the research and created a simple guide on how to design a budget-friendly gym from the comfort of your own home.

The Budget

As with anything else, you’ll start by mapping out a basic budget. How much money are you willing to spend—and more importantly, how do you want to spend it? To decide on this, you’ll want to make a list of the qualities you consider the most important for your gym. Think about how you like to spend your time at your current gym and what you’d like your customized workout space to look like. Account for not only your exercise routine, but also a few other key things:

  • What equipment do you like to use the most? What equipment do you not like the feel of?
  • Does the color of the walls trigger good or bad emotions? How do you feel about the layout?
  • Consider how you like to use your time at the gym. If you enjoy combining fitness with relaxation, you may want a corner in your room dedicated to relaxing and recalibrating in between circuits.

Considering these factors and ranking your priorities will help you decide exactly how you want to allocate your budget.

Getting Started: What You’ll Need

Don’t just start lugging an assortment of equipment into the room you’ve designated as your gym. Consider the foundation of your gym first and go from there. Once you’ve adequately equipped your room with the essentials, you’ll be able to get into the fun stuff.

Lighting

You don’t just want your workout space to be functional—as with any other room in your home, you also want your gym to look good. Good lighting has a lot to do with a room’s overall appearance, so it’s key to the aesthetic of your home gym. It also has a practical use as well, considering that—as you’ll read below—working out has a notable visual aspect to it. Look through some budget lighting solutions and select the one that best suits your needs.

Sound System

Speakers are something you may want to fit into your budget. After all, in contrast to the hassle of wearing headphones at the gym, working out in your own home gives you the freedom to blast your own music as loudly as you want. Speakers cost less than a TV, so if you’re looking for motivational entertainment equipment, this may be the way to go.

Mirrors

Ideally, you’ll want the ability to see yourself when working out. Visualizing your form and technique is what allows you to grow in your fitness journey and develop a good fitness pattern. The mirrors you install don’t need to be expensive as long they do the job.

Equipment

Whether you prefer treadmills or barbells, you’ve probably already planned out the type of equipment that’s right for you. But you should think about a couple of things before outfitting your new room. If you don’t already own workout equipment, consider buying it used. Also, if you’re on a strict budget, remember that you don’t have to buy everything at once—purchase whatever you’ll use the most first and build up your collection over time.

Get Creative

When you’re building your gym on a budget, you may have to get creative with storage solutions so that you can utilize your space to its full potential. You can DIY almost anything­—even your equipment­—but now we want to focus on your layout. Here are a few simple, affordable organization ideas:

  • Hang resistance bands and towels on coat racks.
  • Utilize a pegboard for smaller items such as headphones/bands or jump ropes.
  • Mount gun racks on the wall for convenient bar storage.
  • Use a simple bookshelf to store a variety of items. You can add bins or remove shelves, depending on your storage needs.
  • Consider putting a trunk or wooden box in the corner in lieu of a chair. That way you can have a resting place that doubles as storage for yoga mats, exercise pads, and other bulky items.

Your creativity can go as far as you let it. What your personal gym really needs is inspiration: hang a whiteboard on the wall to track your goals and view your accomplishments or put up wall stickers with motivational phrases. This is your space for a reason. It’s a reflection of your dedication to your better self.

You want this room to be a place where you can feel comfortable and at home. This isn’t an environment where you should feel stressed out or overwhelmed. Whether you’re motivated by simplicity or personality, this is the place to display the things that best represent you.

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Help Your Gymnast Develop Skills at Home

Young gymnasts who wish to develop their craft can do so right in the comfort of their home. Don’t let limited space be a deterrent—create a gymnasium to help your gymnast develop skills at home with our tumbling mats, octagons, floor beams, and more!

Choosing the Right Room

The first step is to choose a room that can withstand the noise, tumbling, and excitement of a budding young gymnast. Obviously, the type of home (apartment, two-level, or otherwise) and the size of the available space will impact the layout of your gym. Place your gymnastics equipment in an area that you can be sure won’t pose any distractions to the rest of your household. The constant movement means you may have to deal with the sounds of shuffling, running, jumping, and more. If there are other small children in the home with various sleeping schedules, your at-home gymnastics studio should stand apart from the other living spaces.

More spacious rooms are better suited to the task of housing a gymnastics room—especially considering your child will be (safely) bouncing off walls. Small spaces will appear even tinier when cluttered with equipment and mats. Natural sunlight and windows make for a welcoming, energizing space, perfect for a child gymnast; however, understandably, most people have already allocated such rooms as kitchens, living rooms, etc. Therefore, as a practical matter, many parents transform their basements instead. To make up for the lack of natural light, we recommend painting the room bright white, which will make it appear larger. Some people worry about the abrasive nature of white walls, but in fact, avoiding warm-hues is essential as they tend to stimulate relaxation.

Be sure to entirely dedicate your home gymnastics studio to the purpose of developing gymnastic skills. The worst mistake you can make is doubling up by using the same room as a play space for activities that utilize small toys and gadgets. Any unnecessary objects laying around are a potential threat to your child’s safety. The sport of gymnastics is incredibly taxing physically, and injuries will take a heavy toll on the vitality of an athlete. Ere on the side of caution by keeping the space clean and well-furnished with gymnastics tumbling mats.

 

Picking the Right Products

Your money and time are precious, so pick the products that are essential to your child’s learning:

  1. Gymnastics Tumbling Mat: Consult our guide for choosing the right gymnastics mat. Every proper home gym must include a lot of tumbling mats, as this is where your child will learn and perfect most of their tricks. Our mats are foldable for quick storage and thick enough to offer protection during more advanced tricks.
  2. Floor Beam: Consider your child’s skill level before purchasing a low, high, or adjustable beam. Foam balance beams are ideal for beginners. With a soft suede cover and a tapered bottom, foam beams provide stability for young beginners to get comfortable using them.
  3. Foam Floor Mats: It’s imperative you cover hardwood or laminate floor with a layer of interlocking floor mats. This softens the impact of any harsh landings, providing an added layer of protection that a tumbling mat alone may not cover.
  4. Incline Mat: For the little ones, the gradual slope of our high-quality incline mats—also known as cheese wedge mats—are the perfect place for them to practice forward, back, log, and dog rolls. Rolls are the very basis of nearly all gymnastics skills, and will likely be used by your child. They can also practice backbends and walkovers as a precursor to more difficult tricks such as back handsprings.

 

Best Exercises for Flexibility

Loose muscles will prevent cramping and muscle injuries. Improve your little one’s flexibility at home with these stretches. In order for the stretch to effectively reach the length of the muscle, children should hold it for at least 30 seconds.

  1. Lower Body Stretches: Conditioning the calves using your own body weight is quick and easy, especially if you have a balance beam. Stand on a beam with your heels in the air and drop them down below the beam in pulses. Another great stretch is the downward dog, which stretches the hamstrings, calves, and your arms.
  2. Lower Back Stretches: To gain muscle and flexibility in the lower back, try the straddle stretch. Sit on the floor with your legs stretched as far apart as they’ll go, and slowly bend forward from the hips. This will create a stretch in your inner thigh as well as your lower back. Extend forward until you feel tension in the stretch, but don’t continue to the point of physical pain.
  3. Splits: The split relies on elasticity in the hip flexors and hamstrings and they are a focal element of many gymnastic skills. The oversplit—stretching the legs to bend at more than 180 degrees—has also become routine. Butterfly stretches work the inner thighs, lower back, hips, and groin area. To perform the stretch, sit down with your feet touching each other and your knees spread apart. Move your heels in towards your body while pushing your knees to the floor. You can also lower your back to the floor, pushing your arms in front of you to increase the stretch.

 

Best Exercises to Develop Strength

  1. Hollow Body Hold: The hollow body hold is essential to develop a strong core, enabling gymnasts to hold handstands for long periods of time. To perform this exercise, lie down flat on your back (keeping in contact with the floor at all times), pulling your belly button towards the floor. Point your toes straight out and your arms straight back, holding your shoulders tight against your ears. Slowly begin to raise your shoulders and legs from the ground, but not too high—the goal is to find the lowest height at which you can hold your arms and legs up from the floor. Do this for a minimum of 60 seconds.

Tips: Don’t arch your lower back, as this will mean your core is not fully engaged and will render the exercise less effective. You should round your upper back, tuck your pelvis, and keep your abs and glutes tight throughout the entire exercise.

  1. Arch Body: The arch body strengthens the posterior muscles of the back, often serving as the sister exercise in conjunction with the hollow body hold. To perform this exercise, lie face down with your stomach on the floor, stretching your arms overhead and extending your legs with pointed feet. The key is to keep your arms and legs from touching the floor for as long as possible while arching your body as much as possible.

Tips: Don’t use only your lower back to lift your extremities—engage your glutes and middle back as well, as this will also strengthen your core. Remember that your core includes muscles such as hip abductors, the pelvic floor, obliques, abdominal muscle, and any muscle that attaches to your spine.

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3 Tips for Caring for Your Foam Floor Mats

Foam floor mats are ideal for use in trade show booths, schools, offices, retail stores, and residential spaces. And while foam floor tiles offer a lot of benefits, like durability, flexibility, and easy installation, they need to be properly cleaned and taken care of. So let’s explore a few tips for caring for foam floor mats.

Don’t use harsh chemicals: While you may think to use bleach or another strong cleaning solvent to rid the mats of germs and bacteria, using high pH products can significantly damage the materials. Instead, consider using a mild soap or detergent. Using a mild soap with hot water will ensure the mat is clean, remove grease and oil, and won’t cause any harm to the mats. So make sure you have the right cleaning supplies available.

Vacuum or sweep regularly: Interlocking floor mats can gather quite a bit of debris as they’re used. Crumbs, dirt, dust, and other debris can easily accumulate on these mats pretty quickly if they’re used often. And while you don’t have to clean the mats with soap and water every single day, you should sweep or vacuum the mats pretty regularly. Doing this will effectively remove any debris on the mats that have built up, but make sure not to use the spinning brush roller, as it can remove the surface finish of the mats.

Give the mats time to dry: After you clean the mats with soap and water, you should always leave the mats out to dry. Do not use the mats immediately after cleaning them, as they can be slippery when wet. Additionally, you should not roll the mats up after they’re cleaned — rolling mats up when they’re wet or damp can lead to mildew growth. So after the foam floor mats have been cleaned, simply leave them out to dry. Letting them sit overnight is always a good idea.

It’s important to properly clean and care for your foam mats in order to keep them in good shape. Following these simple tips will help you care for your mats as best as possible.

Choosing the Right Gymnastics Mat

When shopping for gymnastics mats, the number of choices can be overwhelming. To determine the right mat or skill trainer for you, first focus on the skill that the mat will be used for and then select the correct size to meet your or your gymnasts’ needs.

Gymnastics is among the most popular sports, especially for younger children who are just beginning to learn to use their little limbs! It’s also one of those sports that is good to start kids in at an earlier age, as they are often fearless, with many of the cool tricks becoming more difficult as one grows. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends practicing motor skills like tumbling and running for kids between the ages of two and five years.

Your gym or gymnastics center will typically have its floors nearly completely covered with various types of mats. Whether practicing on the uneven bars or vault at the gym or practicing cartwheels and tumbling at home, it’s critical to have quality gymnastics mats  down. Slips and falls happen even to the most elite gymnasts; regardless of your current skill level, you should have the proper mats in place.

When choosing your gymnastics mats, it’s important to consider the thickness, shape, size and structure of the mat. For general tumbling, mats typically range between one to two inches thick. The shape of your mat should be based on what types of moves you are working on. Octagons are good for learning coordination and balance  and are available in multiple sizes to meet the needs of any age user. Cheese wedges are also available in various sizes and are usually used for specific gymnastic training, depending on the move or area of the body that most needs strengthening. Determining the right size of your tumbling mat is fairly simple; it needs to cover the training area and a good-size perimeter beyond that for those inevitable times when sticking the landing means a foot or two will meet the floor. If you’re covering a large space, interlocking mats may be the way to go for more floor coverage.

A crash pad is usually made of bonded sponge foam covered by a rubber shell or PVC. They range from 2” thick up to 12” to allow for maximum shock absorption to keep gymnasts safe while performing more intense routines. They include handles on the sides and fold in half for easy storage.

No matter your age, a little tumbling is great for most; find your mat and get going!

It’s Time to Get Active! 4 Great Benefits of Gymnastics

Gymnastics as a sport has been around for over 2,000 years. Though it’s pretty unlikely you aren’t going to become the next Simone Biles or Larisa Latynina, you can still benefit tremendously from getting some gymnastics pads and tumbling mats, and working on your craft.

From improving your flexibility to strengthening your immune system, here are some terrific advantages of rolling out a gymnastics pad and practicing and performing this great sport:

Improved flexibility— Flexibility is one of the most important aspects of gymnastics and each time you practice on gymnastics mats, you’ll be becoming much more flexible. Additionally, gymnasts with improved flexibility are less likely to suffer injuries because their limbs can handle a wider range of motion.

Meet your physical fitness requirements— Whether you’re a student hoping to make the gymnastics team or an adult looking to get a little more active, gymnastics is a great way to get some necessary daily exercise in. According to the American Heart Association, children should participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day and adults should participate in 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week — gymnastics is the perfect way to get active!

Improved social skills— At all levels, gymnastics provides an excellent opportunity to work on and develop social skills. Children learn how to look, listen, and how to work and think independently. And older gymnasts learn how to set a good example for younger children looking on. Plus, everyone has fun and works on respect.

Prevent diseases— Since gymnastics promote a healthier way of living, it can actually fight off all kinds of diseases. Health officials have stated that regular gymnastics-based exercise can fight off diseases like diabetes, obesity, and even heart diseases and cancers.

It’s never too late to get active and live a happier and healthier lifestyle. If you want to learn more about the advantages and health benefits of participating in gymnastics, or find high-quality gymnastics pads, give We Sell Mats a call right away — and have fun!

How to Measure Your Floor

When shopping for floor mats, it’s important to have a good understanding of the area your mats need to cover, or, if you’re shopping for a gymnastics tumbling mat, whether your space is large enough to safely accommodate the mat you want. In this post we’ll deal with calculating square footages, so here’s a quick overview of how to measure your floor before purchasing interlocking floor mats.

Continue reading “How to Measure Your Floor”

Set Up Your Trade Show Booth on the Beach

When EVA foam mats are the foundation for your trade show booth, you’ll feel like you’re walking on the beach instead of a hard concrete exhibition hall floor. No, we haven’t lost our marbles; EVA foam is the material your flip flops are made from, so when your whole trade show booth floor is covered in it, it’s just like strolling the shoreline in your favorite footwear! Continue reading “Set Up Your Trade Show Booth on the Beach”