Playroom crash pad

The One Household Product My Kids Have Played With More Than Any Toy

Last Updated on July 1, 2022 by admin

When my now-husband and I first moved into a condo pre-kids, one of the first things we bought together was a king-sized bed.

We went to a mattress store and got the one we thought was the most comfortable. The first night I slept on it was glorious. It was one of those sleeps that felt like you had just fallen asleep even though you’ve slept the whole night. 

The second night wasn’t quite as good., and after a few months, there was a crater that made it pretty uncomfortable. 

Lesson learned: Don’t invest in a soft mattress — at least without a replaceable top. We suffered through the mattress for several years. Then, we decided to get one of the new foam-style ones direct from the manufacturer. 

We didn’t dispose of the old mattress, though. We put a bedbug/allergen-proof cover on it and relocated it to our carpeted basement floor. Voila: We now had a playroom crash pad. By that point, we had moved into a 1960’s suburban home with a high energy toddler who constantly wanted to jump on the sofa or on the beds in the bedrooms. Once we had a basement mattress / playroom crash pad, we could easily redirect him to jumping on that. It preserved our made beds and saved the integrity of our sofa.  

The Perks of a Mattress Playroom Crash Pad

Since we moved it downstairs, the mattress has hosted countless hours of wrestling matches, comedic pratfall performances, “airplane rides” on mom’s feet that end in big crashes, and routine “gymnastics practice.”

As our son got older, we’d occasionally prop the mattress against the wall so he could scramble up and down.

This past Christmas, we got our once-high-energy-toddler and his little brother some slack line accessories and bolted them to ceiling beams above the mattress. Now they swing and spin on them multiple times a day, knowing they’ll safely land if they fall. Sometimes they purposely fall on it (think swinging back and forth on a trapeze and then landing flat on your back).     

A Few Caveats

Now, is this mattress Pinterest or Instagram worthy? No. (There’s a reason the Nugget couch is such a popular alternative to an old mattress.) Is it a pain to take the cover off to clean and vacuum? Yes! Is it possible that even with the mattress cover , it’s full of pollen and dust mites from being jumped on in a basement for *checks math* 6 years? Maybe. (I hope not, but my allergy-prone mom refuses to even go into the basement because of the dust and dander she imagines is emanating from the thing). Is it 100% safe? Of course not. (Is anything?) Would it be worth it for anyone who doesn’t happen to have have a mostly empty basement playroom and extremely active kids? I don’t think so.

However, despite the downsides, the mattress-turned-playroom-crash-pad has provided my kids with a daily source of entertainment. (They usually go downstairs to play multiple times a day.) It’s been played with more than any single thing I’ve ever purchased for them. It encourages them to exercise, and it has probably played a role in helping them with sensory development and processing. In particular, one of my kids seems to be undersensitive to proprioceptive input and craves the sensation of crashing into things. Kids naturally want to spin, turn upside down, and crash into things in different stages of development, and this helps them do it safely.

Those are some pretty serious benefits for something that technically cost me $0.

This is a blog about toys, and a blog about entertaining kids. You definitely shouldn’t gift anyone a used king-sized mattress, but you can certainly save an old one from the landfill for a few years if it can work as a playroom crash pad.

Are you interested in other toys that will get your young kids up and moving? Check out our full post on active toys for two-year-olds.