Sensory Inclusive Activities in Chicago

sensory inclusive activities

Planning an outing for  a child with sensory processing challenges can be difficult. No family wants to put their child in a situation in which they will be uncomfortable or have an unpleasant experience, but there are spots right in your community to plan a sensory- friendly day for the whole family!   Here are a few examples of the many places in Chicago that offer the chance for children and families to participate with more support in order to provide a positive experience for everyone.

KultureCity

Businesses are making strides to be more inclusive to all, especially for those with sensory processing challenges. With the help of KultureCity, select large venues around the city have created accessible resources. Wrigley Field, Guaranteed Rate Field, and the United Center have partnered with KultureCity to create more inclusive environments. Wrigley Field is now equipped with sensory bags, headphone zones, and quiet zones for those who need them during events.  In addition to sensory bags Guaranteed Rate Field also has lap pads, a sensory room, and an assistance request initiative that allows a person to text a number in order to receive assistance. The United Center is another location that provides event goers with sensory bags and has easily accessible quiet areas. Sensory bags at these locations will contain items such as fidgets, headphones, and cue cards in order to help the individual communicate if they are feeling overwhelmed.

More information about these venues and other partnerships with KultureCity around the country can be found at their website or on their app that can be downloaded on iOS or Android devices.

Brookfield Zoo

Each business has a unique take on making their environment more sensory friendly. The Brookfield Zoo began a Zoo for All” initiative in order to allow children and families to have the best experience they can while visiting. Parts of this initiative include their sensory-friendly family room and an inclusion resource center located in the Hamill Family Play Zoo. The sensory room includes different seating options, blackout curtains, and fidget tools.  The resource center gives access to tools such as visual schedules, noise-reducing headphones, social stories, and magazines. These resources are available to zoo goers who need assistance to enhance their visit to maximize enjoyment. The zoo also has special sensory friendly days where families can enter the zoo an hour early and experience the zoo in a less stimulating environment. Specific dates and times of these events can be found on their website.

AMC movie theaters

Another opportunity for an inclusion activity on a cold and rainy day is a sensory friendly film at an AMC movie theater or a sensory friendly live show at a theater. The AMC movie theater website has information about days, times, locations, and movie options for sensory friendly films. During these shows the lights are up and the volume is lower. There is no expectation for children to be seated and quiet the entire time, they can enjoy the film as they choose while getting movement input they need. The Ticket Master website is also a great resource. There are various shows in different locations that are qualified as sensory friendly for children and their families.

Parks & Playgrounds

You don’t need to go far to enjoy sensory friendly fun! The city and its surrounding suburbs are full of inclusive playgrounds that are set up to be accessible by children of all abilities. These can be found online or in local neighborhood magazines and papers. These playgrounds include a variety of equipment that can be provide sensory input of different kinds in order to allow children to seek out what they need.

SEBA Park in South Elgin, IL

We love seeing Chicagoland businesses adding sensory- friendly activities for families. Summer is around the corner and there are so many opportunities for exciting outings- these are just a few!  For more activities for families with sensory needs, check out this article! http://redtri.com/chicago/chicago-special-needs-activities/

by Jenny Zapinski, MSOT, OTR/L

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