WDSRA: Summer fun for the family

Summer is here. Thank goodness.

Sunshine, warmer temps, everything blooming…. these are all signs that it is time to get outside and enjoy all that summer has to offer. For families with a child, teen or adult with special needs, there are many special needs friendly events to enjoy.

Playground for ALL! Heading to the playground is a family staple in nice weather. In case you haven’t been there yet, the Sensory Garden Playground (SGP) is a universally accessible playground which allows ALL children, with and without disabilities, to play together. It is a barrier-free environment where all children can feel comfortable doing what they do best…play. It is a combination of sensory-integration playground equipment and amenities.

While open all year round, the SGP team will be hosting Summer Play Days Saturdays – June 18, July 16, and August 20 – 10AM-noon. There will be activity stations and monthly themes including: space, animals, transportation, and dinosaurs. The SGP is located at 2751 Navistar Dr., Lisle. (near the intersection of Naper Blvd. and Navistar Dr.). For more information about the FREE Play Days, visit www.playforalldupage.org.

Cool off at special needs swim nights! The thought of navigating a crowded pool on a hot summer day can deter some families. Both the Glen Ellyn Park District and the Naperville Park District host special needs swim nights after regular operating hours so families don’t need to skip the fun at the pool. This offers families a relaxing, less crowded and more sensory-friendly experience. Glen Ellyn Park District details: Sunset Pool, 8/7 & 8/9, 7-9pm, Free, gepark.org/parks-facilities/sunset-pool. Naperville Park District details: Centennial Beach, 6/12, 6/26, 7/17 & 7/24, 6:30-8PM, $4 per person or free with membership, www.centennialbeach.org/specialneedsnights.

Connect with nature at the Morton Arboretum’s Children’s Garden! The Morton Arboretum welcomes guests of all abilities. Guests who have sensory processing needs may borrow a sensory bag containing headphones, fidgets, visuals, and other calming tools. There are accessible restrooms, a partially covered picnic area and picnic tables. Visits are scheduled via their website through timed-entry admission. There is a cost for admission but borrowing a sensory bag is free. Details at mortonarb.org/location/childrens-garden.

Take in a movie! The Studio Movie Grill (SMG) hosts sensory friendly Special Needs Screenings. This summer they are presenting first run movies like Jurassic World: Dominion, Lightyear and Minions: The Rise of Gru. The lights are up a little more than usual and the volume is a little lower than usual. Moving around, talking, and even dancing in the aisles is welcome. Tickets are free for children with special needs and their siblings. Adult tickets are available at before-noon price. Special Needs Screenings are offered on select Saturdays at noon. Complete details at www.studiomoviegrill.com.

With so many fun activities to choose from, this can be the best summer yet!

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