Getting kids outside and participating in community activities can be challenging these days. When a child has attention, behavioral, or other challenges, finding activities that are a good fit for their interests can be especially difficult. Our kids, who really need the benefits of community connections and exercise, are the least likely to be active and involved. To get you started, we are sharing ideas for activities for toddlers through young adults.
MN Horse Council – The Minnesota Horse Council lists therapeutic riding programs for children with physical and mental disabilities and sensory differences. Although this is a statewide listing, there are a number of programs from Hennepin County included.
Mall of America – Nickelodeon Universe Parents of Kids with Special Needs children can stop by customer service within Nickelodeon Universe for your Park Handbook. A Manager will sign off on rides appropriate for your child and an adult can ride all the rides free of charge with the special kid as a chaperon. The book will also enable up to four people in the party to enter the rides from the exit so there is little to no wait time.
Sensory Friendly Films at AMC Theaters For families affected by autism and other disabilities, these are special opportunities to enjoy their favorite films in a safe and accepting environment. The movie auditoriums will have their lights brought up and the sound turned down, families will be able to bring in their own gluten-free, casein-free snacks, and no previews or advertisements will be shown before the movie.
SENSORY FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES
Sensory Friendly Sundays: LOWRY NATURE CENTER & FRENCH VISITOR CENTER
- 4th Sundays – 9am to Noon
- Free – Drop in anytime!
Explore the Three Rivers Parks in a sensory-friendly environment. Drop in to enjoy the parks during designated calmer times. Explore the nature & visitor centers, play areas, and trails.
OTHER SENSORY FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES
PACER has a list of accessible spaces and programs, from horseback riding to sports and camps.
Be sure to check out all kinds of activities (many of them FREE) at Three Rivers Parks District and Hennepin County Libraries. If your kid loves catching butterflies or playing with legos, learning about technology, doing crafts or fishing, your local libraries or parks have programs for them!
More Resources and Ideas:
Reach for Resources (952-988-4177) provides therapeutic recreational services to Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Maple Grove, Golden Valley, Plymouth, St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka, Chaska and Chanhassen.
- YMCAs – summer and after school camps, lots of other activities
- YWCAs – summer and after school camps, lots of other activities
City Parks and Recreation Departments – Also check Community Ed opportunities
- Bloomington Parks – 952-563-8877 (ADA Info)
- Eden Prairie Parks and Recreation
- Edina Parks and Recreation Department – 952-826-0403 (ADA info)
- Hopkins Parks
- Maple Grove Park & Recreation
- Minneapolis Parks and Rec – Inclusion and Adaptive Program: 612-313-7747
- Minnetonka Parks
- Plymouth Parks and Recreation