So often we receive an email from local parents asking us if there are any autism-friendly activities nearby. It’s difficult enough to find activities for children with special needs, but once the weather turns nasty or it’s a rainy day, indoor play places become overly crowded and loud. We’ve worked with local parents who have children with special needs and children who have autism, to put together some ideas for places to play on rainy days.
Indoor Play for Kids with Sensory Sensitivity
Indoor playgrounds are popping up all over Indy. Greenwood’s Kid City is a STEAM-based play center ideal for kids ages 2-10 and is reasonably priced. KiDCiTY is big enough to accommodate many children with space to spread out. There are also several different play stations to move around to.
The wildly popular indoor playground at Trader’s Point Christian Church is FREE and offers a quiet space for kids who get overwhelmed and need to decompress.
Sensory Gyms and Autism Play Centers
The sensory gym at Rhodius Park and Carter’s Play Place are play spaces designed specifically for kids with autism. This sensory-friendly gym was created to give autism families a place to play without fear of judgment. It’s a place for kids to get the sensory input they need, have fun, and not worry about conforming. Here you can find an array of sensory activities such as a trampoline, zipline, a variety of swings, and much more. To avoid crowds, the best time to visit is late afternoon, but don’t hesitate to call in advance to check the crowd status. Open play times vary from day to day, so make sure to check their Facebook pages before you go.
SENSES Gym in Shelbyville
SENSES Gym in Shelbyville, Indiana, is a unique, sensory-integrated gym designed specifically for children with special needs. It offers a safe, supportive environment for sensory play and therapeutic activities, helping kids to develop, socialize, and enhance their motor skills in a fun, interactive way. The gym is open to children of all abilities from ages 1 to 6 years during open gym times.
Conner Prairie Discovery Station
Conner Prairie is a favorite summer destination for my family, but their indoor play areas are also a great place to visit when the weather isn’t so great. There are several dedicated quiet spaces around the grounds. Discovery Station is a place where younger kids can create, build, climb, and enjoy pretend play.
Skyzone Trampoline Park
Skyzone has a lot of benefits for special needs families. Employees are stationed around the entire facility to make sure kids are being safe and staying out of trouble. Plus there’s only one way in or out, making it easier to keep tabs on kids who tend to elope. The best time to visit is Monday-Friday in the late afternoon from about 4-6 when the crowd is low. Indy has three Skyzone locations in Plainfield, Indianapolis, and on the Southside, with all offering sensory-friendly jump times. During these times, the music is turned low, admission is discounted, and the crowd is minimal.
We’ll add more spaces and opportunities as we come across them.