Both of my boys have behavioral challenges that can either be helped or hindered by different sensory experiences. For example, my 7 year old cannot get enough proprioceptive (joint and muscle) movement and vestibular (back/forth and up/down) movement. He also does well around a lot of people and noise. In fact, the kiddo even needs loud (to me) music playing while completing homework or any elongated task.
On the other hand, my 4 year old struggles with sensory overload. He tends to go into ‘flight’ mode if he is over-stimulated, which in public places can be absolutely terrifying.
Below are some places around St. Louis that we have found work for both of my boys:
We Rock the Spectrum is an indoor playground with three different locations in Fenton, North County, and across the river in Edwardsville. The great thing about We Rock the Spectrum is they offer things such as a trampoline, zip line, and numerous swings that my oldest kiddo can play on to get the movement that he craves. Additionally, they have a ‘quiet room’ for kiddos like my little guy who may need to take a breather from lots of activity or if things get a bit to hectic. The staff is also trained to assist with special needs and are wonderful in playing and re-directing kids if need be.
Magic House is a favorite among a lot of St. Louis families, but it can be difficult to navigate if you have a sensory sensitive little one. We have found that going right when they open or 2 hours or so before closing fits our needs best, when it is less crowded and noisy. The Magic House also has a ‘calming corner’ located on the first floor near the “Star-Spangled Center,” which is great if you have a kiddo that needs a break. There is a swing, bean bag chairs, and numerous sensory games to help get kids regulated.
Sensory Story Time at the St. Louis Public Library is offered at both the St. Louis City and St. Louis County Public Libraries. They offer a story time geared to kiddos ranging in age from 3-9 which involves more visual aids, sensory play, and are smaller in size to reduce noise. Locations and times can be found at https://www.slpl.org/sensory-storytime/ and https://www.slcl.org/sensory-story-time
Upcoming sensory friendly holiday events:
U.S Bank Wild Lights at the Zoo offers a sensory friendly night on December 9th this year from 5:30-8:30pm. On this night, they offer ‘quiet areas’ and have specially trained staff available as a resource for families. Tickets go on sale November 6th for the event.
Santa Cares is a program through Autism Speaks that provides families with extra time and a quieter environment for children to visit Santa. This year the St. Louis Galleria will be offering the program on two dates, November 24th and December 8th from 8:30-10:30am. Tickets can be purchased here https://www.saintlouisgalleria.com/en/events/santa-cares.html.
Are there any other places in the city that your sensory sensitive kids enjoy?