There are so many activities and events that fill the days of Summer, but what if your child needs an event with a sensory-friendly approach? We asked our friend Stephanie Shyken at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders in St. Louis to name a few of her local favorites. Even if you don’t live here in St. Louis, you may be able to find something similar in your city!

Summer is finally here! With school out for a while, your kids probably have a lot of time on their hands. Luckily, there are lots of fun and sensory-friendly activities going on throughout the season. Here’s just a few I’ve come up with to help fill your days with summertime joy.

Pizza and Games at Chuck E. Cheese’s Sensory Sunday

The Center for Autism and Related Disorders partners with Chuck E. Cheese the first Sunday of every month and opens its doors 2 hours early for Sensory Sunday. During this time, Chuck E. Cheese reduces the lighting and noises from the games. This is meant to be a judgmental free zone! The current location that offers this is: 720 S. COUNTY CENTERWAY, ST LOUIS, MO 63129. Come join us one Sunday!

Sensory-Friendly Storytelling at the St. Louis Public Library

Sensory Story Time is a free program for kids ages 3 to 9. During the story telling, they uses props, toys, and objects to learn in multiple formats! The St. Louis Libraries offer noise cancelling head phones to reduce the volume and cover up the florescent lights. The Weber Road Branch has story telling the 2nd and 4th Monday of the month at 6:30pm. Prairie Commons Branch hosts this the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month at 6:30pm. Finally, the Daniel Boone Branch hosts the 1st and 3rd Thursday at 6:30 starting in July 2018.

Share Some Popcorn at a Sensory-Friendly Movie

Who doesn’t love to relax and watch a movie?! The AMC Classic Creve Coeur 12 offers sensory friendly movie times. During the movie the lights will be turned on and the sound will be lowered. Families will not be judged for anyone getting up and walking around, dancing, shouting, or singing! The program is offered the second and fourth Saturday and Tuesday evenings every month. The movies this month are The Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 2 and Show Dogs.

Enjoy Sensory Saturdays at the St. Louis Zoo

Finally, the St. Louis Zoo is my favorite part of summer! The second Saturday of every month the St. Louis Zoo offers a sensory break area with fidgets, pillows and other accommodations. Zoo staff members have been trained in order to work with kids with special needs. Admission does cost to enter, for more information about Sensory Saturdays, email bharrison@stlzoo.org, call (314) 646-4730.

These are just four activities to look forward to. Lots of other attractions, parks, and community centers off sensory-friendly events, so take some time to check with those place online or with a phone call. No matter what you do, have a great summer!

Stephanie Shyken is a Clinical Supervisor with The Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD). Founded in 1990, CARD is the largest ABA provider nationwide with nearly 200 centers in 32 states. Here in St. Louis, CARD works as an in-home ABA provider, working hard to help the local community find and receive essential resources and services. CARD also operates a center just across the river in O’Fallon, Illinois.   One of Stephanie favorite things about working with  CARD is that they do not have a waitlist, allowing for clients to receive services, after completing the paperwork process, within a timely manner. For more information about CARD, visit www.centerforautism.com or call 636-438-0360.