By Kelly Wilton
We love inclusive play spaces here at Source Kids and we are always adding more to our list to share with you all. Take a look at this great round-up and let us know if you have any more!
WHAT MAKES A GOOD INCLUSIVE PLAY SPACE?
The great thing about all abilities playgrounds is they are designed for children with a variety of disabilities, sensory issues and more, so everyone can enjoy a play space together.
A truly inclusive playground will offer a range of features including access, equipment design, ground cover, fencing, shelter and accessible toilets. Most local councils have an area on their website that list such community spaces.
Livvi’s Places – Touched By Olivia Foundation
The Touched By Olivia Foundation was created in 2016 to honour John and Justine Perkins’ daughter, Olivia, who passed away at just eight months old. Touched by Olivia has changed the lives of many by connecting families through play with the creation of Livvi’s Place National Network of Inclusive Playspaces. There are 30 Livvi’s Places across Australia. touchedbyolivia.com.au
We Rock The Spectrum – Preston, VIC & Wollongong, NSW
An indoor play space designed for children to play freely on suitable sensory equipment. Parents can connect with other families who are understanding and traveling on a similar path. The centre also offers therapy, school holiday programs and various activities like sensory-friendly arts and crafts to keep kids happy. werockthespectrumaustralia.com
My Puzzle House – Pakenham, VIC
A place where all ages and abilities can come to play and develop social skills. Teen night is run on the first Friday of every month. Group activities like dancing, limbo and wall art are included in a safe and secure environment. mypuzzlehouse.com.au
Shine Shed, All Abilities Play Centre – Campbelltown, NSW
A sensory play experience designed to meet the needs of children, teens and young adults with disability. It has a variety of sensory spaces and equipment to keep kids engaged. Shine Shed also manufactures sensory walls and can create custom designs for home, therapy and schools. shineshed.com.au
Share My Ability – Jamisontown, NSW
The all-ages sensory activity centre has something for everyone − from art sessions to sensory play. The art sensory sessions have been developed by a diversional therapist and provide a range of sensory experiences that build on each child’s sense of self expression − releasing stress, anxiety and communicating in a way that encourages individual creativity. There is also a magical new sensory room to enjoy as well. sharemyability.org.au
Sensory and Messy Play – Brisbane, QLD
While there isn’t a dedicated space such as Shine Shed or WRTS in Brisbane, there are plenty of sensory and messy play activities. These sessions are run across various groups across the SEQ region via playgroups and community groups. The sessions involve “stations” with a variety of sensory elements like shaving foam, kinetic sand, leaves and shells to encourage children to engage in messy sensory play.
Our Sensory Space – Moffat Beach, Sunshine Coast, QLD
Created by the parents of an autistic child, this is a purpose-built play space for all kids, including neurodiverse children and those with disabilities. It features a soft play gym as well as a chill out sensory room and an activity room full of dress ups, puzzles and imaginative play equipment. There’s a barista on-site and they even do birthday parties. oursensoryspace.com.au
WOW Sensory Centre – Morphett Vale and Tusmore, SA
The WOW Sensory Centre is home to Baby Sensory and Toddler Sense, weekly classes and activities for babies and toddlers which assist brain development. The unique and award-winning sensory classes are for children from birth to four years and include everything from lightshows and bubbles to puppets, messy play, music and movement.
t’s also a great opportunity to meet other parents and make friends. thewowsensorycentre.com.au
Rocky Bay, Sensory Rooms – Mosman Park, Nollamara, and Duncraig, WA
Rocky Bay’s Sensory Rooms are specially designed to increase sensory stimulation, enabling people with disability to interact with, and control, their environment in a gentle and relaxing way. The rooms provide a new and different place to spend time, encouraging activity with a range of equipment including bubble tube with remote controls, vibro acoustic bean bag, solar projector and fibre optic lighting. Most of the equipment can be used by either standard control or colour coordinated paddle switches. rockybay.org.au
Indoor sensory gyms & play spaces
Indoor sensory gyms and play spaces are dedicated centres designed for the specific needs of children with disabilities, additional needs and sensory requirements. Soft mats, flying foxes, climbing walls, chill out zones – they have it all to suit all abilities!
Sensory play is beneficial in many ways, helping build nerve connections in the brain’s pathways. Sensory play supports language development, cognitive growth, fine and gross motor skills, problem solving skills and social interaction.