Do you want to take your child to an inclusive play place, but you’re not sure where to go? We’ve got you covered.
Here are some local places in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs that are accessible and sensory-friendly.
- Address: 1450 Forest Gate Road, Oak Brook
The Sandlot is a fully accessible and inclusive park equipped with two ramps for wheelchair accessibility and adaptable swings. Kids will enjoy the musical elements and saucer swing. Parents can sit in a shaded area while they watch their children play. You can host a playdate or birthday party here.
- Address: 15W400 Harvester Drive, Burr Ridge
Harvester Park is nearly 37 acres of wetlands equipped with playgrounds, fishing, trails, observations points, discovery centers and much more. Kids will enjoy the splash pad and musical barn fully stocked with instruments to create various musical sounds. There is a shaded pavilion and accessibility to restrooms and plentiful parking.
- Address: 7100 Clarendon Hills Road, Darien
A fully ADA accessible park for children of all abilities to enjoy and allow their imaginations to run wild. The park is equipped with imagination stations to allow children to use their creativity along with a spongy surface to easily maneuver about the playground. Kids will love the chalk wall and drama village stage for performing. There is a fully fenced-in playground and plenty of seating. Although there are no bathrooms, there is a portable potty.
- Address: 2350 W. Higgins Road, Hoffman Estates and other cities
Gigi’s Playhouse is a Down syndrome achievement center dedicated to providing educational, therapeutic and career development services free to individuals with Down syndrome. Children love the vibrant and fun atmosphere along with all of the fun toys and classes. There are free educational and support services and warm sense-of-joy atmosphere. Gigi’s Playhouse has many locations throughout Illinois and beyond. The Hoffman Estates location has a beautiful cafe run by teens looking to gain work skills.
- Address: 2751 Navistar Drive, Lisle
An inclusive playground and garden nestled in the DuPage Forest Preserves’ Danada South area, this playground is completely sensory based with gardens that ignite fragrances of flowers and herbs and instruments that evoke sound. Kids will enjoy the sound garden with chimes and drums. Parents can sit in the shaded central gathering area equipped with benches and picnic tables. The park has a trail that’s suitable for running or walking with six workout stations along the way for a quick stationary workout. The trail is suitable for strollers and wagons. Make sure to keep an eye out for sensory-friendly events happening at the playground each month.
- Address: 1435 Jefferson Ave., Downers Grove
Universally designed playground with double-wide ramps, relaxation station, connected climbing structures and structures that adapt to a wheelchair or walker.
Kids love the connected structures with lots of opportunities to climb through each structure. There is relaxation station for children who need to rest or are overly stimulated. This playground is located on school grounds and is only open to the public on days when class is not in session and during the end of the school day.
- Address: 151 S. Water St, South Elgin
Inclusive playground equipped with adaptable swings and ramps allowing parallel play for children with all abilities. Kids will love the adaptable swings and wide open spaces allowed for additional play space. Fishing opportunities are available on the premises and walking trails.
- Addresses: 10123 Grand Ave., Franklin Park
We Rock the Spectrum is an indoor gym for children of all abilities. This gym is a true kiddie gym with 10 pieces of uniquely designed sensory equipment. Kids will love the variety of equipment available to play on and parents will love the ability for children to have a place to play indoors that is not only sensory stimulating but allows them to be active. Check the Facebook page or call ahead of time for open play hours.
- Address: 311 S. Reed St., Joliet
Fully wheelchair accessible playground with apparatuses supporting individuals with various special needs. Kids will enjoy the accessible swings that allow wheelchairs to be attached. Parents will love the idea that the park is fully wheelchair accessible and with many opportunities for children in wheelchairs to be fully immersed in fun. The playground is located on the premises of the Center For Disability Services campus. It is a great resource for families and caregivers to individuals with cerebral palsy and other severe special needs.
- Address: 6424 W. Howard St., Niles
Every Tuesday, the play center turns off the music and dims the lights for kids will Autism and special needs to enjoy some bouncy fun. Kids will love meeting and playing with other children with the same abilities as them. Parents will love seeing their children make new friends and the free admission for one accompanying adult.
- Address: 337 E. Randolph St., Chicago
Kids ages 12 and under of all abilities will enjoy this Chicago District Park. The three-acre Play Garden features a poured in place soft surface base and play elements that meet or exceed ADA minimum standards. The Wave Lawn has accessible pathways that connect to high and low points.
This article originally appeared in the Summer 2019 issue of Chicago Special Parent and is updated often.
This article originally appeared in the Summer 2019 issue of Chicago Special Parent. Read the rest of the issue.