Special Needs Activities for Chicago Families

Enjoy some sensory-friendly fun in the city and surrounding areas.

Looking for a sensory-friendly event that’s tailored to your child’s needs? Then, look no further.

We’ve rounded up a list of events created especially for families with special needs to take advantage of all the great things Chicagoland offers. Read some of our picks below and find more future events on our calendar.

Sensory Friendly Play Session 

May 11, 2022

Families with children who would benefit from a more relaxed atmosphere at the Children’s Museum can enjoy a two-hour low sensory play session. Music May will have lowered lights and sounds and small group therapy sessions hosted by Craig Christiansen from Creative Exchange Music Therapy. Pre-registration required.

My Way Matinee

May 14, 17, 28, 31, 2022 

On select Tuesday and Saturdays every month, Regal’s My Way Matinee gives everyone the opportunity to experience a movie with the lights down and the volume up. Bad Guys (PG) will be shows May 14 and 17, Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (PG-13) on May 14 and 17 and Top Gun (PG-13) on May 28 and 31.

Special Needs Screenings

May 14 and 21, 2022 

  • Address: Studio Movie Grill, 301 Rice Lake Square, Wheaton
  • Cost: Free/tickets for children with special needs and their siblings; adults will need to purchase their own tickets 

At this special needs screening, lights will be turned up, the volume will be low and moving around in the aisles is welcome. Bad Guys (PG) will be the movie on May 14 and Dr. Strange (PG-13) will be the movie on May 21.

Adaptive Play Time

May 21, 2022

Adaptive Play Time provides a modified environment for play and learning for children and their caregivers. This program is indented for families with disabilities, on the autism spectrum, and/or sensory processing disorders. Pre-registration required.

Sensory Garden Play

May 21, 2022

Families enjoy this outdoor playground, which is for children of all ability levels. May’s playdate theme is space.

Everyone at Play

May 29, 2022

The Museum invites families with children with special needs to explore the exhibits while closed to the general public. A quiet room for stimulation breaks will be available. Due to space limitations, families must register in advance online.

Chuck E. Cheese Sensory Sensitive Sunday

June 5, 2022

  • Address: Various locations
  • Cost: Free 

Chuck E. Cheese will open two hours early at participating locations for a sensory-friendly experience. It will provide a sensory-friendly experience for guests with autism or sensory sensitivities through reduced lighting and noise.

Sensory Friendly Morning

June 26, 2022

Sensory-Friendly Morning at the MCA is a sensory-friendly program for neurodiverse visitors of all ages. Preregistered individuals and their families can visit the museum before it opens to the public and explore exhibitions at their own pace. Lobby lights are less intense and a quiet space is available for breaks. Free guided tours will be available.

This post is updated regularly.

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