6 Must-Do All Abilities Inclusive Children’s Programs in Greenville

  • By cvbizz
  • January 14, 2020
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Raising a family is one of the most rewarding experiences of our lives…but it is also one of the hardest, (occasionally) chaotic, (can be extremely) messy, and (the most) beautiful experiences a human can have in their lifetime. With that being said, we all struggle with parent shaming, guilting, and judgments at times. Let’s face it we’ve all been there when wham, the tantrum switch is flipped and you are forced to abandon your shopping cart or dining table and make a mad dash out of a store, restaurant, or event before the moment happens—you know the one where you can never patronize the establishment again—or at least until your child is 30 years old. Ok, so that is an exaggeration, but parents you get what I am saying, right?! Right?! No??? Well, it is coming if it hasn’t happened to you yet. Ask me how I know this…

Feelings like these can be even more heightened when raising a child with special needs. You want your child to experience everything any other child would, but you don’t want to be judged, cause a disruption, or have to apologize or explain your child to people who just won’t/can’t understand your journey. This can be compounded by the consideration of siblings and doing things as a family and not excluding anyone. Places that are all-inclusive or mindful of sensory and special needs children can sometimes be harder to find than most. For this very reason, I set about on a hunt for programs in the Upstate for families like mine! A family made up of many gifts, miracles, talents, and abilities! This is my shortlist of “must-do” programs that you don’t want to miss out on in the Greenville Area! Check them out!

  • We Rock the Spectrum Gym—this gem is found in the Five Forks area. It is a gym that is for children of all ages and abilities! They offer open gym time, private reservations, and can host parties as well. I love the fact that coaches and volunteers have special education backgrounds or are trained by the South Carolina Autism Society. Having these coaches and volunteers available for support during these events is a bonus. Former special education professional herself, Kimberly Tolbert, Co-Owner of the gym, recognized the need in Greenville for a safe space for children with varying abilities to go and play in an indoor setting. “We wanted to be a part of an opportunity to offer a place where all kids can play and learn together. We wanted a place where parents with or without special needs children can feel comfortable in an inclusive, non-judgmental space,” Kimberly stated about the opportunity to bring the gym to the Upstate. Don’t we all want that?! All-inclusive, non-judgmental and a zip line!!! Who wouldn’t love that?!

No matter the weather outside, there is an adventure waiting inside for you and your kiddos! Head on over and check them out!!! Let them know you heard about them on iOnGreenville for a $2 discount!

Where to find this resource:
2607 Woodruff Rd, Simpsonville, SC

  • Kidcreate Studio– Andrea Jones and her husband opened the doors to this creative venture on October 6, 2018. Their mission was to provide a program where parents and children could create together while enriching the lives of those around them through art! As parents themselves, they found this opportunity a chance to bring the best of two worlds together, kids and art. They have truly established a parent’s dream when it comes to art, creativity, and children. Think about it, every child gets the fun of glitter, glue, paint, clay, and even making slime at the studio (medias used are dependent upon your project)—It is all the fun of a messy art session with no parental clean-up afterward! Take.my.money.now!!!!
    A highlighted craft in the studio currently is the Messy Monster. Messy Monster is a craft done on a canvas, with plaster, paint, Styrofoam balls and a lot of creativity and imagination! Swing by and let the kids get their Picasso on! Let Kidcreate Studio know you saw them in this article with iOnGreenville for special pricing!

Where to find this resource:
2456 Hudson Rd, Greer, SC

  • Chuck E. Cheese’s Sensory Sensitive Sundays—the first Sunday of every month our local Chuck E. Cheese’s hosts a sensory Sunday. This is open to children on the spectrum or with special needs that may respond better to a less crowded and quieter environment. The doors open two hours earlier than normal time and trained staff are on duty to help ensure everyone has a wonderful time. To check out the next session be sure to stop in at 9 am on February 2, 2020!

Where to find this resource:
253 Congaree Rd, Greenville, SC

Sunset Park
  • Sunset Park—located in Mauldin, this park has an all-ability inclusive playground that has the high back swings, ramp access, turf coverage, a merry-go-round and more! The level ground and flat surfacing of this playground makes it maneuverable and easily navigable for the very small and those with mobility issues. The swings have a higher weight capacity as well for older children who may need added support to enjoy the swings. Additional amenities found at Sunset Park are a paved walking path, basketball hoops, and baseball/football/soccer fields. It is conveniently located near the Mauldin library and is a wonderful place to get some energy out, take a walk, or bring a blanket and have a picnic!

Where to find this resource:
211 Fowler Circle, Mauldin SC

Boundless Playground
  • The Pavilion Playground/Boundless Playground—the name says it all. This park is for all children, despite differences or abilities to imagine, play, and make memories. Built on a bit of a grander scale than Sunset Park, this park is a must-do for all families! This playground is fully accessible. What do kids love most? Swings, slides, sand? Check, check, check– this playground has it all plus a paved walking trail, dog park, ice skating rink, tennis courts and more!!! If you have not found this resource yet as a parent, you are missing out! We are fortunate to live in the Greenville area and have such a great Parks & Rec department that gives our families such wonderful places to enjoy together.

Where to find this resource:
400 Scottswood Road, Taylors, SC

  • The Children’s Museum of the Upstate—last, but certainly not least, is TCMU! With a campus that is filled with music, art, stem, stories, science and all things intriguing to children— this place should be among your first stops! With plenty to do inside and out, you really can’t pick a bad day to hit the museum. Squeals of delight and belly giggles are the norm here as well as cries of objection while leaving this fun-filled educational wonderland. The sights and sounds that draw most children in, however, can be overwhelming and overstimulating to other children, so to provide an opportunity for everyone to take advantage of this unique place, Sensory Sensitive days are scheduled typically once a month on a Saturday for a couple of hours. During these specific days and times, lights are dimmed, and sound is turned down or off to allow everyone to take part in the many activities offered, comfortably. Be sure to check them out online for a current calendar of events so you don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity!

Where to find this resource: 300 College Street, Greenville, SC 29601 864-233-7755 tcmupstate.org

Nothing makes me happier as a parent than seeing a smile on my child’s face. These 6 places are sure to put a smile on every kid’s face time and time again! Here is to all the grand adventures that await! Get out and explore Greenville and our great Upstate!!!

About the Writer

Melissa Milligan is a busy wife and mother living in beautiful Greenville, SC. She is a southern transplant by way of Washington State over 30 years ago. Before starting with freelance writing and photography, Melissa worked for 19 years as an educator and 7 years in administrative healthcare roles. After a successful career helping in the education and care of young children and healthcare administrative support, Melissa now helps manage a local childcare center while seeking opportunities to contribute to various forums through her writing and photography. Melissa is available for your content writing and photography needs and can provide private consultations on each. You can best reach Melissa by email at ratty78@yahoo.com.

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