10 Sensory Gardens for Children with Special Needs | askBAMLand

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Imagine a playground that awakens every sense.

That's a sensory garden, and it's revolutionizing play for children with special needs.

Sensory gardens are more than just play spaces; they are therapeutic landscapes meticulously designed to stimulate the senses and cater to special needs.

You might wonder why sensory gardens are significant, or you may have doubts about their benefits.

Rest assured, these gardens are crafted with expertise, often in collaboration with therapists and educators, ensuring that each feature serves a specific developmental purpose for kids.

Key Takeaways

  • Sensory gardens offer therapeutic benefits.
  • They are carefully designed for children with special needs.
  • Expert collaboration enhances their developmental impact.

Table of Contents

Sensory Garden Playground

Have you ever wondered what a wonderland for kids with special needs might look like?

Picture the Sensory Garden Playground located in Wheaton, Illinois.

It's a one-of-a-kind haven where play meets nature across an expansive 37-acre site.

Let's explore what makes this playground so magical for children with special needs.


  • Sensory-integrated equipment: The playground is designed with special equipment that stimulates all the senses, not just the traditional swings and slides. Think tactile paths, sound tubes, and visually captivating play panels.
  • Gardening areas: Alongside the play equipment, there are interactive gardening spots where children can dig, plant, and watch things grow—a multisensory experience with the added magic of nurturing life.

Why It's Special:

  • The combination of playground and gardening areas offers a variety of sensory experiences that can be both calming and stimulating. This tailored approach can be particularly beneficial for children with sensory processing disorders, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
  • It's a safe space where kids can explore different textures, scents, and sounds in a natural environment, helping to develop motor skills and sensory integration.
  • The playground's size of 37 acres ensures that there is plenty of room for everyone to play and explore without feeling crowded.


  • The place is accessible for children of all abilities, with thoughtful considerations to ensure that everyone can navigate and enjoy the playground.

Remember, the Sensory Garden Playground isn't just a playground—it's a nurturing environment where children with special needs can thrive and just be kids!

Now, doesn't that sound like a place worth visiting?

The Enchanting Oasis

Have you ever entered a space that just felt magical?

Imagine stepping into a garden that does more than just charm your senses.

Picture The Enchanting Oasis, a sensory garden crafted with love for children with special needs.

What makes it unique?

Just about everything!

As you walk in, the vibrant colors of the flowers create a vivid tapestry that meets the eye.

Can you see it, the rainbow of petals and leaves awaiting your touch?

At The Enchanting Oasis, nature's symphony is always in session.

The rustling leaves, the soft trickle of water, and the birds' sweet serenade are not just sounds; they are an auditory hug for kids who find joy and calm in acoustic wonders.

It's all about texture here:

  • Soft, fuzzy lamb's ear
  • Prickly pine cones
  • Smooth, round pebbles

Each element is carefully chosen to encourage exploration and interaction.

Isn't it lovely to feel a part of something bigger than ourselves?

Fragrance plays a starring role in this garden, too.

The air is laced with subtle scents:

Plant Scent
Lavender Calming
Rosemary Invigorating
Chocolate Mint Whimsically sweet

These scents not only please the nose but create a mosaic of memories.

Did you know that scents are excellent triggers for recall?

Imagine the stories that will be rooted in the fragrance-filled air of this nurturing haven.

The Enchanting Oasis isn't just a feast for the senses; it's a nurturing ground for growth, providing a gentle yet powerful sensory experience tailored to bolster emotional and physical development in children with special needs.

Isn't it incredible how a garden can do so much?

Just think about the difference this enchanting place could make.

Isn't it just waiting for you and your curious explorers to partake in its beauty?

AdventHealth Therapists' Sensory Garden

Have you ever thought about how a garden could awaken all your senses?

The team at AdventHealth sure did!

They've cultivated a sensory garden that's more than just a feast for the eyes.

Nestled in the B.E. Smith Family Center, this garden is a nurturing space designed for children with special needs, allowing them to touch, smell, hear, and even taste their surroundings in safety.

Imagine the laughter and joy as kids wander through paths lined with fragrant herbs, or the excitement of playing with interactive elements tailored to stimulate auditory or tactile experiences.

Here's what makes this garden so special:

  • Interactive: Engaging musical instruments for audible enjoyment.
  • Therapeutic: Calming spaces for children with autism and other sensory processing disorders.
  • Educational: Over 5,000 children with special needs have been supported since 1972.

Each design element is carefully thought out by a team—ranging from landscape architects to occupational therapists—to ensure that every child's experience is enriching and therapeutic.

Curious about the size and the reach of this program?

It's vast!

It has touched the lives of more than 5,000 children since its inception.

But it's not just for kids; this accessible oasis welcomes people of all ages and abilities to come together—a testament to community and compassion.

Aren't gardens remarkable when they go beyond just beauty to provide such a profound impact on people's lives?

Easterseals Crossroads Sensory Garden

Hey there!

Have you ever stepped into a garden that awakens all your senses?

The Easterseals Crossroads Sensory Garden in Indianapolis is just that—a place where every corner is an invitation to explore and engage.

Imagine being surrounded by a colorful tapestry of plants that you can't only see but feel, smell, and even listen to.

This garden isn't just a regular garden; it's designed with a beautiful purpose.

It's a 10,000 square foot paradise created to integrate children and young adults with autism, sensory processing disorder, and other disabilities into a public, inclusive setting.

The thoughtful layout and features are there to help these kids connect with nature and experience the joy of a garden.

Here's a peek at what you can find:

  • Variety of Plants: Flowers and herbs with different scents and textures fill the space—it's a treat for the nose and fingers!
  • Sculptures: Touch and admire the variety of sculptures that dot the landscape.
  • Accessibility: Every path and space is designed so everyone can move around freely.

Key Highlights:

  • Size: 10,000 sq. ft.
  • Focus: Inclusivity for sensory experiences
  • Special Features: Specially selected flora and art pieces

Feel free to roll up your sleeves—it's a hands-on experience where touching is encouraged.

Why just look at a plant when you can feel its unique texture, right?

It's a space that goes beyond the visual beauty, offering therapeutic benefits and a fun, interactive environment.

Whether it's the smell of fresh lavender or the cool touch of a marble sculpture, there's a discovery in every corner.

And the best thing about it?

It's all made with love and care to welcome you and all children to a safe, accommodating, and engaging garden.

Come on in and see for yourself!

Sensory Herb Gardens for Special Needs Children

Have you thought about the magic of herbs?

Sensory herb gardens are little pockets of wonder that can open up a world of textures, scents, and colors for children, especially those with special needs.

Imagine your child engaging with nature, learning, and growing through their senses.

Why Herbs?

  • Engaging Scents: Herbs like mint and lavender offer calming and refreshing aromas.
  • Varied Textures: From the soft leaves of sage to the feathery fronds of fennel, herbs provide a tactile playground.
  • Visual Delight: The green hues of herbs are soothing to the eyes, and flowering herbs can add pops of color.

Setting Up Your Garden

  • Accessibility: Ensure that paths are wide and the garden is reachable for all children.
  • Safety First: Choose non-toxic herbs and ensure that all plants are safe to touch and smell.

Herbs to Include:

Herb Sensory Benefit
Mint Refreshing scent
Lavender Calming aroma
Sage Soft to the touch
Fennel Interesting structure
Thyme Variety of textures

Remember, these gardens can thrive both indoors and outdoors.

By incorporating a mix of herbs, you're not only creating a sensory-rich experience but also fostering an inclusive environment where children with varying needs can explore and learn in a safe space.

What's better than seeing your child smile as they discover the fresh scent of cilantro or the tickle of thyme?

Keep those little hands busy and minds active with adventures in your very own sensory herb garden!

Creating a Sensory Garden for Your Special Needs Child

Have you ever thought about building a magical space that can stimulate the senses in a fun and therapeutic way?

A sensory garden just might be the wonderland you're looking to create for your special needs child.

This delightful place is designed to engage the five senses—sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing—and can be a peaceful sanctuary for children with varying developmental needs.

What to Include in Your Sensory Garden:

  • Visual stimulation: Grow a mix of flowers and plants with vibrant colors and diverse patterns. Play with the garden layout by adding winding paths, fun-shaped plots or even a theme throughout the garden.
  • Tactile experiences: Incorporate plants and elements that offer different textures, from the soft touch of lamb's ear to the rugged surface of tree bark.
  • Auditory elements: Wind chimes or water features can provide soothing sounds. Even plants that rustle in the wind add a natural audio dimension.
  • Aromatic smells: Choose plants with fragrant blooms or foliage to awaken the sense of smell. Lavender and mint are great options.
  • Taste-safe picks: If your child loves to explore with their mouth, include edible plants such as strawberries or cherry tomatoes.

Safety First:

Remember, all plants should be non-toxic and non-allergenic.

It's also important to avoid the use of pesticides and to ensure the garden is secure from any hazards.

Creating a sensory garden doesn't only cater to develop the senses; it also builds a bond with nature.

The garden becomes not only a place of exploration but also a nurturing environment that supports your child's development.

Now, are you ready to roll up your sleeves and start this rewarding project?

How to Create a Sensory Garden for People with Autism

Have you ever thought about the wonders a garden can do for the senses?

Let's talk about creating a haven of stimulation and peace—a sensory garden tailored for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

It's a place where you can design experiences to touch, smell, see, hear, and even taste nature in a calming and organized way.

Step 1: Layout with Care

Firstly, structure your garden with clear paths and defined areas.

Think about incorporating signs with images that point out different zones—this way, navigation becomes intuitive!

Step 2: Sensory Zones

Divide the space into distinct sensory zones:

  • Visual: Include a butterfly garden with vibrant flowers to capture attention.
  • Tactile: Have plants with varying textures for hands to explore.
  • Olfactory: Fragrant plants can provide soothing scents.
  • Auditory: Incorporate elements like wind chimes or water features for gentle, calming sounds.

Step 3: Choose the Right Plants

For these sensory zones, pick plants that are non-toxic and robust—safe for handling and exploring.

Engage all five senses with plants that are:

  • Colorful and bright
  • Varied in textures (such as lamb's ear for softness or coneflowers for spikiness)
  • Rich in scents (like lavender or mint)

Step 4: Engagement and Activity

Plan for both quiet sitting areas and spaces for more active engagement.

Incorporate elements that allow for movement, like chasing butterflies, to cater to different activity levels.

Creating a sensory garden is not just about planting; it's about crafting experiences that can stimulate yet soothe, teach yet entertain.

Embrace a palette of sensory offerings in your design and you'll create an enchanting space that speaks to the unique needs of children with ASD—a personal wonderland straight from the heart.

BLOOM Charity Sensory Gardens

Have you ever wondered how a garden can become a healing space for children?

BLOOM Charity is pioneering with their sensory gardens, tailored specifically for kids with special needs.

Imagine a place where the beauty of nature helps in the growth and emotional regulation of children.

What's Special About These Gardens?

  • Designed for Sensory Processing: Perfect for children with autism or sensory processing issues.
  • Therapeutic Benefits: Aids in developing life skills, such as patience and persistence.

Why BLOOM's Approach Works:

  • Engagement: By involving the senses, children become active participants in the learning process.
  • Accessibility: These gardens offer a safe and secure environment that's easily navigable for all children.

What Can You Find in a BLOOM Sensory Garden?

  • Plants: A variety of textures and colors to stimulate touch and sight.
  • Interactive Elements: Objects that make sounds or have interesting shapes to engage hearing and motor skills.

Through BLOOM Charity, each sensory garden becomes a nurturing sanctuary.

As seeds turn into blooming flowers, these gardens not only teach about time but help instill the virtues of patience and dedication.

Each plant, each texture, and each scent is a step towards self-reliance and emotional grounding.

Even better—you’re watching your little ones flourish in a space just for them, a place where they're free to explore, learn, and just be kids.

Play for All

Have you ever imagined a playground where every child, regardless of their needs, can dive into playtime without barriers?

That's the heart behind the sensory garden and playground in Illinois.

It's more than just a play space; it's a blend of fun and sensory experiences tailored to engage children with various needs.

Features to Delight

Sensory Gardens: Brimming with textures, scents, and colors, sensory gardens are a feast for the senses and a blast for curiosity.

They boast plants and materials that are safe and intriguing for children to explore with touch, sight, and smell.

Integrated Play Equipment: Slides, swings, and climbers are smartly designed for accessibility, ensuring every child has a chance to join in the fun.

It’s where the thrill of play meets inclusivity.

Accessibility at Its Heart

  • Smooth Pathways: Wide and well-maintained paths allow for easy movement, whether you're on foot, wheels, or anything in between.
  • Quiet Zones: Spaces for those needing a break from the high-energy play areas offer a moment of serenity and relaxation.

Your Role

You can make playtime magical for children with special needs by supporting spaces like the sensory garden and playground in Illinois.

So, want to lend a hand, spread the word, or simply enjoy seeing all children play to their heart's content?

This inclusive paradise welcomes every ounce of support and every visitor with open arms.

Let's make play for all a reality, shall we?

Isn’t it wonderful when kids can just be kids?

Here’s to more laughter and joy in gardens just like this one, where play knows no boundaries!

Sensory Garden - Indianapolis

Have you discovered the tucked-away treasure at Easterseals Crossroads in Indianapolis?

It’s a sensory garden where every child is welcome to experience the joy of nature tailored to their senses.

This 10,000 square foot space aims to integrate kids and young adults with autism, sensory processing disorder, and other disabilities into a vibrant, public setting.

What can you find there?

  • Plant Variety: Indulge your sense of smell with a range of fragrant flowers and herbs, and feast your eyes on a burst of colors.
  • Textures: Wander and touch various plant textures that are carefully picked to stimulate tactile interaction.
  • Inclusivity: The pathways are spacious, ensuring easy navigation for wheelchairs and walkers.

Imagine the smile on a child’s face feeling the gentle touch of a fern or the rough bark of a tree — sensory exploration is key here.

Plus, the planners have paid attention to the minutiae that matter:

  • Table-high Beds: Designed for children in wheelchairs to easily reach and engage with the plants.
  • Thoughtful Seating: Rest spots are available for both caretakers and kids, making this a spot where you can spend time without the rush.

Safety in Mind: The garden has considered safety for all, providing an environment where you can relax knowing the design minimizes any potential harm while maximizing learning and fun.

This sensory garden isn’t just a garden; it’s an adventure, an experience, and a lesson in inclusivity.

It’s a space that says, "Here, your unique abilities are celebrated." So why not give it a visit?

Feel the peace, witness the joy and be a part of a community that grows more than just plants.


Brittany Melling

Brittany Melling

Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.

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