It goes without saying that all children are different, and motivated by different things. Sonny loves anything sensory and is very active, so I tend to take him to places I know will incorporate either of these things. We always use public transport as I think its good for him to learn about trains and buses and to interact with others, ‘say hello to the bus driver Sonny!’ etc. Also on buses I can show him different things and encourage him to talk, ‘look, a bridge…what colour is it?’ etc.
Here is a list of some places we have been to that we really enjoyed:
V&A Museum of Childhood
Location- Bethnal Green
A sandpit kept Sonny happy for a long time (quite small but full of toys to play with!) There is also a small sensory area, which proved to be very popular. The staff at the museum are happy to help- at the information desk they have blue backpacks that are especially designed for children with autism, so they can better access the facilities at the museum. Inside, there are ear defenders (which Sonny loved), sensory toys, PECs cards (pictures and symbols to help communication), toy cars etc.
It is only about a two-minute walk from Bethnal Green Underground Station and is well sign posted.
Battersea Park Children’s Zoo
Price- £5.50 for child with disability, carer is free (bring proof of disability)
So Sonny and I didn’t actually get around to seeing any animals here. This was because the outside play area there is ridiculously AWESOME. Toy diggers, remote control boats, loads of climbing frames, a huge fire engine and tractor that you can get inside, sand pits and basically any child’s dream. It was difficult to drag him away when it was home time. Definitely worth a visit! We got lost on the way there, so ended up doing a very long walk through the park before we arrived.
Lots of buses near though and about a 5 minute walk from Sloane Square Underground Station. They have parking very near.
Discover Children’s Story Centre
Price-£5.00 per person. Saturday morning 10-12 is FREE
This has a large outdoor play area, with various climbing frames. They also had a lovely
indoor space, with sensory areas, a climbing frame, and a space for arts and crafts. It got quite busy when we were there, but is good for a child who likes to explore and is creative. One small draw back is there is nowhere to sit and eat lunch.
Every Saturday morning there is a free session for special needs children and their siblings and parents. Sonny and I didn’t go to this as we went on a Sunday, so not sure what sort of thing they do, worth ringing up about it though I think.
About a 5 minute walk from Stratford Underground Station.
The Science Museum
The Science Museum has lots of interactive machines available for children to play with on the third floor, and Sonny really enjoyed this. It did get quite busy, but it was good because it meant I could encourage him to engage with the other children playing on themachines and talk to him about turn-taking etc. Children with autism often struggle with this, so I thought it was a good opportunity to get Sonny to try more social play.
Short walk from South Kensington Underground Station and is well sign-posted.
Soft Play Centres
As Sonny is very active and loves physical play we often go to soft play centres. I take him to lots of different places (as I think getting him used to different environments is good for him to learn). Here are a list of good soft play centres in London that we have been to:
-Bramley’s Big Adventure- Notting Hill
-Clown Town- Finchley
-Topsy Turvy-Brent Cross
-Talacre Treetops- Kentish Town