-written by Carol Martin, Insurance Billing, Rainbows’ Finance Department
All children have a unique capacity to learn. They seem like sponges; soaking up every bit of information. Your kiddo may love dolphins or dogs, photography or films, space or statistics. If you want to encourage that passion, seek out people and places that are doing these activities well and get involved, whether for a day, a week, or a year. Even if this is a passing fancy for your child, the time invested is never wasted. The list below contains some ideas for parents to research.
Sedgwick County Park will host the annual Bug-O-Rama ICT on May 20. This free family event has many types of Volkswagons on display, plus food trucks and other vendors.
A free touch-a-truck event on April 29 at the Wichita State University Child Development Center is a family-friendly activity.
The oldest surviving locomotive from the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway is now housed in the Kansas Museum of History in Topeka. This place is listed as one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas, and contains a Kansas-built biplane, early farming equipment and other memorabilia.
The Sedgwick County Extension office holds classes on gardening, lawn care, cooking and nutrition for low-income families. However, this fall, they will be expanding their nutrition programs and will be visiting classes at Rainbows United!
Wichita YMCA has fun cooking classes for kids, ages 6-12.
Young Chefs cooking classes are held at The Art Park Wichita for elementary-aged children. They get to prep, cook and eat their kitchen creations.
Botanica Wichita will hold classes in May on plant and animal life in the garden. Hands-on projects for K-5th grade kids.
Classic films presented monthly at the historic Orpheum theater in Wichita.
Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival, held in Hollywood, CA, is a four-day movie lovers’ paradise.
Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, runs October 27-November 5, and was the first festival of films for children in the United States. Winners are eligible for consideration at the Academy Awards. Children who attend get to vote for their favorites.
Rainbows’ own GLOW Run | Walk, held in Augusta, KS at Lincoln Elementary School, is family-friendly including: kids’ games and sensory activities, music, live broadcast from B98, a timed 5K, 1-mile family fun walk, contests and more! Join us on Saturday, May 20 for a great time for a great cause.
Heartland Therapeutic Riding, located outside of Kansas City, is one of the first accredited therapeutic riding centers in the United States. They offer hippotherapy, therapeutic riding and summer camp sessions. Their annual horse show is coming up in June.
Engler Farm on Mulberry Hill, Hillsboro, provides riding and horsemanship lessons to beginners. Owner Belinda is a retired special education teacher.
Wheelchair Sports of Wichita is mostly for teens and adults. However, they have a full calendar of events and games for viewing, like hockey, cycling races and marathons, tennis tournaments, etc.
The Tri-County Athletic League (Wichita/Derby/Maize/Wellington/Andover) allows students with disabilities to play soccer and basketball and cheer for their schools.
Dilly’s Place is a playground for children with special needs in Conway Springs. They also hold a free Family Fun Day at the YMCA’s Camp Hyde in Viola.
Wichita YMCA locations have loads of camps, sports and activities for children of every age and ability.
Bliss Bouldering & Climbing Complex is Wichita’s only indoor climbing facility. They hold camps for youth and toddlers, too.
Rainbows United offers Camp Woodchuck each summer for children and young adults with special needs. Camp is a summer recreational and leisure day program serving kindergarten enrollees – 18 years of age. Persons over 18 years can attend if they have been enrolled in an educational program during the previous school year. This year’s Camp theme is Treasure Island. Adventure surely awaits you! Find more info here.
Great Plains Nature Center in Wichita has a fun event on May 20 for animal lovers, the 33rd Annual Walk with Wildlife. For $2 per person, you can see over 50 species of native Kansas wildlife in a ½ mile handicapped-accessible loop of trail.
Chaplin Nature Center in Cowley County has nature tours, hikes and wildlife programs for all ages.
Critter Camp at the Kansas Humane Society in Wichita teaches kids how to be safe around animals, pet care, responsibility and empathy. The activities include games, skits, a tour and crafts.
KultureCity worked with the Birmingham Zoo in Alabama to create a sensory inclusive zoo initiative. All of their programs and exhibits can be accessed by those in wheelchairs or with SPDs. Quiet zones, weighted lap pads and noise-canceling headphones are available for use throughout the facility. Staff has continuing training.
Wichita Professional Society of Women Engineers Engineering Expo will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 29, in Century II’s Exhibition Hall. It is a free activity from students in K-8.
Space Medicine Camp at the Kansas Cosmosphere will be held June 12-17. They will cover all aspects of medicine, as it relates to the body’s reaction to space travel. It is a six-day overnight camp for students in grades 9-11.
The Laughing Feet Performers hold 3-4 shows per year, with singing, dancing and skits. There are both individuals with special needs and typical participants.
Summer Art Camp at City Arts allows campers to try many art mediums, including painting, acting, pottery and silversmithing.
City Arts also has a Youth Photography Exploration four-week class on Monday evenings. No experience required!
Camp Watermark is a day camp for 7-11-year-old kids, hosted by Watermark Books & More. They have five sessions, based on five different YA books.
Winfield Arts & Humanities Council hosts their annual Kansas Voices writing contest, in which high school students may submit their poems or prose for prizes.
Surfside Beach, SC, became the first official autism-friendly city in the country a little over a year ago. Area restaurants, lodging and attractions have all been trained to interact with children and adults who are on the spectrum. You can go fishing, swimming, visit an aquarium, or spend quiet time at Passive Park. For extra benefits, get a free CAN card before your visit.
TradeWinds Island Resorts on St. Pete Beach, FL, employs workers that are trained by the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. In this vacation spot you can take a boat ride, visit the aquarium, play tennis or mini-golf or walk on the beach. They have lots of family-friendly museums close by.
If your young adventurer is into the ocean and all its sea life, Atlantis, Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas is made for you. They boast the largest open air marine environment in the world, with over 50,000 sea creatures, including dolphins, sharks, stingrays and sea lions.
Oahu, Hawaii is a great place for swimming, snorkeling and surfing, but you can also do whale watching tours, ukulele or hula lessons, and not only ride horses and ponies, but also groom and feed them. They are a certified therapeutic riding facility.