Indoor Activities for Kids with Special Needs


School’s out, the holidays are in full swing and it’s getting just a little too chilly for kids to play outside long enough to get all their energy out – a perfect recipe for cabin fever! The challenge of what to do in this situation can be particularly tricky for parents of children on the autism spectrum, who need a place to burn off extra energy without becoming overstimulated. Here are some area indoor options designed with children with special needs in mind.

Free Play

It was going to be a long winter if Carter’s Play Place, an inclusive play gym in Westfield, had closed like owners feared it may have to this summer. But the beloved play space got a last-minute reprieve, and it will continue to be a great place for children of all abilities to get moving as the weather turns colder. Open seven days a week, kids can explore swings, climbing equipment, a trampoline and more for $10 ($8 for siblings; siblings under 2 are free) or take part in scheduled classes. More info:

Get jumping during Sensory Hour at Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park with locations in Fishers, Plainfield and on Indy’s south side. During the designated hour, the music is turned down and an adult can jump with their child for free. You can even hit all three locations in a month! In Fishers, Sensory Hour is on the second Monday of each month at 6 pm; on Indy’s South Side, it’s the second Tuesday of each month at 4 pm.; and in Plainfield, it’s the first Wednesday of each month at 4 pm. Children’s tickets are $8. Check each location’s website for details:;;

The Park Indoor Playground at Traders Point Christian Church, just off Interstate 65 in Whitestown, can be loud, with its soaring play structure, rock climbing wall and basketball hoops, but the space also features a “Quiet Zone” for children with special needs, complete with a sensory swing. There is no entry fee. More info:


Several YMCA of Greater Indianapolis branches, including Baxter on the south side and the Fishers branch, offer adaptive programming, including WAVES (Water Access for Very Exceptional Swimmers) a swim class aimed at helping those with special needs be comfortable in the water, and adaptive sports. Prices vary by program. Search options by branch:

The Monon Community Center in Carmel offers a slew of adaptive activities for all age levels, from preschool soccer to karate and yoga, plus one-on-one and semi-private adaptive swimming lessons. Prices vary by program. Learn more at or contact MCC Inclusion Supervisor Michelle Yadon at (317) 573-5245 or [email protected]

The Joseph Maley Foundation will host Adaptive Yoga classes at its northwest side enrichment center this month. Intended for those ages 4 to 21 of all abilities, participants can learn to express themselves through yoga poses and modifications that increase strength, balance, focus and good posture. Classes will be offered Sundays, Dec. 3, 10, 17 from 3-4 pm, and Wednesday Dec. 8 from 6-7 pm. The cost is $40. More info:

Indy Stars Gymnastics on Indy’s northwest side offers adaptive gymnastics on Thursdays for children 3 to 7 from 5:30-6:30 pm and for children 8 and up from 6:30-7:30 pm. The program costs $65 a month. More info:

Wright’s FUNdamentals Gymnastics’ Center Grove location in Greenwood hosts a parent/child class called Special Forces on Saturdays from 9-9:50 am for children with special needs ages 3 to 8. Monthly tuition of $47 also includes an open gym session each week. More:

Looking for more low-key indoor options? Check what your local parks department offers for adaptive programming and call local indoor playgrounds, bounce places and sports complexes to ask when they are typically the least busy. Have fun!



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