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Use the information provided on this site as an educational resource for determining your options and making your own
informed choices. It is not intended as medical advice or to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any specific illness.
Toys, Products, and Ideas
for Sensory Education
|I've come across a number of websites that are both educationally supportive and emotionally supportive. As I actively
pursue more information, I will add those websites here:
Web Links for Children and Family Wellbeing
The Alliance for Childhood partners working together for healthy childhood. This website advocates for children’s
health and well-being, especially the restoration of creative play to children’s lives.
Development experts say children suffer due to lack of unstructured fun
Children of the New Earth-This online magazine is a brand new, one-of-a-kind, cutting-edge publication devoted
exclusively to the evolving needs of today’s new generation of Indigo kids and Crystal children.
The Wellspring-Promotes the care of an infant/child as a whole being - body, mind, and spirit.
Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children is dedicated to supporting parents, caregivers, professionals, and
policymakers in practicing the art and science of nurturing children.
The Authentic Parenting Site-For all parents seeking to nurture attachment and connection with babies through teens.
Web Links for Sensory Processing, ADD, and ADHD
Sensory Integrative Dysfunction in Young Children
Hemi-Sync and Sensory Integration-Trains the brain with different frequencies presented to each ear through stereo
headphones or stereo speakers to create a difference tone (or binaural beat) as the brain puts together the two tones
it actually hears.
The CHILD Disorder-sums up childhood and how to be an engaged, respectful, and responsive parent
Optimizing Children's Learning Capacities Through Integration of the Sensory Motor System
ADD: Does It Really Exist?
Does ADHD Even Exist? The Ritalin Sham
Get Your Child Off Ritalin!
Celebrate! ADHD-sign up for their newsletter and begin celebrating your children!
Web Links for Autism
Autism Research Institute-"Autism is Treatable"
Autism Treatment Center of America
Autism Treatment Center, by The Option Institute A powerful and effective treatment for children and adults, this
innovative program was the first to suggest that anyone with these diagnoses had the potential for extraordinary
healing and growth.
Strategies for SPD and autism in the classroom.
Local Agencies, Parenting, Family, and Childcare Groups
Action Alliance for Children, California
Santa Cruz County Child Care Planning Council
Child Development Resource Center
Live Oak Family Resource Center
Positive Parenting, classes and downloadable fantastic articles for every stage of parenting
Mommy's of Santa Cruz, local mommies get together with their babies and children
Santa Cruz Moms, local moms' website links and some community events
Santa Cruz Parent, site of Santa Cruz County Businesses related to children and families
TwinkleBaby-the cutest toothfairy dolls, baby blankets, and gift sets all made locally in Santa Cruz and available in
these stores or online.
Therapists,Evaluators, and Special Needs Support Groups in the Bay Area
Steps to Success, Educational Therapy in Capitola, CA
Diana Vaniotis, M.A. Ed., Educational Specialist in Santa Cruz, CA
Developmental Learning Solutions, Assessments, Educational and Speech Therapy, &
Tutoring in Santa Cruz, CA
Abrite Organization, Autism Behavioral Research Individualized Treatment & Education, Santa Cruz, CA
Steven A. Greenburg, Education Law, Special Education Advocate, Santa Cruz, CA
Santa Cruz Directory of CAMFT Therapists (California Association of Marriage and Family) Therapists
Santa Cruz County SELPA (Special Education Local Plan Area), County of Education, Santa Cruz, CA
Pediatric Therapy Center, 8050 Soquel Drive, Suite A, Aptos, CA, 831-684-1804
Resonation Acupuncture offers Sound and Vibration Therapy for children in Santa Cruz
Willa Keizer, C.C.H. Certified Classical Homeopath in Santa Cruz
Don Mordasini, Psychotherapist Specializing in ADD, Evaluations, Assessments, & Counseling in Santa Cruz and the
Bay Area, CA
Lisa deFaria, MSW, LCSW, 9053 Soquel Drive, Suite 203 Aptos, CA 95003
Phone: (831) 684-2281 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Special Parents Information Network (SPIN), in Santa Cruz
Parents Helping Parents, in Santa Clara
SPD Bay Area Resource Group, Sensory Processing Disorder Group
Shared Adventures in Santa Cruz offers many activities to bring the outdoors to kids with special needs
Local Activities and Places to Go
I also love to promote local activities so here I will list fun places to go in The San Francisco Bay Area, Monterey Area,
and Santa Cruz Area of California for some sensory processing fun!
Santa Cruz Area
Furlanic Holiday Lot-Pony rides, a petting zoo, bounce house, and visits from Santa are some of the attractions you'll
find at the Furlanic Lot. They sell pumpkins and Christmas Trees and something fun is always happening there!
Who could visit Santa Cruz without a trip to The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk? It's free to enter and you can get
tickets and ride only the rides you want to. There are plenty of spinning, swinging, dropping, and flying rides for all
ages here! For small children there are at least 10 little airplane, dragon, boat, and whale rides that go around in
circles. There is a junior size roller coaster and junior size "drop" ride. For family rides there's the log ride, ferris
wheel, Cave Train, and Merry Go Round with a special twist. Older kids will love the Hurricane, Giant Dipper, and
Double Shot. There's also three arcades, miniature golf, laser tag, and pool tables upstairs. AND..if that's not
enough, on Friday nights throughout the summer, they have free concerts on the beach! We bring blankets and a
picnic and have a wonderful dinner while watching the sunset and listening to music.
A really fun and educational experience I had recently was at The UCSC LifeLab. I was a chaperone for my son's
kindergarten class and they had so much fun. The guides are incredibly good with kids. There are plenty of tactile
experiences and there's a huge mulberry tree with delicious berries. They get to see bees, lady bugs, worms, and
chickens. There are tunnels through bushes and a "musical" tree. After our tour we stayed and had lunch at the
picnic tables. I'm not sure if everyone gets a tour or just the school field trips, but it was a thoroughly enjoyed by all.
See our Garden Therapy page for more gardening info.
Take a nice easy walk through the magnificent redwoods at Henry Cowell Park. The redwood grove trail is flat and
wide enough to push a stroller through. The redwoods are numbered so you can follow along and read about each
one. There is one that is hollow inside and you can actually walk into it like a cave! It is a wonderful walk for all ages.
Our nature page explains how important it is for kids to be in nature.
Simpkins Swim Center in Live Oak has a wonderful warm water pool and a large water slide for kids over 48". There's
also a tiny tot pool for babies and a lap pool for adults. Open swim times are different every day, so check out their
schedule on the website. They also offer swimming lessons from Spring to Fall and have a safe, fun program. My kids
have taken lessons there for the past three years in a row and always improve while having a great time. See our
Aquatic Therapy page for benefits of swimming.
Another excellent program for kids is Rod Sanford's Martial Arts in Soquel. They emphasize safety and kindness and
every lesson includes a short talk about an issue relevant to children. They stretch and run and learn to focus and
listen. With classes starting as early as 4 years of age, my kids always look forward to Karate days.
A huge foam pit is the main attraction at Santa Cruz Gymnastics. They offer classes for all ages and special events
like Halloween parties and "date nights" where they'll watch your children while you go out. They have great birthday
parties too that include a big jump house, balance beams, swings, rings, trampolines, and of course, the foam pit. The
instructors are good with the kids and make exercise fun. Our Gymnastics page explains why kids benefit physically
and mentally from gymnastics.
Ages 0-5 will love the program at Music Together. They have many locations to choose from available on the website.
Music Together is a community of children, their families and teachers sharing songs, instrument play, rhythm chants,
and movement activities in relaxed, playful, non-performance oriented settings. They are committed to helping families
rediscover the pleasure and educational value of informal music experiences. My children enjoyed the Music Together
classes so much as toddlers. It was also a great place to connect with moms and make new friends. Music Therapy is
widely used to help children socially and emotionally.
San Jose Area
A favorite with my family is the San Jose Children's Discovery Museum. Here they have all kinds of hands on
exploration. There is an section with old style wagons, a real fire engine, and a pretend post office. The bottom floor
shows all different ways to make bubbles and the top floor has a special toddler room for ages 0-4 with lots of blocks,
paints, and dress up stuff. Throughout the museum there are experiments with balls, wind, weights, etc. There is also
a whole section devoted to water play and an outside garden area. The museum is a definite must several times a
year and they have different exhibits every couple months.
Happy Hollow Park and Zoo is a great place to visit in San Jose. They have old style playgrounds with tall slippery
steel slides and a merry go round. There is also a real merry go round ride as well as 3-4 other rides including a
"dragon" train. There is a neat maze to run around in, a boat and ship to explore, and a few "weird" houses with lots of
slides. The other side of the park has a small zoo with some animals for petting, a lot of birds, lemurs, and monkeys.
Admission is $1 on the second Tuesday of each month.
The Jungle Fun & Adventure in San Jose has a huge ball pit to jump in and three stories of
tunnels to crawl through. There is a small bumper car ride and a building block area for toddlers. There used to be
many more "stations" for toddlers, but these, sadly, have been replaced by video games. My kids were plenty busy in
the ball and tunnel area for almost two hours so it's a good stop.
In Monterey, there is The Monterey Bay Aquarium which is always a full day's adventure. There are several touch
tanks spread throughout and a whole "Splash Zone" dedicated to kids where they can slide, paint, play in the water
area, and discover new animals. Many of the exhibits have a feeding time and lots of "teaching" props. There are a
couple tanks which have large fish like tuna, sunfish, and sharks. Bat rays are available to be touched and everyone
loves to watch the otters and penguins playing.
Just down the street is the wonderful Dennis the Menace Playground which has great slides and a real train engine
that kids can climb on, in, and around. There's a rock-climbing wall, a swinging rope bridge, a roller slide, and a life-
sized hedge maze. Next to the playground is a lake with paddle boats for rent. Your kids will not forget this park!
My Museum in Monterey is one that I have not visited yet, but plan too very soon. They have all sorts of building
areas, water play, fingerpainting, magnets, and theater play. It's also only $2 every Tuesday. Details to follow.
San Francisco Area
The Exploratorium in San Francisco is a huge museum filled with all sorts of experiments and hands on displays. Our
favorites are always the magnets and bubbles. Their current exhibits include a listening area, seeing area, and a
Tactile Dome that sounds extraordinary! You need to be 7 to go in the Tactile Dome plus have good knees and not
be claustrophobic. When my son is old enough (and willing), I'll fill you in.
The San Francisco Zoo is a large, open zoo with a great train ride, carousel, and lots of friendly animals. There is a
"family zoo" for little ones and special zoo "keys" that unlock a storybook explanation at some exhibits. The first
Wednesday of the month is free.
Adventure Playground in Berkeley was created from the concept that children had the most fun designing and building
their own equipment and manipulating their environment. The formula for Adventure Playgrounds includes Earth, fire,
water, and lots of creative materials.
Habitot Children's Museum in Berkeley is The East Bay's Discovery Museum for young children. There are classes
and workshops for ages 18 months to 7 years. They have a recycling center exhibit, water play area, and art studio.
The museum's multisensory and thematic exhibits foster curiosity, problem solving, social interaction and