Sensory Friendly Holiday Activities

Monday, December 2 2019

The holiday season can be an especially stressful time for parents of children on the autism spectrum, and it can be a difficult time for those with autism. Here are some helpful activities for your child and family to enjoy during this holiday season.


The Wiggles and Big4 team up

Amaze has a great article for families can refer to: ‘Ultimate holiday survival guide: travel ideas and tips to reduce stress’.

Also, Big4 and Amaze have teamed up to release Australia’s first script with social stories for planning a holiday to holiday parks.

Click here to download the script and find out more about Big4 and their inclusive efforts.


A sensory friendly movie session allows families and children with ASD to enjoy a movie in a safe and accepting environment. It usually involves the cinema adjusting the sound and lights to suit the children’s sensory sensitivities, while they are allowed to get up and move around, making noise.

You can find out more about these sessions from the following cinemas:

Village Cinemas – offered at all cinemas, check screenings by location

Event Cinemas, Moonlight Cinema

Hoyts Cinemas – check by location

Classic Cinema, Elsternwick

Cameo Cinema, Belgrave

Lido Cinema, Hawthorn

Regent Cinema, Ballarat

Melbourne Museum

The museum can be a confronting place for sensitive visitors. Melbourne Museum has created social stories for families and teachers visiting the museum with children on the autism spectrum. Written for children in consultation with Amaze, the stories have photographs to show children what they’ll encounter during a visit to Melbourne Museum. 

You can also use their map that indicates high and low sensory spaces within the museum to plan a visit to suit your child.

Click here to find out more about Melbourne Museum’s Sensory Friendly details. 

Sealife Aquarium

Sealife Melbourne offers special low-sensory sessions from time to time. These are aimed at families who would benefit from a calmer, more sensory friendly environment. Music is turned down, lights are adjusted and professional staff are available to lend a hand. We recommend you contact them to find out when these sessions are available.

Indoor Play Centres

We Rock The Spectrum Preston We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym, located in Melbourne’s north, offers kids of all abilities a safe place to play using specialised sensory equipment.

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre in Melbourne provides sensory friendly mornings for kids and their families. At these sessions, special accommodations include: a reduction of sound and light levels, quiet spaces, reduced centre capacity, specially trained staff are available, plus social scripts are available.

National Gallery of Victoria

The NGV holds Relaxed Sessions – these are an opportunity for visitors with Autism, sensory sensitivities or a disability to have a quieter gallery experience, with fewer people and reduced noise. The NGV also provides some tips for visiting and social scripts that you can download for your child.

Camps and Activities

My Care Space has compiled a great list of school holiday camps and activities, including networking, sports, outdoor activities, and coding, that give children living with a disability the opportunity to share in fun experiences in an environment where they are provided with appropriate support. It also gives parents and carers the chance to spend time with children in a relaxed environment.

‘Quiet Hour’ Shopping

Colescheck if your local store is participating and session times

    • Store lighting will be reduced
    • Coles Radio will be switched off
    • Register and scanner volumes will be reduced to the lowest level
    • No trolley collections, and roll cages will be removed from the shop floor
    • No PA announcements (except in the case of emergencies)
    • Free fruit will be offered at customer service
    • Additional team members will be available to support customers

Woolworths – 260 stores Australia wide, on Tuesdays, 10:30 to 11:30am

To find the stores that participate in quiet hours, click here – search for a store by postcode and then click the stores in the search to find out if they participate.

Christmas Preparations

During the holiday season, children with Autism can need extra support. We’ve suggested some helpful tips to help your child stay safe and calm, and reduce their anxiety, and increase your family’s enjoyment of the holiday season. You can read our article ‘Tips For The Holiday Season’ here.

Also, the article ‘Christmas Chaos Preparations’ from Autism Awareness Australia is written by a mum about her son with Autism and their family’s experiences during all the Christmas festivities.