Sensory-Friendly Programs

Sensory Friendly Programs

The Museum offers a Sensory Friendly Room on the weekends to provide a quiet space for families of children with autism, sensory sensitivities, and special needs.

On Sundays families can join us for Sensory Friendly Hour before the Museum opens and stay for Art Time in our Sensory Friendly Room.

During any visit, noise-canceling earphones are always available free of charge at the front desk.

Plan Your Visit

The story below is written from a child’s perspective and can be helpful in planning which exhibits to visit and in which order.

Social Story

When I get to the Hands On Children’s Museum I will go through the front door and wait while my grown-up checks in.

I will see happy staff members in blue shirts. If I get lost or have a question, I can ask them for help. There will also be Museum volunteers wearing aprons, some of their aprons are red and some are blue.  I can ask them for help too.

I will see lots of different things at the Hands On Children’s Museum. I can look at my map and choose where I want to play.

I must remember to use my walking feet and stay with my grown-up at all times.

After getting my hand stamp, I can hang up my coat in the coat room.

In the Good For You area I will see a garden and shops where I can buy and sell pretend food. There is a truck and a house that I can play in.

In Our Puget Sound I will see a water table where I can make a boat. I can also load cargo on the ship and explore on board.

In the Emergency area I will see a place that looks like a small city to play in. There is a fire truck, a police car and an ambulance. There is a helicopter where I can pretend to fly and bring people to the hospital. There is also a Nursery where infants are cared for.

I will see a blue slide and the Tides to Trees climber that I can go in if I want to and if my grown-up says it is OK. Upstairs I can play at the wind tunnel or put on a show in the Fabulous Forest. I can build a house in the Build It! gallery or play in the Move It gallery nearby.

Some things might make sounds. Some things might have bright lights. I can use my words or show a picture saying I need a break.

There are many places to take a break. I can go to the quiet space (ask Museum Staff) to read a book or I can do an art project in the Arts & Parts Studio.

If I need to go to the bathroom, I can tell my grown-up and they will take me.

The grown-up I am with will tell me when the Hands On Children’s Museum is all done. We will hear a message on the museum speakers. It will be time to go.

This Social Story was developed by Scotty Jones, a former museum educator, and modeled after the Children’s Museum of Houston.

Sensory Friendly Hour

Enjoy a Quieter Visit

  • Experience the Museum before it opens to the general public on Sundays, 9-10 a.m.
  • Museum open for families of children with sensory sensitivities or special needs only
  • Lights are dimmed
  • Sounds are off
  • Flashing lights are off
  • Join popular teacher Misty Irvin for a special hour of play
  • Connect with other families who may share similar life experiences

Special Program Rate

Members: FREE Admission
Non-members: $7.50 per person, ages 18 months & older
Babies are free
EBT Card Holders: First 2 guests FREE / each additional $2 with EBT card and ID, sponsored by WSECU

Online Reservations Required

Sensory Friendly Room & Art Time


Saturdays 1-4 p.m. & Sundays 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.


Sensory Friendly Room

The Museum is committed to creating an inclusive sensory friendly space to support families with autism, sensory differences, and special needs.

Our Sensory Friendly Room is a (safe and calm) space where you and your child can relax and regroup. Here you can find books, soothing textures, tools and resources.

Stay as long or as little as you like.


Sensory Friendly Art Time

Join teacher Misty Irvin in the Sensory Friendly Room for various sensory satisfying art activities.

Participate in guided or self-guided art activities, or take home a sensory friendly art kit.

Try your hand tinkering with tools, explore various textures, and create fun crafts.


Presented by:

Premera logo

Supported by:

Agostinho Rodrigues Trust

Off-Site at Sensory Tool House

Sensory Tool House

NEW Art Maker Series at Sensory Tool House, LLC

Join us for a FREE Art Maker Series at the Sensory Tool House. Each month the art series will feature a new maker experience based on the seasonal offerings by the Hands On Children’s Museum.

Classes run 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on the third Saturday of the month (Oct. 15, Nov. 19, Dec. 17).

The class is designed for ages: 8-12 years old developmentally with accommodations and opportunities to adapt activities for younger and older participants upon request.

Space is limited. Please register here to reserve a spot. Caregivers are welcome to stay and support.


Presented by:

Premera logo

Sensory Friendly Kits

New Sensory Friendly Kits

The Museum offers free Sensory Friendly Art Kits to our sensory program families. Each week your child will be able to choose a different kit from our selection (all materials are included). Pick one up during Sensory Friendly Hour or in the Sensory Friendly Room. If you are unable to attend the event and would still like a kit, please email Misty Irvin at

Contact Us

Lahela Peterson (Sensory Friendly Coordinator):

Misty Irvin (Sensory Friendly Education Lead):


Sensory-Friendly Boo Bash Boy at Airways Maze

Enjoy sensory friendly Boo Bash activities.

Learn more.