Sensory Garden Designed for Everyone Opens at Winding Hill North

New Sensory Garden Just the Latest Inclusive Feature at One of our Favorite West Shore Playgrounds

By Rachael Benion, publisher, Macaroni KID Harrisburg and West Shore June 13, 2024

Winding Hills is already one of our favorite playgrounds.

Designed with inclusivity and accessibility in mind, it's a place where everyone can come together and play naturally.  With features like a sensory maze; adaptive swings; wide-access, mobility-device friendly play structures; misters; ample shade; intentional sight lines; and more, it's a space that makes everyone feel at home.  

When we discovered that they were opening up a sensory garden, Kendra B from Macaroni KID Carlisle and I teamed up to attend the ribbon-cutting on Wednesday afternoon to bring you the scoop.  

"Children, especially neurodivergent children, but ALL children, need spaces that allow them to regulate and I believe that this space is perfect!  It's why you don't put the block area right next to the library center in a preschool classroom. Sometimes it's easy to forget that children also need space to find peace and tranquility." Says, well, me, Rachael Benion, long time educator and child development expert.  (Can I do that? Quote myself?  Who's gonna stop me?) 

The garden wide, stroller-friendly path winds through five thoughtful sections, each devoted to a different sense.  Each area, labeled with signs, offers a unique and delightful sensory experience: beautiful and colorful flowering plants for all seasons, fragrant flowers and herbs, rustling grasses and songbird stations, edible and fruiting plants, and a variety of different appealing textures.

When you visit, try this simple activity with your children.  The 54321 method is a grounding exercise designed to manage stress and reduce anxiety, but it also is an excellent method for regulating an overstimulated child and teaches children to be aware of their bodies and the world around them. As you explore the garden, ask your children to name 5 things they can see, 4 things they can touch, 3 things they can hear, 2 things they can smell, and 1 thing they can taste.

We are excited to watch as the young garden grows and evolves over time and look forward to using this space with our children for years to come!     

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