Yesterday we visited The Shine Shed, a unique all abilities indoor play centre. People have been tagging me in posts about this play centre since it opened in October last year. I was keen to get there but it’s about an hour from where we live so it took me a while to make the trip. Now we’ve been I can say it’s worth a visit for families with and without additional needs.
There are telling touches throughout The Shine Shed that let those visiting know the centre has been designed by someone who truly understands the needs of children, parents and adults with a disability.
Owner Lisa is a speech pathologist, so not only is there thoughtful placement of augmentative communication but the equipment and facilities reflect her knowledge of what it takes to make an indoor play centre fun, educational and functional for all.
A purpose built wheelchair accessible swing is placed in amongst a range of other swinging equipment.
Ramp access ensures children or adults needing, or preferring, to stay in their wheelchair can do so without missing out on the swinging fun.
We were told Hubby isn’t the only adult to take the opportunity to take a lie down while visiting The Shine Shed. What happens at The Shine Shed stays at The Shine Shed but there’s a rumour one parent may have even nodded off while their children were playing! That tells me it’s a place where parents can feel at complete ease.
A large foam pit is located upstairs but it was lovely to hear from Jean, a staff member, how a foam pit was adapted for one visitor. The child was unable to go upstairs so one of the round inflatable trampolines was turned upside down and filled with foam for the little boy to sit in. This gave him his own manageable version of the big foam pit which his siblings enjoyed sharing with him.
BJ was in observer mode yesterday so he didn’t give the flying fox a go but the adaptive seat can take a person weighing up to 56kg. It’s fantastic to see that the flying fox is adaptable with seating options. It can be used with the usual disc seat or staff can make a quick change to the more supportive harnessed seat pictured above.
A long trampoline ensures kids can bounce off any excess energy.
Whenever I see picture communication in a fun setting I think back to how wonderful it would have been to have to use with BJ when he was little. We always needed to ‘stage’ the use of it when we went out. How refreshing to see it being used in a day-to-day setting.
A room with lowered lights is set aside away from the hustle and bustle for children who may need a low sensory visit. It’s also a great spot to take some time out from the main gym area.
An activity board is jam packed with fun activities including ball games, mounted fidget spinners and more. Even as adults we found it irresistible and found ourselves having a play.
Swing seats are also installed in the sensory room.
As a parent I know I look for a cafe which can give me the tea boost I need to keep up with our routine so it’s good to see the cafe at The Shine Shed serves drinks and there’s even ice creams for those hot days. If you need more than a drink during your visit, you are welcome to pack your own food to enjoy at the tables and chairs in the cafe area.
The Shine Shed has two bathrooms available, one of which is accessible.
In another spacious room there is an adult-size change table with hoist and sling. The hoist can be used for the gym equipment if needed.
Accessible parking is available on site. One space is allocated and there’s plenty of other off-street parking.
The indoor play centre is securely fenced which is comforting for parents of younger children and those with a tendency to do a runner.
The Shine Shed can be booked for private events, groups, adults and children’s parties. I hope Lisa and her team get the support they deserve for building such an inclusive and thoughtful place for people of all abilities. When we left, Hubby commented he wondered if Jean (the staff member on duty) did support work as he thought she was so natural and good with her interactions. Another thing Lisa has done right, hired and trained her staff well.
Everything you need to know about The Shine Shed can be found on their website.
If you’ve already played at The Shine Shed we’d love to hear about it, and if you visit in the future, please share your experience and photos.
We did not pay for entry into The Shine Shed, we were visiting purely for the purposes of reviewing the centre. As always, our glowing review comes from being truly impressed.