05 Nov Sense Bluffton – Building a Sensory Play Area in Bluffton, SC
This year I am participating in the 2019 Hilton Head Leadership Program through the Hilton Head-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce. As part of this yearlong program, my class is partnering with the Bluffton Rotary Club to build a sensory play area at Oscar Frazier Park in the heart of Bluffton. This project, called Sense Bluffton, will provide a play area specifically designed for children with special sensory needs, including a sensory play center and a Sounds of the Low Country experience. While the parks in Bluffton, including Oscar Frazier Park, provide play places and activities for children, there is not a current park tailored for children with special sensory needs. Our goal is to start addressing this need.
Sensory Play Center.
A sensory play center, pictured below, is an area that is designed to accommodate all children, but is specifically designed for children with special sensory needs to engage their senses: touch, smell, taste, movement/balance, and hearing.
Children with special sensory needs have trouble processing everyday sensory stimulation and can be easily overwhelmed by things you and I never notice, such as noises coming from the coffee pot, dishwasher, or dryer. Quite often the touch of a person’s hand or hug, the texture of a clothing tag or material, or the way a particular food feels in their mouth can cause a child with special sensory needs to be overwhelmed. A sensory play center allows a child with these special needs to experiment with different objects and textures on their own terms and gain valuable hands-on information about the world around them. Research has proven that sensory play builds nerve connections in the brain’s pathways, which improves a child’s ability to complete increasingly complex learning tasks. Sensory play supports language development, cognitive growth, fine and gross motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction.
Sounds of the Low Country.
Sounds of the Low Country is a museum quality exhibit that will provide all park visitors with the opportunity to listen to the sounds of sea life. Did you know that almost every animal in the ocean makes a different sound? It’s true. The University of South Carolina Beaufort has been collecting these sounds and has agreed to allow the Leadership Program to feature its recordings in an outdoor exhibit as part of the picnic pavilion at Oscar Frasier Park. Our hope is that children and adults alike will have a stronger connection to our local marine life through this project.
How to Get Involved.
We believe Sense Bluffton will be immensely beneficial to the community. Our goal is to provide families in the Hilton Head and Bluffton communities with a play area that is beneficial and tailored to the Low Country. In order to make this project a reality, the Leadership Program is seeking donations from local organization and individuals through January 2019. The sponsorship levels beginning at $250 and all donations are tax deductible. We will recognize our donors at the ribbon cutting ceremony and with permanent signage at the park. If you want to be involved or contribute to this project, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or visit our website. We appreciate your support in advance.
Lauren Williams is an attorney with Russell P. Patterson, P.A. in Hilton Head, SC. She can be reached at (843) 341-9300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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