Sensory-friendly Saturdays

Celebrating neurodiversity in our community

The Ontario Science Centre has partnered with Geneva Centre for Autism to offer sensory-friendly events and programming the first Saturday of every month.

While our doors remain closed, we’re offering Sensory-friendly Saturdays virtually! Join us for free, educational and engaging online workshops that are open to and appropriate for all ages and abilities.

Each 60-minute workshop includes:

  • Presentation with practical tips and strategies for anyone interested in autism awareness, acceptance and support, including parents, caregivers, educators and individuals with ASD
  • Live, post-presentation discussion with a question and answer period

Workshops are free, but preregistration is required and spaces are limited. Be the first to know about our monthly sensory-friendly programming by signing up for our newsletter. Check out our Virtual Events + Programs schedule to see what's coming up.

Don’t worry if you can’t make the live event. We’ll share recorded versions of virtual Sensory-friendly Saturdays on this page.



Benefits of Crafting

Saturday, April 10

Research suggests that crafting can have a positive effect on individuals who live with anxiety, depression and other mood disorders. Crafting together in a group setting can also provide a positive environment for people with autism and other neurodiverse conditions. Join us for a panel discussion with experts, including developmental paediatrician Dr. Melanie Penner from Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, to look at the many benefits of crafting and creating social community.


Talking to Kids About Autism

Saturday, March 6

Introducing a child to their diagnosis or explaining autism to school-age children can be challenging. Learn about strategies, tips and resources, including books and videos, for talking about autism with kids. Led by a Geneva Centre for Autism social worker, this session support parents, caregivers and teachers in raising awareness of and discussing autism with kids in an honest, open and constructive way.

Voices on Race and Autism

Saturday, February 6

Dr. Sharon Smile and Clovis Grant talk about anti-racism in autism care. Share your own experiences, ask questions and learn about the effects of structural racism on people with autism and their caregivers in a safe and welcoming environment.


Toilet Training

Saturday, December 5

Toilet training can be a challenging journey for most children (and their caregivers!). Learn strategies to make toilet training easier—from recognizing signs of readiness to preparing your child to dealing with setbacks. Discover tips and tricks to make toilet training your child a success.

Make play dough you can pull, squeeze, twist and poke! Measure, mix and knead your ingredients for multi-sensory play.


Community Supports

Saturday, November 7

Caring for a child with autism presents daily challenges and stresses that can affect a caregiver’s overall well-being. Respite care is a valuable tool that benefits both the caregiver and their loved ones. Learn about the importance of respite, and find out about different options and resources to meet your family’s needs from respiteservices.com.

Create colourful leaf art! Collect as many different types of leaves as you can for this leaf rubbing activity. How many trees can you identify by their leaves?


Positive Parenting

Saturday, October 3

Discover the benefits and practices of positive parenting! The most common parenting challenges are compounded for parents of children with special needs. Learn strategies for consistently parenting your child with mindfulness, compassion and care to best support their learning and development.

It’s a liquid. No, it’s a solid. Wait… it’s both?!? Make Oobleck, and learn about the properties of this non-Newtonian substance. Stir it, squeeze it and jab it, and discover what happens.


Building Independence

Saturday, September 12

Independence is a step-by-step process. Find out how to help your child gradually build their independence in different areas—from self-care to leisure activities—and get tips for reinforcing independent behaviour.

Blow big, beautiful bubbles using our famous KidSpark bubble recipe! Plus, learn how to turn household items like spatulas, string, straws and even socks into bubble wands.


Back to School Strategies

Saturday, August 1

September is just around the corner. Going back to school means changing routines, which can be stressful and anxiety-inducing for children who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Discover different tried, tested and true strategies to help prepare for the new school year, making the transition from summer to school smooth and successful.

Feathers and sparkles and beads—oh my! Upcycle household materials to create a colourful carnival headpiece. Then turn up the soca and parade proudly in your creation.


Building Routines

Saturday, July 4

An established routine is important for kids, especially those who have ASD. Get practical tips for building and sticking to a realistic routine—from planning to reinforcing to practicing.

Make a squishy, sensory stress ball using balloons and flour to relieve stress and anxiety. Experiment with other textures to create your ideal sensory experience.