Look for the teal text for special needs news.
Do your kids need a musical outlet right now? Laurie Berkner is hosting “Berkner Breaks” (aka live concerts) most weekdays on Facebook at 9am. Hailed as the “Adele of the preschool crowd” by The New York Times, Berkner provides an outlet for kiddos to get up, move and play. You can also check out her educational music videos on YouTube.
Have you read our online field trips article? The trips listed in there barely scratch the surface of what’s available! For example, Reunion Tower now offers virtual visits. You can check it out here.
Punkinfutz—a company that makes sensory play products for kids with special needs—is now providing resources for parents navigating the challenges of the COVID-19 situation. Every Wednesday at 11am, Punkinfutz’s Facebook page will offer discussion on timely topics, recommendations and best practices. Each session lasts 45 minutes.
Have you signed up to receive emails from the Dallas Museum of Art? Each Monday the museum sends out “Museum Mondays” full of things to read, watch and make.
Dallas Museum of Art // dma.org
North Texas Performing Arts in Plano and the Crayola Experience Plano are offering virtual classes. For NTPA, click here; for Crayola, click here. Also, Paint My Pottery in Plano is offering Pottery To Go
Guidepost Montessori in McKinney and Frisco recently launched an Emergency Care for Essential Workers program. The program is designed to provide childcare to those who are considered essential workers during COVID-19 closures. Contact the locations for tuition information. More locations are tentatively slated to offer the program as well.
Guidepost Montessori // tohigherground.com
CAMP Dallas is now offering virtual birthday parties. For those kiddos who are stuck at home, CAMP will host a 30–40 minute virtual party for kids across the country each day at 4pm. The parties include magic shows, games, storytime, music and much more. Sign up for the parties here. CAMP is also offering free coloring and activity books you can download here.
The Gray School of Music is offering lessons online. Pick from drums, voice, violin, guitar, ukulele, rock ensemble and piano. Online classes are available through Facebook, Skype, Google Duo, Google Hangout and Zoom. For more information, email Vicki, the owner and director of the Dallas school, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Arlington Museum of Art has daily artistic inspiration available on its Facebook and Instagram pages. Recently, the museum demonstrated how to make a chalk art piece as well as art using construction paper. Check back each day for a new craft.
Snapology of Grapevine-Keller now has online classes available. Every morning on social media, check out a new LEGO Build Challenge that gives kids something to do that is creative and uses their STEM skills. Also, Snapology just started Virtual Meet Ups where a teacher works with a group of kids through a LEGO build. This allows the kiddos to have some virtual playtime with their buddies while they work on something together. Check out the class schedule and an example of an online class, or if you want a private class, click here.
The Center for Integrative Counseling and Psychology is expanding its tele-counseling options during COVID-19. While the service has been available at the Center for years, the expansion is now providing counseling to those who need it without potentially exposing both clients and staff to the virus. The sessions are covered by most major insurance providers; to sign up, just call 214/526-4525 to make an appointment and request a consent form.
The Center for Integrative Counseling and Psychology // 4525 Lemmon Ave., Suite 200, Dallas; 214/526-4525
The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History is now providing virtual STEAM programming. While the museum and schools are closed, check out the Discovery Lab Online on the museum’s YouTube channel. Content includes art, science investigations, and even live animal demonstrations. The programs are targeted toward a variety of ages, from preschool to middle school. You can see the upcoming schedule and lesson descriptions on the website as well as social media pages.
Fort Worth Museum of Science and History // 1600 Gendy St., Fort Worth; 817/255-9300
Two Dallas-based businesses are coming together to bring gardens to North Texas residents. Starting Thursday, March 19, Alto will deliver complete Gardenuity garden kits to DFW residents’ doorsteps. It’s a great way to stay busy while also being able to connect with nature. Each garden kit includes: portable and reusable grow bag, fully rooted plants matched to the location and season, foundation compost (1 gallon), coir (expands to 5–6 gallons of total growing), soil primer, micro-nutrients, PH toner, a 30-day and 60-day feeding and a seasonal Grow Pro Membership. Order your kit on the Gardenuity website and use the code ALTO at checkout, which allows for free same-day delivery (if placed by 2pm) or next day delivery by an Alto vehicle.
Gardenuity // gardenuity.com
Alto // ridealto.com
Nickelodeon recently launched #KidsTogether—a global initiative that aims to help kids and families stay informed and engaged with activities during the time of isolation. Some popular shows include SpongeBob SquarePants, Blue’s Clues & You!, Henry Danger, Bubble Guppies and The Casagrandes, The new platform intends to be an additional resource for parents while providing kid-appropriate and kid-directed information through videos, interstitials, downloadable activities and social content. You can find it all online at NickHelps.com.
The Irving Arts Center is providing free to-go art packs for kids. On April 2 from 8am–5pm, the center’s story time moves online with take-home craft projects that can be picked up curbside. The theme for this project is colors. And on April 19 from 1–4pm, the center’s Second Sunday Funday will take place online with take-home craft projects that also can be picked up curbside. This project will include activities that go with the Earth Month theme.
Irving Arts Center // 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd., Irving; 972/252-7558
The Parenting Television Council has put together resources for family-friendly entertainment options during this time of quarantining. You can see the full list on the PTC’s TV Watchdog Blog, and the PTC recommends downloading services such as VidAngel and ClearPlay to help with filtering on devices for services like Prime, Netflix and more.
Sawyer, an online resource for kids, now has hundreds of virtual classes. Try music, yoga, coding and tutoring in various subjects. The site also provides various videos and activities for all ages. Some classes are free; others vary in price.
Sawyer // hisawyer.com
Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Education Agency recently launched a virtual map that will show where meals are provided across the state in light of the many school closings. The Texas Students MealFinder Map will continuously be updated and provide facility addresses and the days and times the meals will be served. The map is available through TEA website.
Children’s Health is using its Virtual Visit app to help the community have access to safe and convenient care from their comfort of their home due to increasing concerns around COVID-19 in North Texas. You can use the Children’s Health Virtual Visit app to talk to physicians, clinicians and nurse practitioners, 24/7, from your smartphone, tablet or computer. Children’s Health is also offering free COVID-19 screenings through the Children’s Health Virtual Visit app with the code: COVID19.
Church Eleven32 is mobilizing its Hope is Here campaign during the coronavirus outbreak. The church will hold Hope Lunches where it will partner with Chick-fil-A to provide lunches for those in the community that depend on school-district meals. These will be held at an Allen and a Wylie location. Lunch pick-ups are from noon–1pm, Monday–Friday.
Church Eleven32 // churcheleven32.com
700 Rivercrest Blvd., Allen
711 Woodbridge Parkway, Wylie
The new Coppell Arts Center is set to open this May. The 30,000-square-foot building will have six different spaces for events, exhibits and entertainment. It also will feature over 120 art installations from commissioned artists and a nightlife venue. For more information, visit the website or check it out on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Coppell Arts Center // 505 Travis St., Coppell; 972/304-7047
Fort Worth Country Day is one of 40 schools worldwide selected for the Empatico Kindness Champions Fellowship, established by the KIND Foundation. FWCD is also the only participating school from Texas and one of 15 from the United States. As part of the program, 17 fourth-grade students will connect with their Empatico “partner” school to learn about different communities, practice kindness, share personal stories and more.
Fort Worth Country Day // 4200 Country Day Lane, Fort Worth; 817/732-7718
Bass Performance Hall is now certified as a sensory inclusive venue. It is the first performing arts center in Texas to receive the certification. Bass Hall was certified by leading non-profit KultureCity, which is known for effecting change for those with sensory needs.
Bass Performance Hall // 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth; 817/212-4280
California-based ice cream shop The Baked Bear is coming to North Texas. The shop is known for its massive ice cream sandwiches that guests can mix-and-match to create their own sweet treat. The shop will be located at Grandscape in The Colony and is set to open mid-March.
The Baked Bear // thebakedbear.com
A new apprenticeship program is now available in Texas: the Camp Fire Early Education Apprenticeship program is the first of its kind and is a response to the need for early educators who work in licensed child care facilities to have a clearly defined career path. The program is based in Fort Worth. Click here for more information.
Camp Fire Early Education Apprenticeship Program // 2700 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth; 817/831-2111
MUTTS Canine Cantina is coming to Watters Creek in Allen. The dog-lover’s restaurant and bar is set to open fall 2020. Like the other DFW locations, the Watters Creek location will include two enclosed lawn spaces for pups, a separate patio with concession-style food and a “Doggie Menu” for the four-legged patrons. For updates, visit the website.
Watters Creek // 970 Garden Park Drive, Allen; 972/747-8000
To celebrate Down syndrome this month, CornDog With No Name will offer a new corndog on their menu where proceeds will benefit the Down Syndrome Guild of Dallas. The Unicorn Pup corndog is made up of the classic corn dog with funnel cake batter, maple syrup, whipped cream and rainbow sprinkles. The event runs now through March 31.
CornDog With No Name // 10220 Technology Blvd. E., Suite 102, Dallas; 214/810-3052
The NCAA Gymnastics Championships return to Fort Worth April 17–18. This is the second time Fort Worth will host the championships, and the event will be held at the new Dickies Arena. Tickets are on sale now. For more information, or to purchase tickets, click here.
Dickies Arena // 1911 Montgomery St., Fort Worth
North Texas is getting its first assistive technology evaluation center in Fort Worth. Lighthouse for the Blind of Fort Worth recently received an award to be a provider for Assistive Technology Evaluations. This will be the fourth in the state and the first in DFW. The center will now be able to give Texans who are blind or visually impaired the ability to learn what types of technology will best benefit them to go back to college or obtain, retain or advance employment. Lighthouse expects the center to open early summer 2020.
Lighthouse for the Blind of Fort Worth // 912 W. Broadway Ave., Fort Worth; 817/332-3341
Texas Ballet Theater will soon offer ballet classes for young dancers with Down syndrome through its new adaptive dance program. The classes are designed for kids 5–7 years old and will allow them to explore the ballet world in a supportive environment. Currently, there are two, four-week series scheduled for spring 2020—one at the Fort Worth studio and one at the Dallas studio—and the classes will take place on the weekends.
Texas Ballet Theater School, Fort Worth // 1540 Mall Circle, Fort Worth; 817/763-0207
Texas Ballet Theater School, Dallas // 300 N. Coit Road, Suite 231, Richardson; 214/377-8576
The 2020–2021 season of Broadway At the Bass has been announced. The season features seven shows including The Lion King, Dear Evan Hansen, Cats, Oklahoma and more. Visit the website for more information on tickets.
Bass Performance Hall // 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth; 817/212-4280
Kids can get their STEAM on now in Farmers Branch. STEAMspark Montessori Experience serves students from Farmers Branch, Irving (Las Colinas), Coppell and Carrollton with a STEAM-based curriculum. The program will include robotics, digital coding, leadership and even culinary arts. You can take a virtual tour of the new facility here. Visit the website for program options.
STEAMspark Montessori Experience // 1400 Valley View Lane, Farmers Branch; 214/809-5767
A new steakhouse opened in Fort Worth at The Sinclair Hotel—Wicked Butcher offers everything from fish and fresh oysters to steaks, various sandwiches and fresh salads.
Wicked Butcher // 512 Main St., Fort Worth; 817/601-4621
The Dallas Museum of Art has a new exhibit to check out. Flores Mexicanas: Women in Modern Mexican Art aims to represent women in Mexican Modernism. There will be two galleries: one dedicated to artist Ramos Martinez and one gallery with more than 25 paintings, paper works and textiles by renowned artists working in Mexico. The exhibit opened to the public Feb. 16. General admission is free.
Dallas Museum of Art // 1717 N. Harwood St., Dallas; 214/922-1253
A new group for moms launched Feb. 12. The Founding Moms’ Dallas chapter will hold biweekly meetings and offer online resources for mom entrepreneurs. The group already boasts over 12,000 members across more than 60 cities and 12 countries. The Dallas branch will meet every second and fourth Wednesday at 10am at Venture X The Realm at Castle Hills.
Founding Moms Dallas // http://bit.ly/dallasfoundingmoms
Venture X The Realm at Castle Hills // 4400 TX-121 Suite 300, Lewisville; 469/615-2114
A new family entertainment venue opened in Lewisville. Lewisville Fun, a 60,000-square foot venue now offers games and activities for all ages. Think installation, escape room and interactive experiences all under one roof. One section, Labyrinth, involves 42 mini-games that test your mind and body while developing teamwork. Airborne is part ninja-warrior obstacle course, part rock climbing wall, trampolines, foam pits, trapeze and more. Golden Axe allows your test your axe throwing skills, with guidance from a trained expert. Need more information? Contact the venue at email@example.com.
Lewisville Fun // 1087 W. Main St. Suite 102, Lewisville; 214/222-0021
Dallas Summer Musicals has announced its upcoming 2020-2021 season. Shows include Jersey Boys, Oklahoma!, Tootsie, Mean Girls, Wicked and more. Season packages start at $265. Visit the website or call 1-866/276-4884 to reserve your seats.
Dallas Summer Musicals // 909 First Ave., Dallas; 214/565-1116
Fort Worth’s Hill School has unveiled a first-of-its-kind website built for audiences with learning differences. The new site incorporates features including dyslexia font toggles and typefaces, bright graphics and other high-tech digital tools.
Hill School // 4817 Odessa Ave., Fort Worth; 817/923-9482
The Helm ABA is celebrating its fifth year and opening its third location in Dallas. The new location is at the intersection of Hillcrest and I-635. The Helm ABA serves children and families affected by autism without having to travel out of their community or place themselves on waitlists to receive therapy.
The Helm ABA // thehelmaba.com
A new app has recently been developed specifically for moms. The Mindful Mamas app, created by licensed psychologist Terra LaRock, includes guided meditations, mantras, breathing techniques and 1–3 minute exercises called Mini-Pauses. The app was designed so moms can fit self-care into their busy lives and so smart phones can transform from distractors to peace providers. The app will launch in February.
Mindful Mamas // mindfulmamasclub.com
New technology now enables children who are blind to learn coding alongside their peers. Code Jumper allows students to connect strands of code through pods, which take block coding off the screen and put it on the table in front of the students. The pod’s functions are indicated by colors and differently shaped knobs, so students can identify each pod by sight or touch. Kids can learn about sequencing, iteration, selection and variables while also learning computational skills.
Code Jumper // codejumper.com
The Frisco Public Library was recently named the Top Innovator in Customer Experience for the library’s artificial intelligence (AI) project. The project combined coding, AI kits and classes that make AI accessible to entrepreneurs, students and anyone else looking to learn.
Frisco Public Library // 6101 Frisco Square Blvd., Frisco; 972/292-5669
InBloom Autism Services opened a new learning center in Farmers Branch. The center focuses on ABA therapy for kids and offers additional programs and features. Call to schedule a tour of the new space.
InBloom Autism Services // 1801 Royal Lane, Suite 300, Farmers Branch; 888/754-0398
The Dallas Zoo has officially become a certified sensory-inclusive facility for children and adults with autism and sensory sensitivities. The zoo is partnering with an organization called KultureCity to make sure its programs, events and campus all are sensory inclusive. In order for the zoo to be certified, members were trained by medical professionals on how to recognize guests with sensory needs as well as how to handle a sensory overload situation. In addition to having access to dedicated sensory rooms, sensory bags will also be available and includes noise-cancelling headphones, weighted lap pads and more for those that feel overwhelmed.
Dallas Zoo // 650 S. RL Thornton Freeway, Dallas; 469/554-7500
A survey commissioned by the Boy Scouts of America recently found that Generation Z across the US believes bullying to be the biggest issue facing their community. The survey asked 1,002 Americans ages 6–17 to prioritize the top five issues from a list of 20. An additional 241 individuals were surveyed specifically in Texas within the same age range. Bullying was the issue 31% of youth said they wanted to solve the most with hunger coming in second (28%), and care for elderly, poverty and homelessness all tied at third place (24%).
Boy Scouts of America // 1325 W. Walnut Hill Lane, Irving; 972/580-2000
The Autism CARES Act of 2019 was signed into law on Sept. 30. This authorizes $1.8 billion in federal funding to autism research, training and services over the next five years. Additionally, funding will continue to enhance education, early detection and intervention activities at the Health Resources and Services Administration through training of future leaders and healthcare professionals.
Autism Speaks // 1 East 33rd St. Fourth Floor, New York; 646/385-8500
Allen Police Department and Dodd Law Offices are partnering to enroll individuals with special needs in Project H.O.M.E.—a program that helps first responders identify children or adults who are unable to communicate their names or addresses. To enroll, the individual or parent would complete information sheets and get pictures taken. From there, the individual’s information is in the specialized database. With the information, if an adult or child with special needs is found wandering, the police will be able to return them to their caregivers or parents quickly and safely. Enrollment is also available anytime at the APD Headquarters during normal business hours. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Allen Police Department Training Facility // 900 S. Greenville Avenue, Allen; 214/509-4350
1 in 6 children in the U.S. have a least one mental disorder but only have of them receive treatment from a mental health professional, according to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics. The 2017 Beyond ABCreport by Children’s Health noted that 1.2 million children in Texas live with a mental health disorder. Prosper Independent School District partnered with Children’s Health to introduce a school-based Telebehavioral Health program that allows elementary to high school students have virtual consultations at school.
A new playground designed to be accessible for children of all abilities opened in West Plano. Windhaven Meadows Park’s Liberty Playground—a 20,000-square-foot playground—will allow children with and without disabilities to play together. The park also includes walking trails, a pond, a dog park, restrooms, a pavilion and a spray ground.
Windhaven Meadows Park // 5400 Windhaven Parkway, Plano
The Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas has a new building—a huge 13,090 square foot facility in Southwest Fort Worth. This is a big change from their old space of 4,000 square feet. The building has a state-of-the-art milk-processing laboratory, new reception room with child activity center, a private lactation counseling room and more. Also, mothers can take part in a new initiative called Baby Café, a program that offers free drop-in breastfeeding support from a certified lactation consultant.
Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas // 7617 Benbrook Parkway, Fort Worth; 817/810-0071
KidZania opened its first US location at Stonebriar Centre in Frisco in November. Kids will have the opportunity to take a peek into various industries and careers such as a firefighter, chef or surgeon through different activities and adventures. Your kiddos will be able to learn some life skills while having fun at the same time. Some of KidZania’s partners include MOOYAH Burgers, Southern Methodist University, Planet Fitness and Spotify. Great for ages 4–14.
KidZania USA // kidzaniausa.com