Child Life

Activities for Children

A major component of Child Life programming is the provision of opportunities to play. Play is a vital part of the lives of all children: It is a means for exploring and learning about the world and for developing a multitude of skills. Within the health care setting, play promotes a sense of mastery and provides opportunities for choice, control, creative expression, and socialization. It also helps children communicate and cope constructively with their feelings about illness and hospitalization.

Play takes place in our regularly scheduled group programming as well as on an individual basis for children unable to participate in groups. Activities for adolescents help foster peer relations and boost self-esteem. Here is a list of activities:

  • Bingo: Twice-weekly games of hospital bingo are played on the play deck. Patients from all pediatric units and their siblings search their cards for common hospital items and choose from a wide array of donated prizes.
  • Music Program: Music group activities are provided weekly for both adolescents and younger children by a certified music therapist. These are very lively, interactive groups using both voice and instruments. Music therapy is offered to patients in the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology department during inpatient admissions and visits to the Ambulatory Care Center.
  • Toy Lending Library: We offer a toy lending library where patients can select from a variety of activities to do in their room. This area is run by volunteers.
  • Pet Program: One of the things that children miss the most when they are hospitalized is their pets. Many children are able to relate to a dog in ways that they cannot relate to the myriad of new adults around them. The therapy dogs, who have been specially trained and certified, and their trainers volunteer weekly to visit with appropriate patients.
  • Pirate Toy Program: Supported by the Pirate Toy Fund and community donations, volunteers provide a toy or other age-appropriate gift for each child soon after admission into the hospital. This gift offers comfort as well as, often, something to play with while in bed.

All activities take place in one of our recreation facilities.