Supportive Play

children playing

Children learn and grow through play. During stressful times, play can restore a child's sense of control and normalcy, and can provide a lifeline to moments of joy and laughter. Hospitalization is a particularly stressful, anxiety-provoking time for many children who face an unfamiliar environment, separation from family and friends, and traumatic procedures. The benefits of play, activities, and child life special events programming is profound in promoting positive coping and fun during hard times.

Play Resources

There are many areas in Bloomberg Children’s Center for patients and families to play and participate in child life programming. The David M. Rubenstein Building for Child Health Outpatient Services has play areas within the family lounges.

Play AreaLocation
Outpatient Oncology11 N
Inpatient Oncology11 S
Great Room11
Adolescent Medical Surgical10 N
School Age Medical Surgical/Burn10 S
Pediatric Clinical Care and Cardiac Inpatient Unit9 N
Infant/Toddler Medical Surgical9 S
Pediatric Intensive Care/Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit4 S/N
Pre Surgical Area4 N
Children and Family Resource Library3
CCTV StudioMain Loop (2)
Sarah’s GardenPeterson Family Courtyard, next to Balducci's

Bedside Play

If your child is not able to leave his or her room, you can ask your nurse or child life specialist for play ideas, items and materials to play at the bedside.

If your child does not feel well enough to play, they can direct you in playing for them. This can be an empowering experience for children. Ask your child life specialist for ideas.

Therapeutic Play

Child life specialists work with patients to help them process their feelings and emotions through play. This allows patients a chance to express themselves, helps clear up misconceptions and helps the child life specialist identify stressors and opportunities to teach coping skills to the patient. Therapeutic play looks different for every child and child life specialists meet patients where they are to assess what the best therapeutic play opportunity would be.

Health Care Play

When provided with real or pretend medical supplies, children are given the opportunity to play through their health care experiences. Child life specialists can use health care play to help prepare children for an experience they will soon encounter or help them process an event after they have experienced it.