Navigating the Hospital pt. 5

Games and Activities to do During your Child’s Hospital Stay

It is common for most children’s hospitals to have a playroom available for your children in the hospital along with a large stock of games, toys and activities. If you are not told about a playroom or available games and toys, don’t be afraid to ask if this available for your child. If a child life specialist is available at your child’s hospital, you could ask if they have any activities that are specific to your child’s needs, development, or restrictions. Below are a few games and activities that could be fun for your child while in the hospital.

  • If your child has any favorite toys or games at home, bring those with you to the hospital. If you have any card games, small travel games or puzzles your family enjoys brings those with you as well. This could be a great opportunity for maintaining a family connection.
  • At the start of your child’s hospital stay it can be fun to create an “About Me” poster to hang up in their room. On the poster they can write or draw some of their favorite things such as, their favorite food, favorite movie, favorite toy, favorite color, etc. They also include information about their siblings, pets, and any other fun facts about themselves they would like to include. This can be used to personalize your child’s hospital room and provide your child’s care with fun facts about them to assist in building rapport. If there is a language barrier or if your child is shy, this help build a connection between the child and their medical care team without verbalizing this information.
  • If your child has limited mobility, cotton ball soccer can be a fun game. To play this game, you would need your child’s rolling tray, cotton balls, two cups and straws. To play, each player can blow the cotton ball using their straw to get the cotton ball in their respective goal (the cup) to score.
  • Hospital room/unit scavenger hunt can be a great activity for helping child become more comfortable with the hospital environment. It may helpful to ask your child’s nurse or child life specialist for assistance with this activity. Together you can create a of hospital supplies, equipment, and people that your child must find and check off the list. This can be especially helpful if either your child is overly anxious about their surroundings or if they will be staying at the hospital for a longer period of time.
  • If your child is beginning to become overwhelmed with being the hospital, it could be helpful to create a shield of strength. To make a shield of strength start my cutting out a shape of shield or have your child do this. Then, talk with your child about what makes them feel strong and have them draw or write it on the shield. Some examples may be their family, friends, church, God, etc. This could be a great time to talk with your child about how God is always with us and gives us the strength we need to get through difficult experiences. You could create a shield of strength for yourself and show your child what encourages you and gives you strength. After making the shields you could put them up in your child’s hospital room in a prominent spot and encourage your child to look to when they become discouraged or overwhelmed.

Developed by: Charlie Ann Bishop, CCLS