Play is a natural part of a child's life, benefiting children physically and emotionally. The Child Life Program at Advocate Children's Hospital - Park Ridge offers a wide range of activities designed to amuse and foster a positive mental attitude in hospitalized youngsters. Infants to nine year-olds can express themselves through creative arts, discover their inner beauty with Picture Me therapy, move to the rhythm of dance movement therapy or participate in a variety of other fun-filled activities. Pediatric inpatient playroom activities include:
Click here for a list of our charitable sponsors and to find out how you can help support Child and Teen Life programs.
Creative Arts (Daily)
Paints, playdough, shaving cream and water are some of the materials used in the creative arts program, to help children express feelings regarding treatments, exams and procedures. Creative activities involve the child's imagination, which allow fears, concerns or anxieties to surface and be dealt with in a non-threatening environment. Drawing, storytelling and movement to music are some of the techniques incorporated into these sessions.
Medical Play (Daily)
Medical play is a therapeutic play activity that provides a constructive outlet for the stresses associated with hospitalization. During medical play, children reverse roles to become the physicianï rather than the patient. Using real medical equipment, children treat Child Life staff or dolls and are encouraged to re-enact medical procedures. This supervised activity enables Child Life specialists to address patient's concerns, fears and fantasies.
Medical art, another form of therapeutic play, allows young patients to become more familiar and comfortable with medical supplies, by giving children the opportunity to use these supplies in creative art projects.
Music Therapy (Weekly)
Musicare is a healing arts program sponsored by Pastoral Care that provides many therapeutic benefits for our young patients, including:
- Release of emotion through various means such as banging on a drum
- Restoring control through selection of songs or instruments
- Promoting self-esteem with positive feedback and feeling good about one's abilities
- Promoting relaxation through diversion
Led by a registered music therapist or music therapy intern, this program encourages patients to sing, play musical instruments and respond to music and song in creative ways. Patients can also use music and imaging in pain management. The program meets once a week as a group but can also be arranged on an individual basis daily.
Cooking Activities (Monthly)
Children prepare simple recipes in the playroom to be enjoyed by the pediatric unit's patients and staff. Cooking sessions include the preparation of special treats for holiday or seasonal celebrations, as well as healthful snacks combined with a lesson on good nutrition from the pediatric dietitian. This enjoyable activity also gives children the opportunity to thank staff members for taking care of them.
Animal Assisted Therapy (weekly)
Animals serve to encourage patients to participate in interactions, thus aiding in physical (as well as emotional) recovery. Patients can become involved as the animals provide an incentive to return to normal behaviors and activities. The playful animal motivates as well as stimulates physically handicapped to perform and provide social skills for all patients on the unit. Animals also provide patients with something unique to do in a hospital setting
Horticulture Therapy (Monthly)
Horticulture therapy brings the healing elements of nature indoors. It provides physical and psychological value to young patients, while enhancing the hospital environment. Children enjoy nurturing potted plants and completing seasonal projects using natural materials, such as making flower arrangements or designing wreaths. These projects can then be taken home with the children upon discharge. Sponsored by donated funds.
Unique Entertainment (Monthly)
From time to time, the pediatric unit is treated to special performances sponsored by generous community members, groups and organizations. These performances brighten our holidays as well as add cheer throughout the year. Past entertainment has included visits from clowns, puppeteers, jugglers, storytellers, theater groups and celebrities.
Game Time (Daily)
Games offer fun-filled diversions for patients and families. They encourage social interaction and serve as an impetus for patients' getting to know one another and make new friends. Games are located in the toy closet on the pediatric unit which offers a large selection of games, including cards and board games.
Starlight Entertainment (Monthly)
The Starlight Children's Foundation sponsors a monthly magic show at Advocate Children's Hospital. The one-hour show is performed in the playroom and offers a light-hearted diversion for pediatric patients and their families. The show's magician also performs personal magic shows for children unable to leave their rooms.
Dance Movement Therapy (Monthly)
Dance movement therapy is an uplifting activity that promotes healing through movement to music. Move it sessions, facilitated by a registered dance movement therapist, are designed to motivate patients' physical recovery and encourage the expression of feelings. The program's techniques are adapted to developmental stages or physical limitations of patients to ensure a successful experience. Sponsored by donated funds.
Therapeutic benefits of this innovative program include:
- Promoting recovery through a return to normal activity
- Promoting positive body awareness and self-esteem
- Restoring patients' control of their body in an unfamiliar environment
- Encouraging release of tension associated with the stress of hospitalization
- Facilitating nonverbal expression of feelings
- Enhancing relationships by improving communication and bonding between patients and their parents or staff
- Providing diversional activities that improve the hospital experience
Humor Cart (2x Month)
Laughter and good humor provide emotional and physical benefits, so Child Life offers humor therapy, a unique program that blends with other therapies within the medical setting. Child and adolescent patients and their families are amused by the antics of colorfully dressed volunteers, trained in humor therapy, as they travel from room to room throughout the pediatric and adolescent units and outpatient clinics, with a fun-filled humor cart. The humor cart is loaded with a special selection of funny jokes, silly games, goofy gags and gimmicks that elicit smiles, giggles and belly laughs wherever it goes. Specially trained LGCH volunteers also affiliated with Jewish Women International offer this program for our patients. For more information on the humor cart program please call 847.723.TOYS(8697).
Yoga for Kids (monthly)
The Yoga for Kids program is a therapeutic activity that can provide many benefits for the patients and family. In a hospital setting, where movement and physical activity can be quite limited, the Yoga for Kids program can allow patients and family members to engage in yoga instruction that is safe and appropriate for the patients. The yoga instructional material and activities can help improve focus, achieve calm, decrease anxiety and stress, while building a sense of empowerment. There will be a great emphasis on relaxation. The yoga instructor will work with the patients and families in the playroom and will also meet with patients at bedside.
Open Heart Magic
"One-on-one magic helps children feel special, more confident and empowered. Our specially trained hospital volunteers use a new kind of close-up magic which we call interactive magic so children experience the joy of being part of creating the miracle, not just passively watching it". http://www.openheartmagic.com
Theme dinners are special events held in the playroom, complete with decorations, party favors and various holiday themes. These dinners are offered periodically for patients and their families.
Hollywood Video Movie Night
Patients and families can still enjoy newly released movies when they are in the hospital. Every month, Hollywood Video comes to the hospital bringing movies that are appropriate for children and teens. Patients and families can enjoy the movie in the playroom and teen lounge with popcorn and candy. Patients who are unable to leave their room can also enjoy watching one of the newly released movies in their room.
Child and Teen Life programs and activities are supported by generous contributions from community members, organizations and area businesses. Click here to learn how you can help support the Child Life Program at Advocate Children's Hospital.
For more information on any of the programs held in the playroom call 847.723.TOYS(8697).