Play in other settings

For children who have complex health issues, time to play can be limited. Incorporating play into different settings, such as hospitals or doctor’s surgeries, can be very useful.
A play worker or therapist will be able to provide suitable toys – or the child’s favourite toys can be brought from home if protocol allows.

While it may not always be possible to bring lots of toys into a hospital ward, there are practical nursing items that can be adapted to make excellent sterile play-things:

  • Blow up a rubber glove, draw a face on it or fill it with water
  • Try tapping rhythms on a disposable paper bowl
  • Survival blankets are shiny, have an interesting texture and make a nice sound. You can take turns scrunching a corner
  • ‘Beads of Courage’ recognise a child’s journey and can help them to talk about it
  • ‘I’ve been GOOD!’ stickers can make you very popular!

If the child requires a quiet space it is always worth asking if a room is available.

Top tip

Remember that anything brought into a hospital needs to be reviewed for suitability in a sterile environment. It is also best to avoid toys that need to be plugged into an electrical socket.

First published: Monday 17 October 2016
Updated: Monday 31 October 2016