Kristen Johnson, a child life specialist at Children’s, gives tips on the most helpful toys to donate and how toys help children heal in the hospital setting.
Children in the hospital like the same toys as kids at home. Sometimes, they may have specific needs, depending on their medical condition or developmental level. This is why it is so important for us to have a variety of toys for children of all developmental levels.
How to donate toys to Children’s
If you are interested in donating a toy to the hospital, we accept brand new toys and stuffed animals with tags still attached. Since everything must be very clean to prevent the spread of germs in the hospital, we ask that toys have all plastic pieces so they can be easily sanitized.
Read our Toy Wish List for ideas, and then contact the Child Life Department at 214-456-6280 to schedule your toy donation delivery.
Toys are therapeutic for hospitalized children
In the hospital, toys can:
- Serve as a diversion from pain, discomfort and boredom
- Help to normalize the environment
- Help to relieve anxiety or fear
- Facilitate the expression of feelings
- Provide children with opportunities to exert control
- Serve as an outlet for excess energy
- Allow children opportunities to have fun
- Encourage children to get up and move around which may help with recovery
Great toys for children confined to a hospital room include:
- Action figures
- Table-top play kitchens, tool benches, etc.
- Individual craft kits
Toys for children with special needs
For children with special needs, parents often request light-up toys, toys that make noise and toys that play music. We also get requests for toys that can be played with using limited motion (light-up toys that respond to being lightly touched or pop-up toys that react to a slight tap).
We always defer to the parent for children with developmental delays. It would be wonderful if parents of special needs children would donate a new version of their child’s favorite toy as they often know best.
Remember that every toy donation helps our patients on their road to recovery.