During this new ‘normal’, the Play Team are having to find different ways to adapt the resources we provide for the paediatric patients across The Royal London Children’s Hospital. Due to the changing environment, some children are kept in isolation with limited access to the playrooms.
Knowing that play is important for all patients, we have created single use play bags with a variety of different activities inside to keep patients entertained while in hospital. Play is so important in hospital, for all ages, especially during this difficult time. Play is a powerful way in which children learn and understand the world. It is especially important to a child’s development and an integral part in supporting their learning journey. Children can advance many skills through the power of play. They may develop their language skills, emotions, creativity and social skills. Essential skills such as problem solving, working with others and sharing are developed through play. As play is fun, children often become absorbed in what they are doing, and it provides a sense of adventure.
The single use bags have included colouring books, stickers, slime, Lego, books, colouring pencils, activity books, toys including unicorns, robots, dinosaurs, LOL surprise, card games and more! We have adapted bags for different developmental levels and age groups. All things that the children and young people can keep and take home with them when leaving hospital.
In addition to the single use play bags, we have also created single use play mobiles for our younger patient population. The single use baby mobiles provide visual stimulation and promotes brain development. They are a terrific way to give baby’s brain a boost. Sensory interaction is so important for newborns and infants, and that is what makes baby mobiles so useful. The second image is an example of what one of the Play Workers made for a young baby.
One of the most crucial things we needed to think about, is how we communicate information about COVID-19 to the children. Helping to give them a level of understanding and knowledge of the virus, but in a child-friendly manner. The Play Team (with the support of Dr. Susie Minson) have created a leaflet to explain what might happen to a child when coming into hospital during this time. The leaflet includes information on symptoms, the importance of hand washing, the PPE the staff will be wearing, how testing for COVID-19 is conducted and how to access play activities. This colourful, child-friendly leaflet includes a variety of images for the children to understand. The leaflet has been provided in the single-use play bags and throughout the paediatric department. If you’d like a copy to pass onto your own patients, please speak to a member of the Play Team for more information or email us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by: Natasha Luck