Child Life, Education and Creative Arts Therapy

Medical Play

Hospitalization, doctor appointments and healthcare experiences can be difficult for children of all ages. Unfamiliar faces, places, fear of the unknown and separation from family members can all increase a child’s anxiety level and challenge his or her ability to cope.

Play is one way children can work through fears and anxieties. Play allows children to express themselves in a way that is familiar to them. Medical play allows children to work out (or "play" out) their feelings or anxieties regarding medical experiences. Angry or aggressive feelings may surface during play. These feelings are a normal response and for the most part should be allowed and supported.

Suggested items to use

Medical play kits, available at most toy stores, contain the necessary equipment for children to participate in medical play. You may want to add items such as a stuffed animal or doll, BAND-AIDS®, cotton balls, tape, gauze, etc.

Ways you can help

Ways to provide medical play for your child by age






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