Child Life, Education and Creative Arts Therapy

Play and Recreation

Play and recreation are a natural part of childhood, and vital to normal development. Children are able to learn, master experiences, express themselves, cope with anxiety, create, achieve, and develop skills through play and recreational activity.

Play also helps children learn to adapt to the healthcare experience. Play and recreation can be therapeutic by giving children the opportunity to explore, express and process their healthcare experiences in a safe, non-threatening environment.

Medical play is a commonly used therapeutic activity in which children use medical themes and materials in their play. By observing children’s play and recreation, adults can learn about the child’s feelings, fears, concerns and misconceptions – information that is crucial in helping children deal with their healthcare experience.

Types of play in the healthcare setting

Tips for playing with your child by age






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