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Child Life

In Child Life we help children understand and cope with hospitalization. Focusing on developmental needs of children, Child Life Specialists provide education, play and emotional support for patients and their families. Child Life Assistants oversee the Child Life Playroom and Educational Learning Center.

Child Life Specialists are available Monday through Saturday, from 8:30 am to 5 pm. As part of the medical team, Child Life Specialists collaborate with staff within the Hospital to help meet the needs of the hospitalized child. Some of the services a Child Life Specialist provides are:

  • Illness and hospital education
  • Surgery and procedure preparation
  • Therapeutic and recreation play activities
  • Coordinate special events, entertainment and activities
  • Grief and bereavement support

Services Offered

Child Life Playroom

The Playroom (located on the Garden Level) helps children do what they do best…play! In the Playroom – away from medical tests and procedures – children can enjoy: arts, crafts, music, games, reading, movies and video games. The Playroom also hosts events like Bingo, holiday events, music programs, as well as special guests and celebrity characters. Bedside activities and movies are available to children unable to come to the Playroom.  

Infant, Toddler & Preschool Time

Each weekday morning, youngsters have the Playroom to themselves. Age appropriate activities help children cope with being in the Hospital. Parents are encouraged to interact in this fun and stimulating environment.

Educational Learning Center

A child’s education does not have to stop because a child is hospitalized. School is a routine that kids are used to. It’s one way to provide something normal during a hospital stay.

Children (grades K-12) are encouraged to visit the Educational Learning Center (ELC) while treated at Children’s. The ELC has educational activities, computers and games to help kids continue to learn while in the Hospital. For children who are scheduled to be here for more than 10 days, a Golden Valley School District teacher can be assigned to provide grade appropriate instruction.   

Teen Time

Child Life recognizes that hospitalized teenagers have unique needs, issues and concerns.  “Teens Only” time is set aside weekdays in the Educational Learning Center; teens can interact with their peers and participate in fun activities just for older kids.

Preparing Your Child for Surgery

Hospital Orientation Program

The Day Surgery Hospital Orientation Program, also known as HOP, helps to decrease fears and concerns about surgery by teaching patients ages 3 and up, siblings and their families, what to expect on the day of surgery.  We offer a tour, answer parent and patient questions and provide the chance to play with real medical supplies. 

The HOP program is guided by a Child Life Specialist and a surgical nurse. We offer our program every Tuesday at 4 p.m. beginning and ending in the Day Surgery waiting room.  No RSVP is necessary.

For more information about the HOP tour, call (559) 353-5383 Mon-Fri 7 am - 3 pm.

To learn more about preparing your child for surgery, visit the Surgery section of the Children’s Health Encyclopedia or contact the Pre-Surgical Office at (559) 353-5303 or (800) 548-5435.

Wish List

The Child Life Department at Children's Hospital appreciates donations of items for our patients to use during class time and play time. This Children's Hospital Patient Wish List will help you as you consider making a much appreciated gift to our program. 


Child Life
(559) 353-5444