Our Child Life Department helps make your family's experience at the hospital a positive one. Child Life specialists are members of your child's healthcare team. They work directly with you and your child to help you relieve tension, express concerns and fears, and feel more in control about your hospital experience.

Child Life Specialists Can:

  • Explain a diagnosis or treatment in words your child or teen can understand
  • Create a coping plan your child can use during a medical test or procedure
  • Offer support during and after a medical test or procedure
  • Use play to help your child understand medical procedures and express feelings
  • Work with medical staff to assess your child's unique needs
  • Give you information about child development and the effects of health care
  • Teach techniques to help your child cope and relax
  • Offer support to help families cope with death or loss in partnership with the Journey Program

Therapeutic Play programs promote healing and help children express feelings and cope with pain. Our art and music therapists work with patients at the bedside, as well as in small groups. Our Pet Partners visit most of our hospital units.

Our Therapeutic Play Programs Include:

Music therapy

Read about music therapist David Knott.

Art therapy

Read about art therapist Rosalie Frankel.

Animal-assisted activities

Animal-Assisted Activities at Seattle Children’s Hospital

For some children, the stress of a hospital stay can be so overwhelming that medical treatment becomes extremely difficult. But a visit from a therapy dog gives many patients the energy and motivation they need to make progress and to experience joy, even in the midst of challenging circumstances.

Seattle Children’s Animal-Assisted Activities program, presented by PetSmart Paws for Hope, offers patients, family and staff interaction with volunteer dogs and handlers registered with Pet Partners. Benefits include stress reduction, normalization of the hospital environment and overall feelings of comfort and happiness. We have several volunteer dog teams who take turns visiting patients every day. Therapy dog teams regularly visit most hospitalized children.

Services We Offer

Inpatient Playroom

Our inpatient playroom is a place for fun, safe, supportive play and social interaction. Children enjoy activities and entertainment, as well as a wide variety of books, toys and crafts. Patients and their brothers and sisters, accompanied by an adult family member, are welcome in the playroom. Trained volunteers are available to help with activities in the playroom or in patient rooms. Check our schedule of events and activities, posted each week in the playroom, on all inpatient units and in the Family Resource Center.

  • On level 4 floor of Seattle Children's, by the Frog elevator
  • Volunteers are available for play sessions:
    • Monday through Thursday: 10 a.m. to noon, 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.
    • Friday through Sunday: 10 a.m. to noon and 2 to 4 p.m.
  • Open:
    • Monday through Thursday: 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
    • Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    • Saturday and Sunday: 9:30 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 4 p.m.

Teen Zone

Teens and their brothers and sisters age 12 and older are welcome to visit the Teen Zone. It has video games, computers, a foosball table, board games and arts and crafts.

  • On level 4 of Seattle Children's in the Mountain A zone
  • Open:
    • Monday through Thursday: 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
    • Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    • Saturday and Sunday: 9:30 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 4 p.m.

Sibling Playrooms

Seattle main campus

The Sibling Playroom is a place where brothers and sisters can play while patients and caregivers go to a clinic appointment. The Sibling Playroom welcomes children ages 3 to 11 years old who are toilet-trained, on a first-come, first-served basis. They may stay for up to two hours. Patients and younger children are welcome in the Sibling Playroom when an adult is with them.

Location: Level 6, Ocean zone
Hours: Monday through Friday: 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m.

Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center

Find out about the Sibling Playroom at the Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center.