Impact Report: Access to Play at Children’s Hospitals Improves Health Care Outcomes for Thousands

toy foundation play grant program impactJanuary 22, 2024 | Play is an extraordinary tool to support treatment plans and improve health care outcomes for pediatric patients. This is evident in The Toy Foundation’s™ (TTF) 2022/2023 Children’s Hospital Play Grants impact report, detailing the experience of 19 under-resourced children’s hospitals throughout the U.S. that received funding to support their unique play therapy projects and activities.

Play projects are in-kind services where hospitals are reliant on external funding or donations to provide to their pediatric patients. The Children’s Hospital Play Grants program helps fill this need through annual grant distribution to under-resourced children’s hospitals, as well as through year-round product donations.

“I have been a first-hand witness to seeing children and teens’ faces light up and walls break down once they receive a toy/coping kit that provides them with comfort and a sense of belonging,” said Janessa Ahrens, certified child life specialist at CHOC Children’s Hospital in Orange, California.

Coping kits, along with sensory stations, technology-enhanced adaptive play systems, themed activity days, and more are among the play projects funded that have impactfully reduced children’s anxieties, supported self-expression, encouraged movement, and ultimately facilitated faster recoveries with fewer long-term negative side effects. Since the program’s launch in 2021, more than 360,000 children have experienced these health benefits through the power of play.

In addition to improving a child’s physical and emotional health, access to play supports hospital staff in administering the best care possible swiftly with fewer risks and without additional medical intervention. These efficiencies are a significant benefit as hospitals experience staffing shortages and are a cost savings to insurance companies and overall health care system.

“Patients are distracted and hold still for lead placement. It takes half the time. These play resources are a game changer,” said an electroencephalographic (EEG) technician at Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Medical Center in Temple, Texas.

Find the full list of children’s hospital Play Grant recipients, project details, and its effects on children, families, and staff in the 2022/2023 Children’s Hospital Play Grants impact report here.

There are opportunities for companies of all sizes to help broaden and deepen the industry’s commitment to deliver the extraordinary benefits of play to children in pediatric care. To learn about engagement opportunities and get involved in the 2024 Children’s Hospital Play Grants program, reach out to TTF staff.