Contact: Kristin Morency Goldman
The Toy Association

Children’s Hospitals Awarded Toy Foundation Grants in Support of the Healing Power of Play

New York, NY | June 10, 2021 – Today, The Toy Foundation, a charitable organization that works with the toy industry to support play programs for children, announced grants totaling over $215,000 to 11 children’s hospitals for innovative play projects designed to help hospitalized children heal.

childrens-hospital-association-toy-foundationThe COVID-19 pandemic has affected the health and well-being of millions of children resulting in a rise in emergency room visits and hospitalizations for mental, emotional, and behavioral health conditions. To help children’s hospitals, especially those serving disadvantaged communities, address this crisis through the therapeutic power of play, The Toy Foundation and Children’s Hospital Association partnered to create “Grants for Play Projects.”

The first round of 11 grants will be used to:

  • Create play-based and sensory-sensitive play opportunities for pediatric ER waiting areas for children experiencing trauma.
  • Enhance mobile-sensory playrooms that provide specialized play for patients with autism, behavioral, and intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Implement children’s medical play into the hospital setting to increase patient understanding, promote coping skills, and enhance the overall emotional preparedness for medical treatments.

“Through this grants partnership, thousands of pediatric patients at children’s hospitals will have access to creative play as part of their healing process,” said Kathleen Campisano, Chairperson of The Toy Foundation’s Children's Hospital Program Committee. “Seeing the power of play enhance the developmental needs of hospitalized children is our overarching goal.”

“One of the difficulties children face during an extended hospital stay is maintaining the joy of childhood through the many procedures and treatments they undergo,” said Amy Knight, president of Children’s Hospital Association. “The Toy Foundation’s Play Grants will support children’s hospitals’ capacity to create healing environments that allow children to engage in developmental play and, frankly, just be kids.”

Child-focused play services are not reimbursed by public or private insurance programs despite the positive impact that play has on helping hospitalized children heal. Child life specialists who develop and organize play programs at children’s hospitals rely on grants to support services that address the emotional, physical and social well-being of hospitalized children.

Children’s hospital grant awardees reacted with excitement. “Our organization is incredibly thankful to receive such generous support from Children’s Hospital Association and The Toy Foundation in promoting accessible and equitable play opportunities to all of our patients. As the only children’s hospital in the state of Mississippi, it is a true honor to care for our child patients, and this project will greatly enrich our program resources, and enhance our child patients’ experience at Children’s of Mississippi and beyond,” remarked Tiffany A. Key, a child life specialist at the hospital.

Recipients of the Play Grants include:

  • Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Little Rock, AR
  • Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Hospital, Temple, Texas
  • Children’s Hospital of Alabama, Birmingham, AL
  • Children’s of Mississippi, Jackson, MS
  • Golisano Children’s Hospital at The University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY
  • Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis, MN
  • Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, Memphis, TN
  • Nicklaus Children's Hospital, Miami, FL
  • OSF HealthCare Children's Hospital of Illinois, Peoria, IL
  • St. Louis Children's Hospital, St. Louis, MO
  • The Children's Hospital of San Antonio, San Antonio, TX

For more information regarding the Play Projects, visit the CHA website.