Helping to Provide Positive Health Care Experiences

Child Life Specialist

A hospital or doctor's office can be a scary place for a child. Our Child Life Services department is here to help support children and their families during their stay at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital, as well as during some outpatient visits and procedures. From pre-surgery tours to activity time, special visitors to therapeutic play, our specially trained staff gives patients the chance to just be kids while they’re in the hospital.

What is a Child Life Specialist?

A Child Life Specialist is unique to a children’s hospital setting. The goal of Child Life Specialists is to minimize the stress and anxiety of children and families receiving medical care.

Child Life Specialists:

  • Help patients prepare for procedures or surgery through medical play
  • Increase patients' understanding of their diagnosis, treatment and ongoing care
  • Provide pre-operative tours
  • Provide developmentally appropriate play opportunities
  • Offer distractions and coping strategies for kids
  • Help siblings understand their brother’s/sister’s illness, surgery or injury
  • Educate parents/caregivers on effects of their children’s conditions related to their development


Volunteers are essential to our Child Life team. Mary Bridge has a great staff of well-trained volunteers who assist with play activities for children. Learn more about volunteering at Mary Bridge.

Activity Rooms

Child Life Services maintains a playroom on the sixth floor of Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, as well as a game room designed especially for teens. They provide a safe place for kids to take a break from their medical routine. Child life experts and volunteers lead daily craft projects and activities in the playroom.

Computers with Internet access are available for patient and family use in our Family Resource Room on the sixth floor. All patient rooms have Wi-fi.

Pre-Surgery Tours

Pre-surgery tours are designed to introduce the surgery experience in a relaxed atmosphere to children 2 years and older, along with their families. A Child Life Specialist will lead your tour and answer any questions you or your child might have. Tours are available for day surgeries and inpatient surgeries requiring an overnight stay. To schedule a tour, call 253-403-5315.

Special Events and Visitors

Every year, Child Life Services coordinates many special events, as well as special visitors, like Santa, Spiderman and local sports personalities. Some of our most popular events include:

  • Movie nights
  • Fun runs
  • Staff vs. children squirt gun party
  • Holiday parties and parades
  • Pet therapy where animals provide comfort to children

Learn More

For more information about Child Life Services at Mary Bridge, call 253-403-5315 or 800-552-1419 ext. 5315.

Children's Understanding Process Through Play