The Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department

A stay in the hospital can be unsettling at any age. For children, medical procedures, unfamiliar surroundings, and new faces can be particularly stressful. Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy at Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital helps young patients cope with their fears and anxieties by offering therapeutic activities tailored to meet their social, emotional, and educational needs.

Our staff of certified child life specialists and creative arts therapists includes experts in child development, early childhood education, special education, and therapeutic play. We offer familiar experiences such as play, art, educational services, and socializing with peers to help young patients understand and cope more effectively with the often-overwhelming world of the hospital. We hope to help children express their creativity and build their self-esteem and independence in order to continue normal development while in the hospital.

Child life specialists and creative arts therapists are an integral part of your child’s health care team. Our staff collaborates with you as well as our nurses, physicians, and social workers to provide your child the highest quality care. Our Department implements our support programs, providing you and your child with developmentally appropriate information and instruction related to his or her illness or upcoming procedures. We offer bedside and playroom activities designed to make your child’s stay as pleasant as possible.

Our Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy staff are committed to achieving these goals to help your child adjust:

  • Minimizing anxiety and stress experienced by children, adolescents, and families in the medical setting
  • Enhancing your child’s emotional, social, physical, and cognitive growth in the context of your family, culture, and your child’s developmental stage
  • Supporting you and encouraging your participation in your child's health care
  • Enhancing your and your child’s understanding of medical experiences
  • Helping your child maintain a sense of security during an illness or surgery
  • Enabling your child and your family to continue regular life as much as possible

Support services available for your child and your family at Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital range from age appropriate medical and diagnosis education to individual and group activities.

Arts and Creativity

At Kravis, we offer the following arts and creative opportunities:

  • The Child Life Zone is a state-of-the-art environment offering a range of activities and opportunities to meet the special needs of children and families coping with illness and hospitalization.
  • Art and Music Therapy is offered to patients to promote well-being. Creative arts therapists help to foster self-expression and support developmental growth, relaxation, and coping during hospitalization.
  • Creative Writing is offered to patients who are interested in expressing themselves through creating a poem, story, essay, or article. Creative writing offers the patient an opportunity to use their imaginations to create and reflect on their experiences.
  • KidZone TV Studio is a live, interactive Broadcast Studio located in our Child Life Zone. KZTV broadcasts live and taped programming to pediatric patients who are restricted to their hospital rooms, clinics, and other areas of the Hospital. The studio also provides patients and families with a chance to participate in various in-studio activities such as hosting live shows or joining a studio audience.
  • Through Our Eyes Productions is an innovative video production group in which young patients document their own experiences dealing with chronic illness and various medical interventions, including hospitalization.
  • REFLECTIONS: The Zone's Teen Art & Literary magazine is a publication produced by the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department where teenagers in the Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital and those in our communities come together by having their original creative writing and artwork published. 

Educational Services

We offer the following educational services for children who are staying at the hospital or receive care here.

  • School instruction, provided by a teacher certified by the New York City Department of Education, is available for patients in grades K-12 who are staying at the Hospital.
  • The Family Corner at The Child Life Zone provides easy access to online information about health and parenting. It is also a quiet place, where family members can relax and enjoy complimentary coffee and tea.

Inpatient Activities

We encourage children admitted to the Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital to participate in the following activities offered by our Child Life Therapy and Creative Arts Program:

Preparatory play uses hands-on experience, educational play, and relaxation techniques to instruct and reassure young patients about different aspects of their hospitalization, including upcoming treatments and procedures.

Group activities enable your child to socialize with other children, serving to normalize your child’s hospital experience. We offer activity groups every weekday in our activity rooms.

Bedside activities are a way for our child life specialists to assess your child's needs, select appropriate activities and experiences, and design programs to meet those needs.

Other inpatient activities include: