The Child Life Zone at Children’s Minnesota
The Child Life Zone at Children’s Minnesota is overflowing with adventure, enthusiasm, and smiles! This therapeutic and educational environment offers patients and families daily opportunities to engage in theme-based art activities, laugh and express themselves by creating souvenir photos in the Zone’s photo booth center, and socialize while playing bubble hockey, basketball, air hockey, and board games. The newly designed Zone Speedway, an outdoor remote control racetrack, is a popular attraction for all ages. Kids can explore state-of-the-art technology through the Smart Table and media wall with various gaming systems. Quieter activities include story time and reading in the library area, where book check-outs are available. Another appealing feature of the Zone is the Star Studio performance space that broadcasts live interactive television shows. Patients and siblings are thrilled either to play a part in live performances in the studio, or to use the call-in option from their rooms.
While serving as a valuable place for child life interventions, music therapy, horticulture, pet therapy, and expressive arts, the Zone is host to a wide variety of special events with visits from musicians, athletes, artists, celebrities, animals from the Minnesota Zoo, and other community supporters. From super hero window washers, to celebrations with professional sports teams, to the annual Minnesota State Fair get-together, patients and families are able to enjoy an exciting array of activities to enhance coping during their hospital experiences. Through every Child Life Zone interaction, our mission is clear: Kids First!
Stephanie Smith is a Certified Child Life Specialist with a Master of Arts Degree in Education. Her professional career began in the public school system, where she taught fourth grade. She also provided support with technology integration for K-5 classrooms and worked within the Gifted Education Program. As a former college soccer player and youth athletics coach, Stephanie has a strong interest in sports and is involved with promotions and game production for several local professional sports teams.
At Children’s Minnesota, Stephanie has served a variety of patient populations with a focus on integrative medicine, diabetes, medical/surgical and the emergency department. She has also shared her knowledge and experience by presenting at two of the Child Life Council’s National Conferences. Through her role as Child Life Zone Coordinator, she combines her professional background, skills, and passion for innovation as she strives to offer opportunities and support for patients and families to empower them during their health care journey.