Originally opened in 1996 as “Aikman’s End Zone,” this space was the first interactive, therapeutic playroom that led to the launch of the Child Life Zone Network. With a vision of pediatric patients having the opportunity to chat with other kids at Children’s Hospitals across the country, the Troy Aikman Foundation and Starbright came together to provide the place and the technology to make it happen.
The Zone was remodeled in 2003 and underwent another renovation that was completed in November 2016. Originally designed as two smaller spaces separated by a corridor and elevators, the Zone is now one large area called "The Big Z." The newly renovated space includes an infant play area, a dramatic play area for school-aged children, and a bubble column which changes colors for sensory stimulation and calming. Patients can be creative in a crafting space and try out new recipes in the kitchen.
There is also a wall of Microsoft X-Box Systems and a Panasonic 9-screen TV with a Microsoft interactive system. The Zone is decorated with sports memorabilia from the Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars, Southern Methodist University Mustangs of Dallas, and Troy Aikman; and musical memorabilia from Garth Brooks.
Having had an original Aikman’s End Zone built in 1997, the current Child Life Zone at Cook Children’s was completed in 2012 as part of a large construction project. This enhanced space, provided by the hospital, includes state-of-the art recording studio and broadcast studio with an in-house TV station! It also houses the colorful Flipside Teen (Game) Room, the Bomar Patient Library and an additional large space for family activities. Our most recent addition being is a sensory niche for patients who need a quiet, soothing space amidst the constant bustle of activity and sounds within the medical center.
We believe that play is an important part of their healing process, and in our Child Life Zone, our patients are able to do just that: play! With opportunities for free play and scheduled activities, live game shows, cooking activities, drumming circle, and more, our CLZ encourages kids to just be kids.
Opened in 2001, this Child Life Zone serves the largest Children’s Hospital in the country. Located on a the Patient and Family Services floor, the Zone fulfills the original Zone mission by providing a place for young patients to hang out, play games, and unleash their creativity. We like to think of the Child Life Zone as the happiest place in the hospital. Patients and families fine themselves breathing just a bit easier when they can come and meet other families, laugh and enjoy just being a family. We welcome our Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy staff to bring their patients to the Zone as a part of their patient’s care plan. It is way more fun for patients to achieve their developmental goals by playing a game of pool or making cookies in our beautiful kitchen.
Kids Own Studio is also located within the Child Life Zone. Home to our close circuit television station, Zone TV (ZTV), live broadcasts are produced twice daily. Content ranges from games shows and bingo to programming that targets therapeutic goals. The space also has a music studio where patients can learn how to play an instrument or write and record music.
The Child Life Zone at the Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital is the fifth facility of its kind to be created by Teammates for Kids. Opened in 2006, the Zone serves as a healing environment for pediatric patients and families coping with illness and hospitalization. Staffed by members of the hospital’s Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department, this warm and welcoming space is home to a wide range of fun and engaging activities where children and adolescents can play, learn, laugh and relax. With multiple group sessions each day, pediatric patients of varying ages are provided with a wealth of opportunities to socialize with hospital peers, express themselves through play and creative arts modalities, and achieve mastery and success within the hospital setting. Parents and other family members also find support and serenity within the Zone’s comfortably appointed family corner and throughout the entire environment as they are invited to participate in programming alongside their children.
Mount Sinai’s KidZone TV studio is one of the highlights within this treasured environment. Children and adolescents embrace the opportunity to help produce and host live, interactive television programs which air on a dedicated hospital channel seven days a week. Patients participate in roles such as camera operators, sound effect engineers, and show hosts from inside of the studio while those confined to their hospital rooms or clinics enjoy opportunities to tune in and participate as show callers or remote hosts. KidZone TV programming includes entertainment by musicians, actors, and magicians, as well as interactive games that promote learning, socialization, and creativity.
Additional support for The Child Life Zone comes from groups and individual donors committed to helping seriously ill children and their families.
The Child Life Zone in Atlanta opened in 2008; the second to open in conjunction with NHL and their All Star Weekend and features a cool hockey stick chandelier to commemorate. Located on the bottom level of the hospital, it is a special getaway for patients and their families. A place for normalization, fun, and where a kid can be a kid no matter their diagnosis. The space includes a Microsoft room mounted with Xbox gaming counsels, a Wii gaming wall, arts and crafts area, a theater set with a stage to produce shows and present movies, along with a kitchen to engage in cooking and nutrition education activities.
Another great feature of this Zone is the Koi Pond Garden. This garden is an oasis for patients, families, staff, and visitors. A place on the hospital campus that allow for quiet conversations, meditation, and simply a breath of fresh air. The garden also includes more fun for kids to play ball, engage in putt putt, and draw with chalk on the sidewalk. The Child Life Zone functions as an extension of Child Life needs, focusing on therapeutics and play, while targeting the needs of the whole child!
The Zone at Oklahoma Children's Hospital in Oklahoma City opened in early 2010. Modeled after the past Aikman's End Zone, it is a special haven for child patients and siblings, where they can play, explore, learn, socialize and forget the worries of hospitalization and get to just be a kid. With more than 6,000 square feet, the space houses a Theater Room, Kitchen, Teen Space, Infant and School Age Play Area, Craft Space and Chalkboard Art Wall.
This area also houses the In The Zone Studio where they produce daily shows kids can dial in to and participate in games such as Bingo, silly themed shows and more. The newest addition to the space is the STEM and Innovation Suite where kids can explore STEM programming including 3D Printing, laser cutting, robots and more.
The Zone in Oklahoma City has more than 19,000 visits annually by patients, families and community volunteers. With a wall of windows that looks out on the outdoor space called the "Children's Village," the Zone has the best views of the hospital. Teammates would like to thank the Robert "Bob" Moore family for their generosity in bringing this Zone to life and their continuing support of its mission.
The T(w)een Zone is a space at Children’s Colorado on Anschutz Medical Campus, opened in 2008 and was remodeled by Teammates for Kids in 2014. Patients, siblings, and their family can enjoy this state-of-the-art, 3,000-square-foot space that offers a variety of activities that promotes learning new skills, provides recreational play, and allows for a creative outlet during hospital stay.
Located on the second floor of our hospital in Aurora, the Zone gives patients and families a place to relax and be themselves. Amenities in the T(w)een Zone include: Craft area with a custom-built art table, Board games and STEAM Projects, 80” Flat Screen T.V. with a variety of video game options, Juke Box, Photo Booth, Pop-A-Shot Basketball, Foosball table, Pool table, Splatter paint art room,3D printer, Virtual Reality, Ohmni Bots (Tele-presence robots), Laser printer/cutter, variety of crafting tools and Movie Theater. The Gaming/Technology Specialist helps the Zone stay on top of the newest technology and games.
The T(w)een Zone staff invite you to stop by and hang out!
The Zone at Phoenix Children’s celebrated its grand opening on November 9, 2012. Adding a Zone to this location was the vision of the late Mike Beninato, whose triplets received excellent care after being born prematurely at a hospital near Chicago. When the family moved to Phoenix, Mike wanted to show his support for children in need by giving to Phoenix Children’s, which is one of the nation’s largest pediatric health systems. Mike approached Garth Brooks about performing a fundraising concert, and his idea led to Teammates for Kids opening its eighth Child Life Zone.
The Zone is known as “The Happiest Place in the Hospital.” Through meaningful interactions and therapeutic activities with a personalized focus, the Zone is all about the experience. Every Zone moment serves as an integral component of care that patients and families receive.
While striving to reach 100% of Phoenix Children’s patients and families, Zone programming offers a variety of innovative and engaging opportunities:
- The state-of-the-art Zone space features 3,800 square feet of fun! From arcade games such as air hockey, pool, basketball, pinball, bubble hockey, and foosball to daily craft activities to gaming consoles, to a jukebox and a photo booth, to 3D and laser printing, there is always something to play, create, and explore while connecting with others.
- CLZTV is the Zone’s popular hospital channel that broadcasts live interactive shows seven days a week. Patients and families look forward to being part of the action inthe studio or from their rooms.
- The Positive Image Room is designed with a multi-sensory approach. The environment serves as an ideal location for therapy sessions, massage, haircuts, and more.
- A kitchen with a dining area gives patients and families the option to experiment, discover, and socialize.
- The Zone hosts a variety of inspiring events like monthly birthday parties, special guest performances, sports team meet & greets, holiday celebrations, and art journeys.
- Telepresence robots make it possible for patients to venture beyond the walls of their hospital rooms. They are also valuable tools when families and community guests use them to connect with patients virtually.
- Zone-to-Go carts, which provide STEAM activities, games, and interaction, bring the Zone experience to patients at bedside.
The Zone team partners with patients, families, staff, and the community to help keep this heart of the hospital thriving!
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 MakerBot 3D printer and Microsoft gaming wall. 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!
The Child Life Zone is an area inside Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health where patients and their families can play, learn, laugh and relax. Our Child Life Zone is one of the nation's largest hospital playrooms.
Families can use the Child Life Zone from 10 am to 7:30 pm, Monday through Friday and from 10am-4pm, Saturday and Sunday. Participate in activities scheduled daily or watch live broadcast events on Channel 5 of your child s TV (when available).
Our schedule is always posted outside the Child Life Zone.
Riley at IU Health encourages your family to explore the Child Life Zone, which offers the following family-friendly features:
- Take a lap around our speedway, cross our yard of bricks or admire the racing team displays throughout our racing-themed highlights.
- Visit the GREEN room, a multipurpose space where children can G-Grow, R-Relax, E-Energize, E-Explore and be N-Nurtured, always accompanied by a member of the Riley at IU Health staff.
- Develop your creative side in the Craft Kitchen, where you can bake, paint and make memories with visiting artists or local culinary guests.
- Explore medical play with a Certified Child Life Specialist inside our customized ambulance.
- PLAY--The Child Life Zone has an infant/toddler play area filled with toys, games and a large active play area that has tables for hockey, foosball and pool.
- View live performances by special guests and Riley Kids on our closed-circuit TV channel, KIDS-TV5, broadcast from Roxy's Recording Studio.
- A Microsoft Video Game wall features the latest Xbox games!
- Play in the Child Life Zone Backyard! Enjoy the fresh air and a variety of outdoor activities including musical instruments, a Playhouse, and miniature golf! The Child Life Zone Backyard is open during Child Life Zone hours weather and staffing permitted.
We welcome all inpatients and outpatients accompanied by an adult. Outpatients and guests must complete a health screen before entering. Inpatients need a pass from their nurse.
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio had Country music legend, Garth Brooks, attend the ribbon cutting for the Child Life Zone.
Garth Brooks cut the ribbon, participated in activities with the patients, and visited with their families. He is one of the giving donors who make these Child Life Zones possible. There are only 15 of these zones in America.
The Child Life Zone is an excellent area where patients and their families can spend time with one another. The Zone includes has a medical play area, a sensory gym, an open play space, an arts and crafts area, a recording studio, a Microsoft video game wall, a café, and more.
“This is a vital area of the hospital, allowing children to be children. It allows our patients to forget why they’re at the hospital for a moment and immerse themselves into just being a kid again,” said Jessica Braner, the Child Life Zone Coordinator for the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio.
The Zone is particularly important for the patients because it allows them a chance to interact with their peers and it lessens the stress on their minds.
Young patients at Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital finally have a special space to play, learn, laugh, and relax in a new state-of-the-art therapeutic play area known as the Child Life Zone. A first of its kind in Canada, built in 2019, the Child Life Zone offers support and education for young patients and their families to help reduce stress and anxiety associated with hospital stays, tests, and procedures.
The Child Life Zone provides a space for patients to refresh from their medical environment and participate in activities they may be missing out on while in hospital. The Child Life program includes the expertise of Certified Child Life Specialists, Recreation Therapists and a Music Therapist. The Child Life Zone includes a game zone, art therapy studio, book nook, music room, play ambulance & medical simulation, and a full kitchen.
One of the most exciting features of the Child Life Zone in Saskatoon is the medical play ambulance. Designed and created specifically for the space, it allows Certified Child Life Specialists to facilitate medical play, as an opportunity for patients to get their hands on real medical equipment and supplies they may experience during procedures. Together, the Child Life Specialists and young patients work through different medical experiences and explore different items that may be used. The ambulance is stocked with common medical equipment and supplies, flashing lights, and working sirens! A highlight for every patient and their family when visiting the Child Life Zone.
At each of Teammates for Kids’ Child Life Zones, we’ve learned that it’s not enough to simply raise the money to build and open the zone. As with any other property, we need to have the resources to support the ongoing quality and programming within each zone, ensuring the long-term viability of these special places. Each zone must be maintained and updated to keep it functioning as a top-notch facility, with the latest technology, offering the best experience to the kids.
A Zone Angel is an individual or family in the local community who believes in the good work that goes on at the zone, and decides to make a 10-year financial commitment to maintaining that particular zone. For more information on becoming a Zone Angel, contact Jason Grahame.
Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital
Cook Children’s Medical Center - Director, Family Support Services
Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital - Child Life Specialist and Zone Coordinator
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta - Child Life & Creative Programs Manager
Oklahoma Children's Hospital OU Health - Director of Child Life and Therapeutic Programs
Children's Hospital Colorado - Child Life Supervisor
Texas Children’s Hospital - Asst Director of Clinical Support Services
Children's Minnesota - Sr Director, Child & Family Services
Children's Hospital Colorado - Director of Integrative and Creative Care
Phoenix Children’s Hospital - Zone Program Coordinator
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta - Patient Activity Specialist
Riley Children's Health - Child Life Zone Coordinator
UCLA Matell Children's Hospital - Director, Chase Child Life Program
Oklahoma Children's Hospital OU Health - Manager Child Life Zone
Jim Pattison Children's Hospital - Manager of Child Life
Jim Pattison Children's Hospital - Certified Child Life Specialist
Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital - Child Life Manager
The Children's Hospital of San Antonio - Child Life Coordinator
Texas Children’s Hospital - Manageer of Child Life
The Children's Hospital of San Antonio - Child Life Manager
Children's Hospital Colorado - Child Life Supervisor/Zone Coordinator
Riley Hospital for Children - Zone Supervisor and Special Event Coordinator
Children's Medical Center Dallas - Manager of Child Life
Children's Medical Center Dallas - Child Life Specialist
Cook Children’s Medical Center - Child Life Zone Assistant
Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital - Child Life Specialist
Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital - Recreational Therapist
Phoenix Children’s Hospital - Child Life Manager
UCLA Matell Children's Hospital - Zone Coordinator