Skip to Main Content

Just for Kids: What to Know about Coming to St. Jude

Kids tell us that when they first heard that they needed to come to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, they had one question on their mind: “What will it be like?” It is normal to feel nervous about coming to a new place. It is hard to know what to expect since you have never been here.

Interior of Family Commons at St. Jude

What should I know before I arrive? 

Here are a few things to know before you arrive at St. Jude:

  • The hospital may look big from the outside, but there will be someone to show you around. You will learn your way around in no time. There are special rooms where you will meet your doctors and nurses. There are also playrooms and teen rooms with toys and activities.
  • St. Jude also has a space called Family Commons that is just for patients and families. It includes a school, places to relax, an art space, playgrounds, and much more.
  • There will be people who know you are coming to the hospital. They will be here to meet you and let you know how they can help you. They will figure out what is making your body sick and give you medicine. They will also answer questions you may have about the hospital or your body in a way that you can understand.
  • Another thing that you can count on is that there are other kids, like you, who you will meet.

What should I bring to the hospital?

You can bring things from home that are special to you (as long as you can fit them in your suitcase). If you cannot pack certain things or if you forget something, don’t worry. We have games, toys, puzzles, arts and crafts, TVs, video games, and more that you can borrow and/or use.

Here’s what you may want to pack:

  • Streaming device such as a Roku
  • Favorite toys that can fit into your bag
  • Games and activities you like to do at home (crafts, card games, phone, tablet, computer, puzzles, books, game system, etc.)
  • Pictures of your family, friends, house, bedroom, pets, and pictures of you doing fun things
  • Favorite blanket, pillow, or personal item that you can’t go anywhere without
  • Regular clothes and favorite pajamas
  • Some kids like to bring a swimsuit. Sometimes a close-up picture of the sick body part is needed, and that body part needs to be uncovered. Swimsuits can sometimes be worn at this time.

What is there to do in Memphis when I’m not at St. Jude?

In between appointments, St. Jude patients and their families often like to visit fun places, such as the Memphis Zoo, the Museum of Science and History – MoSH (formerly the Pink Palace), Children’s Museum of Memphis, Graceland (home of Elvis Presley), and many others.  Patient Services has a list of places that have special discounts for you and your family. Call Patient Services at 901-595-4501 or email

Contact Child Life

Child Life Department
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
MS 121, Room B2095
262 Danny Thomas Place
Memphis, TN  38105-3678
Phone: 901-595-3020
Fax: 901-595-2690


Learn more