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Play areas


Let’s play

Daily play is important for children of any age. At St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, we have play areas in each outpatient area and on every inpatient unit. Most of the play areas are open 24 hours a day, except for a few in outpatient areas that close in the evening. Patients and families are encouraged to visit these areas as they wait for appointments or during their inpatient admission. Scheduled activities are provided by volunteers at various times throughout the week and therapeutic activities are provided by Child Life specialists who oversee these areas. The following guidelines help to assure that the play areas are safe and clean for all St. Jude patients and their siblings.

Play area guidelines

  • For infection control reasons, outpatients are not allowed to visit the inpatient play areas.
  • Patients, siblings, and children who are visiting a play area must be supervised at all times by a parent, volunteer, or staff person.
  • Patients who are currently on isolation are not allowed to visit the play areas.
    • Also, the patient’s siblings and visitors are not allowed to visit the play areas until the isolation precautions have been removed.
    • During this isolation time a volunteer or staff person can bring toys or activities to the exam room or inpatient room.
  • All of the toys that are displayed in the play areas are cleaned by trained staff or volunteers each day.
  • Volunteers and staff are trained to clean toys using an approved sanitizing cleaner while wearing gloves. The toys are left visibly wet for air drying or washed in the dishwasher between patient uses. The toys will not be returned to the play area until they are dry.
  • Toys that a child has put in his mouth or that look soiled are placed into dirty toy bins and cleaned before the next use.
  • Dirty toy bins are located in each play area throughout the hospital. Please place toys in these bins if they have been taken to a patient room, if your child has played with the toys, or if they need to be cleaned because a child has put them in his mouth or sneezed or coughed on the toys.
  • Please do not remove toys from the “dirty toy bin” for any reason. These toys must be properly cleaned by a volunteer or staff person to prevent the spread of infection. They should only be cleaned with the approved supplies.
  • For infection control reasons, materials such as Play-Doh® will be provided for each individual child or teen and will be discarded within 24 hours of the play session.
  • No bubbles, chalk, clay, sand, or cloth toys may be used in the play areas. The only exception to this rule will be the cloth teaching dolls, which may be used for one session and then are discarded or given to the child. Eating and drinking are not allowed in the play areas. Some patients may be on restricted diets or not allowed to eat before tests.
  • The play areas are a safe place for children to play. Medical staff are not allowed to come into the play areas to conduct exams or give medicines. If these types of interactions need to happen, the staff may ask the patient to go to an exam room, procedure area, or patient room.


If you have questions about the play areas or play area guidelines, talk to a Child Life specialist or call the Child Life office at 901-595-3020.

This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).