Child’s Play Charity is rooted in the healing power of play. Endowed by the gaming community, Child’s Play is devoted to improving the lives of children and teens in children’s hospitals.
Being in a hospital can be traumatizing, stressful, and confusing for a child. Child’s Play works with child-life services in pediatric hospitals and other child welfare organizations to reduce the toll on young patients and promote healthy development through the power of play. Child’s Play supports hospitals by promoting child life department wish lists, providing gaming and technology equipment, and grant funding to support programs and capacity building.
Child’s Play was born in 2003 when Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins of Penny Arcade wanted to change the negative perception of gaming and gamers in the media. In response, they challenged their fans to support Seattle Children’s Hospital through an Amazon Wishlist. In less than one month, they raised over $250,000 in cash and toys. Today, Child’s Play partners with over 190+ pediatric hospitals across 14 countries to enrich the lives of hospitalized children. Projects now reach far beyond funding video games.
In 2015 Child’s Play debuted the therapeutic video game guide, enabling caregivers to be intentional when choosing specific games to provide a child. The Child Life staff who provide games to kids in hospitals are often not gamers. The Therapeutic Video Game Guide is designed to help those in Child Life understand that games can be more than just a distraction, but a tool for healing. Child’s Play works with Circana (a video game research company) and professionals at the University of California San Diego to create the guide. The guide breaks down what makes certain games great for distracting patients from things like pain, anxiety, or sadness. The guide also gives examples of games across specific ages, genders, symptoms, and systems so that even a non-gamer can find the best game to help. The therapeutic game guide is updated monthly and available to everyone online at www.gametherapy.org
In 2017 Child’s Play funded the first Pediatric Gaming and Technology Specialists within children's Hospitals. This new career field brings dedicated gaming experts into the hospitals to support therapeutic gaming and technology integration, provide gaming system support and play games with kids to improve the pediatric patient experience. In addition, they help educate clinicians on the importance of gaming as a tool for patient distraction and coping. These positions significantly increase the use of virtual and extended reality technologies as a tool for procedural support, such as anxiety reduction and distraction during mild to moderately painful procedures. Child’s Play has now funded 44 Pediatric Gaming Technology Specialists.
When you stream for Child’s Play you improve the lives of pediatric patients and find new ways to help children Play Games, Feel Better™.