Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Department of Pediatrics coordinates a variety of group and individual activities for kids, teens, and young adults led by outside organizations as well as our own experts. We encourage our patients to develop new or existing interests by focusing on the power of their bodies, the strength of their imaginations, and the importance of laughter.
Learn more about our pediatric recreational programming below, or speak with one of our child life specialists in the Recreation Center for more information.
Meet “doctors of humorology” from Big Apple Circus Clown Care.
Clown Care of the Big Apple Circus visits the Department of Pediatrics three times a week.
These “doctors of humorology” entertain patients of all ages with their circus artistry, magic, and music, highlighting the healing power of humor.
Our young patients explore art.
The Children's Museum of Manhattan makes weekly visits to the Department of Pediatrics, bringing arts and crafts projects and fun educational materials for kids of all ages.
These visits give patients an opportunity to experiment with artistic techniques and learn about art from the experts.
Professional Musicians On Call make music with our patients.
Talented professional musicians perform live at the bedside of our pediatric patients and their families through the Musicians On Call program.
Whether playing guitars, keyboards, or singing a cappella, our performers are sure to know almost any song requested. Patients can also learn the basics of song writing and recording with the help of Musicians On Call staff members.
The Lollipop Theater Network debuts new film releases several times a year for our patients. Lollipop representatives can also arrange for kids and young adults to view the latest films at the bedside.
An interactive theater company called Only Make Believe visits the Department of Pediatrics once a month. Armed with a backdrop and a trunk full of props, actors perform outrageous, fun-filled plays for our young patients. Actors encourage audience participation, making each performance unique and engaging.
Robin’s Side Kicks meets twice weekly for group and individual martial arts sessions for kids and young adults. Focusing on the mind-body connection, this program combines multiple techniques involving breathing, guided imagery, meditation, and martial arts movements designed to develop strength, balance, and control. These techniques can help with relaxation, sleep, pain, and emotional release through physical activity and body control.
Dance therapy can help kids and teens increase their mobility, flexibility, and range of motion, as well as cope with pain, treatment, and trouble sleeping. The dance therapists from our creative movement and dance therapy program, Drea’s Dream, teach our patients body movement techniques in individual and group sessions.
Music therapy is available in group sessions or one-on-one to inpatients and outpatients of all ages. Music therapists introduce kids and young adults to a variety of instruments, and focus sessions on helping to ease fear and anxiety, enhance creative expression, manage symptoms, and promote relaxation and comfort. Participants are invited to play instruments, sing songs, write stories through song, or just listen to music.
Patients can participate in yoga sessions in the Recreation Center.
Yoga is offered weekly in the Recreation Center as well as at the bedside by members of our Integrative Medicine Service.
Sessions emphasize basic yoga positions and stretches for patients of all ages. Our yoga instructors encourage creative expression to help children and young adults learn a series of gentle strength- and balance-building movements as well as deep-breathing and relaxation techniques.
Each week, professional New York City actors make individual visits and lead group activities for inpatients and outpatients. Actors lead role-playing exercises and drama games that address a range of topics, from dealing with the stress of a cancer diagnosis and treatment, to being away from school and friends, to spending an extended time in the hospital.
Child life specialist Alyson Silver leads a medical play group.
Our medical play group helps young kids learn about their treatment through role-playing activities.
Led by a child life specialist, participants are given scenarios in which they pretend to be doctors and nurses making decisions about the “medical needs” of a doll. Sessions include learning about blood draws, port and catheter access, dressing changes, and pill taking.
A patient and her mother prepare pizza during cooking group.
Our weekly cooking group helps transform kids into chefs. They prepare, mix, and cook a variety of dishes, from healthy snacks to sweet treats.
Our patients share the different tasks for preparing each dish, and enjoy eating the finished products together. Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Executive Chef also leads special cooking sessions, just for the Department of Pediatrics.
Our tweens (patients ages seven to 12) have time each week in the Teen Room for self-expression, either in groups led by professional New York City actors or through other activities of their choosing.
Twice weekly, our teen and young adult patients are welcome to join the Teen/Young Adult Group. Over lunch, participants select an activity of interest – from games to art projects to writing workshops. Twice a month, trained actors lead the group, encouraging discussions about life outside the hospital, dealing with a cancer diagnosis, and self-esteem.
Through the Writer’s Workshop, budding writers are paired with mentors who offer guidance on topics including writing technique, organization, and creativity. Our teen and young adult patients can read and discuss classic literary works or learn how well-known authors tackle the writing process. Many of our patients’ written works are published in the Department of Pediatrics’ quarterly newsletter, News9.