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Child Life

Our Child Life team helps children cope with being in a hospital by providing a variety of play and developmentally appropriate preparation experiences. Certified Child Life Specialists (CCLS) utilize a variety of tools including specialized medical play objects, distraction items and toys ranging from LEGO kits to dolls to arts and crafts. These interventions help children and families gain a greater understanding of medical procedures, which helps reduce stress and fear of the unknown. Through play, the Child Life Specialist helps facilitate the emotional, developmental, and social growth of a child during the crisis of illness and related treatments. Donations to the Child Life Fund help support patients during their hospitalization or outpatient treatments.

Ways to Support Child Life at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital:

  • Make a charitable gift to enable our Child Life team to purchase the items they most need and facilitate a wide range of activities and supportive programming throughout the year. Support the Child Life Fund
  • Host an Online Fundraiser or Virtual Toy Drive. Engage your friends and family in a fundraiser to support various areas of the Children’s Hospital. For more information on how to host your own online fundraiser, visit our DIY fundraising page diy.ynhh.org.
  • Donate an item from our Wish Book. The Wish Book is a catalog of various items that could help make a real difference in the life of a sick child, worried parent, or a family struggling with illness. Visit our online Wish Book. If you’d like to request a hard copy be mailed to you, please contact giving@ynhh.org.
  • Shop our Amazon Wish Lists. Our Child Life team has selected the items that are most commonly needed for our patients. You can donate these safe, approved toys directly to Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital. View our current Amazon Wish Lists.
  • Donate toys, therapeutic tools and other gifts-in-kind. We gladly accept donations of new, recently purchased and unused items which fall within our use guidelines.* Please note, YNHCH performs a health and safety evaluation on all donations of items prior to distributing to/using with patients.

The following items cannot be accepted:

  • Used items, including items that are considered “like-new”
  • Gift cards
  • Plush toys (unless sent direct from the manufacturer)
  • Electrical, spark-producing or friction-producing toys
  • Fragile toys
  • Toys made of glass, porcelain or brittle plastic
  • Toys with sharp edge or protrusions
  • Toys or craft kits with toxic paints, latex or glues
  • Toys with parts that can pinch fingers or pull hair
  • Toy guns or other toys with violent themes

*Our Development Team will be happy to speak with you about these guidelines and all of the ways you can support Child Life. Please contact giving@ynhh.org for more information.

Toy Drives & Collections

We deeply appreciate the generosity of individuals, community groups and organizations who regularly host toy drives and collections on our behalf. Please be aware that donations collected in large-scale drives often include items that we cannot accept or health/safety hazards due to collection bins being placed in public, unmonitored locations. We ask toy collection organizers to sort donations prior to donating. Donations should be delivered in boxes or bags; we cannot accept loose, unpackaged items.

For your toy drive, we strongly encourage you to consider hosting a Themed Collection. Some ideas include:

  • Play-Doh (single cans and sets)
  • Crayons & coloring/activity books
  • LEGO and LEGO Kits (small and medium kits only)
  • Playing cards and Uno
  • Cars and trucks
  • Character Figures and playsets (superheroes, princesses, etc.)
  • Stress relief items (stress balls, fidget spinners, pop-toys, etc.)
  • For other ideas, please contact the Office of Development at giving@ynhh.org.

For information about donating to the Toy Closet Program, which provides each pediatric patient with an age-appropriate toy or small gift when they are discharged from the hospital, please click here.