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Because childhood should be simple ...

Child Life Zone

Yay for a place inside Cook Children's where little kids, big kids and teens can go to just be kids. The CLZ is a state-of-the-art environment that offers a different kind of “medicine.” At the CLZ, we think games, art, music, creativity and imagination are great therapy and deliver a big dose of fun to help kids feel better.

Child Life ZoneA treatment-free zone

Welcome to the Child Life Zone (CLZ), the one place at Cook Children's where patients can go to just be kids, even if only for a little while. The CLZ is a safe area within the medical center where children are free from the anxiety of needles and procedures as neither of these things are allowed within its walls. As part of Child Life services, all the staff here are part of the Cook Children's care team. And, because the CLZ is in the hospital, the medical team is always nearby.

Who gets to go to the CLZ?

The CLZ was created specifically for patients at Cook Children's. The center is open to patients who are medically cleared by their doctor to participate in CLZ activities and outpatients who are on-campus to see specialists and may be between doctors or tests. Moms, dads, brothers and sisters of patients are also welcome and there are many activities that families can enjoy together.

What if a kid is too sick to come to the CLZ?

Our prescription? Tune in daily to CLZ TV programming. Just because a patient is confined to their room, doesn’t mean they’ll be left out. CLZ TV delivers game shows, quiz shows, creative arts and crafts, yoga and more, right to the room. There are even some interactive shows where patients can call in from their room phone. And, iPads® make it possible for patients to be show participants without ever leaving their hospital bed.

So what's in the CLZ?

A fully functional, industry standard, Pro Tools recording studio. Open every day 3pm - 4:30pm for music exploration. The recording studio allows patients to play music and be expressive about anything they may be experiencing. Our studio is staffed by our Director of Clinical Performing Arts, Sonny Burgess, and our studio engineer, Brandt! Both have extensive experience in the recording industry and the patience to help Cook Children's patients explore their own interests in recording.

Child Life Zone Performance stage Child Life Zone Performance stage
Child Life Zone Interactive broadcast studio Child Life Zone Interactive broadcast studio

Patients may want to play an instrument, write a melody or lyrics, or learn how the recording equipment works. The music our patients create can be nonverbal, with instruments only, or it can be expressed through singing or songwriting. Patients have the control over what they do and how they do it, learning new skills to enhance their self-esteem, something especially challenging for chronically ill children. And, for some, music is a very powerful healing tool. The ability to play the music in their own way makes it twice as powerful.

A professional TV broadcast studio that is the home of CLZ-TV, Channel 39 (24/7 programming for patient viewing).  We have interactive art shows with supplies available & live game shows in which they can participate from their rooms.  Patients can play from their rooms by calling in, and they can also play as part of the live studio audience.  Often there is an opportunity for them to host one of our live shows.  When programming is not going on, the studio is open for patients to explore.  Staffed by our Broadcast studio producers, Shawn and Abel!


A central gathering area for patients and their families.  It is used for board games, arts and crafts activities, as well as a staging area for our concert series and special guests (sports & entertainment personalities, school groups, corporate groups, etc.). 

Here patients participate in cooking activities such as pizza rollups, cookie decorating, fruit & veggie carving.  This area is stocked with a microwave & convection oven, as well as a Keurig with complimentary coffee available for patient family use.

Our gaming room, open in the morning for patients ages 6 and up and in the afternoon for those 12 years & older.  This is the only play area designated for our teenage and young adult patients, so we preserve this space after noon for them! We have a pool table, ping pong, Wii, X-Box, Pac-Man, air-hockey, a racing arcade game and a large-scale projection screen for movies and sporting event tailgate watch parties.

Child Life Zone High-tech electronics/games Child Life Zone High-tech electronics/games

Books for all ages available for check-out for all in-patients and their siblings.  Space includes a comfortable area for families to relax, read, and play board games & puzzles.

Staffed by a full-time librarian, this is a resource for families seeking more information about their child’s diagnosis or treatment.  Medical information is provided in easy to understand, laymen’s terms.  It also provides parents with a quiet place with access to computers, printers, fax machine, scanner, and the internet for handling personal business or their own reliable resource research.  Notary service is available as well.

Another resource for computer access, printing, copying, faxing & shredding for patient families. Stamps are available for parents who have an item to mail.

Activities and events

BINGO - All ages can play BINGO in our Zone Central and win prizes!

DRUMMING CIRCLE - Join Eddy (music volunteer) for percussion fun!  Participants play a variety of instruments: drums, bells, tambourines, triangle & maracas. A great opportunity to make some noise and learn about rhythm.

RECORDING STUDIO EXPLORATION - Open every day 3pm - 4:30pm for music exploration on a wide variety of musical instruments, assisted by a staff member or musically inclined volunteer.  We have a full electric/digital drum set, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, mandolin, cello, violins, harmonica, keyboard, fiddle, banjo, ukuleles, maracas, tongue drum, bongo drums and a sound booth for recording patients and their very own music.

R.E.A.D. DOGS - Therapy dogs visit the Child Life Zone and the Bomar Library for a fun reading experience.

MEDICAL ART - Arts and crafts activities using medical supplies.

GROUP ACTIVITIES - A variety of arts and crafts projects. These activities are staffed by a member of our Child Life Department or a volunteer.  They are for all ages of patients and siblings. We even hold evening and weekend group activities!

COOKING ACTIVITIES - Creativity is great therapy and what's more creative than the culinary arts? Here, kids get to learn how to whip up great food while developing confidence, both in the kitchen and in life. For an extra measure of fun, celebrity chefs often stop by to share their expertise. The CLZ kitchen is also home to our CLZ TV cooking shows, with a great menu of programs hosted by our kids and local chefs.

MONTHLY BIRTHDAY PARTIES- Every month we host a birthday party for all of our families at Cook! There is cake, goodie bags, games, fun, and a special prize to those patients or siblings who celebrate their birthday in the specific month!

CLZ/LIGHT COURT CONCERT SERIES- Local or upcoming musical artists perform a variety of music genres for our families and staff in either the Child Life Zone or the Light Court. These concerts give our patients and families a break to get away from their units and support our local musicians!

ORIGAMI WORKSHOP- A Cook Children’s staff member and origami master hosts a workshop to teach our patients and families traditional origami folds.

ART & MUSIC INFUSED WORKSHOPS- CARPE (Creative Artist in Residence Programme) hosts these workshops during which the patients and families can decorate an instrument (Native-American flute, ukulele, harmonica, etc.) with beads, feathers, paint, glitter, etc. and then take it home with them.

Why the CLZ?

Sometimes laughter is the best medicine. So is hanging out with your peers, expressing yourself creatively through art, music and writing, and there’s a lot to be said for recreation therapy. The CLZ makes all of this possible and more—all in a medical-free zone for Cook Children's patients. The only thing that happens here is fun, expression, creativity and belonging. It’s a place where a little bit of normalcy takes hold, and hopes and dreams unfold.

Funded by the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation and the Troy Aikman Foundation, along with gifts from our very generous donors, the CLZ is a state-of-the-art space designed to meet the special needs of the kids here at Cook Children's who are dealing with serious, and often long-term, illnesses. The CLZ is open daily and special activities, programs, performances and guest appearances are always happening here.

Learn more about the CLZ.
If you are a patient or the parent of a patient click here to request a calendar of events and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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