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Child Life Zone

Boy and staff member playing pool

Yay for a place inside Cook Children's where little kids, big kids and teens can go to just be kids. The Child Life Zone (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.

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 treatment-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.

A treatment-free zone

Welcome to the Child Life Zone, 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 medical center, the medical team is always nearby.

Who gets to visit the CLZ?

The CLZ was created specifically for patients at Cook Children's by 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 tests or waiting on results. Moms, dads, brothers and sisters of patients are also welcome and there are many activities that families can enjoy together.

What if a patient isn't able to visit the CLZ?

Tune in daily to CLZ-TV programming. Even when patients are confined to their room for some reason, they still have opportunities to interact, play games, make art and even win prizes via CLZ-TV. CLZ-TV delivers game shows, quizzes, 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.

The CLZ recording studio

A fully functional, industry standard, Pro Tools recording studio. Open every day 3-4:30 p.m. for music exploration. The recording studio allows patients to play music and be expressive about anything they may be experiencing. Our studio staff has extensive experience in the recording industry and the patience to help Cook Children's patients explore their own interests in learning music and in some cases, recording.

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.

The CLZ broadcast studio

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 professionally-trained studio producers!

Zone Central

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.).

Ray's Kitchen

Here patients participate in cooking activities such as pizza rollups, cookie decorating, fruit and veggie carving and more. This area is stocked with a microwave and convection oven. There's even a Keurig with complimentary coffee available for our patient families to enjoy.

The Flip Side

Our game room is open in the morning for patients ages 6 and up, and in the afternoon for those 12 years and older. This is the only play area designated for our teen and young adult patients, so we reserve this space for them beginning at noon until we close! 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.

Bomar Library

Books for all ages are available for check-out for all in-patients and their siblings. The library space includes a comfortable area for families to relax, read, play board games and put puzzles together.

Matustik Family Health Library

Staffed by a full-time librarian, this is a great resource for families seeking more information about their child’s diagnosis or treatment. You'll find up-to-date information on a wide range of health topics, in easy-to-understand language. You can get help from our librarian, use a computer, printer or fax machine, borrow a book, or enjoy a quiet place to read and relax. Notary service is available as well. If you are unable to visit our health library, you can also request health information from the library to be sent to you.

The library is located next to the CLZ.

For families needing to mail letters, stamps are available for purchase in the Enchanted Castle Gift Shop, located near the main entrance across from the visitors welcome desk.

Family Business Center

Located just inside the CLZ, this small center has a computer and access to printing, copying, faxing and shredding for patient families.

For families needing to mail letters, stamps are available for purchase in the Enchanted Castle Gift Shop located near the main entrance across from the visitors welcome desk.

Activities and events

There's always something happening in the CLZ. Schedules are printed weekly and announcements are made over the PA system. Of course, you can always stop by the CLZ and check to see what's happening or ask about specific activities and events, and pick up a current schedule.

  • Bingo – Join in the fun. All ages can play BINGO in our Zone Central and win prizes! Check with the CLZ for days and times.
  • Drumming circle – Join our music volunteer, Eddy, for percussion fun! Participants play a variety of instruments: drums, bells, tambourines, triangle and maracas. A great opportunity to make some noise and learn about rhythm. Check with the CLZ for days and times.
  • Recording studio exploration – Open every day 3-4:30 p.m. 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 &8211; Therapy dogs visit the Child Life Zone and the Bomar Library for a fun reading experience. Schedules are available in the CLZ.
  • Medical art &8211; Patients and families will enjoy creating amazing arts and crafts using medical supplies. Medical art schedules are available in the CLZ.
  • 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 to patients and siblings of all ages. Group activities are held during the day, Monday-Friday and there are also 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 Children's! There's cake, goodie bags, games, fun and a special prize for those patients or siblings who celebrate their birthday in the specific month!
  • CLZ/Light Court Concert Series – Local or upcoming music artists perform a variety of music genres for our families and staff in either the Child Life Zone or the Light Court (the lounge area located at the entry to the food court). These concerts give our patients and families a break and help to support our local musicians!
  • Art and music infused workshops – CARPE (Creative Artist in Residence Programme) hosts these workshops during which our patients and their families can decorate an instrument (Native-American flute, ukulele, harmonica, etc.) with beads, feathers, paint, glitter and other art supplies. At the end of the workshop, participants get to take their artful instruments with them.