Children who have to spend time in the hospital appreciate something new to keep them busy and keep their minds off their pain or fear. Thoughtful gifts can bring a little bit of comfort into the sterile environment. Before sending a gift, however, be sure to check with the parents or hospital to be sure the gift is permissible for the child and allowed on the hospital's floor.
Send a pair of fuzzy socks or character print slippers to a child confined to a hospital bed. Colourful pyjamas or a robe are useful items for kids who are more mobile. Water bottles or sippy cups are available in a wide variety of colours and styles. Having something new to wear or use can brighten a sick or injured child's day.
Most children's rooms come equipped with a TV and DVD player, but it is still a good idea to check before sending new movies to a child. A new video game is a possibility for children who enjoy games. Even if they are not normally video game fans, playing a game is a good distraction while in the hospital. Ask the parents what sort of game system the child has, or is available in the hospital.
Fill a sturdy box or plastic tote with art supplies for the child. You can use stickers to spell out his name on the top. Include items such as gel pens, paper, markers, shaped hole punches, stickers and stencils. Add small craft kits kids can work on during their stay or a scrapbook to decorate with drawings, photos and signatures from all the doctors and nurses.
Send a child in the hospital books that are easy to handle in a hospital bed. Books on a particular subject such as cars, dinosaurs or drawing are possibilities. Lots of bright pictures and interesting facts can help pass the time. If you know a child's favourite author, look for the newest book in a series. Young teens may enjoy a stack of magazines or a book about a famous person they look up to.
Look online for free printable activities such as crossword puzzles, word searches, mazes, sudoku puzzles or colouring pages. You can also print out paper craft ideas. Collect pages on a variety of subjects for the child. Mail an envelope full of new pages every few days if you find out she enjoys the gift.
Children can play with small toys like a bucket of army men, sea creatures or dinosaurs right on their lap or bedside tray. Even kids who have outgrown plastic toys may enjoy playing with them at the hospital. Cars or small dolls are other choices. Also consider a barrel of monkeys so kids can hang the red plastic animals from their IV stand or bed rails.
Hospitals can be scary places, so send a child a flashlight to help calm his fears at night. Look for a kid-size flashlight with interchangeable lenses that show pictures on the wall. Provide extra sets of batteries, as this is a gift the child may use frequently.