How a London hospital is changing the approach to healing children: by turning their environment into a play area

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How many of us had to go to the hospital when we were kids and dreaded it? The environment felt intimidating, sad, and even scary. Being exposed to so much suffering is hard for a kid to grapple with. Meanwhile, these establishments are there to rid people of the ailments and injuries that they have. The challenge is that the environment should contribute to the healing process through signals of comfort, healthy energy, and happiness.

The Royal London Hospital is finding ways of turning their environment into a place of happiness and joy, a place where the positive energy can help the healing process. They have created a huge wonderland area where kids can lose themselves and ignite their imagination and creativity. It is a place where they forget where they are and for what reason they are there. Instead the children simply play, and play with gusto. This healthy behavior not only fends off fear and negativity, but also creates somewhat of a placebo effect in the healing process.

They have created a play area that has giant furniture and toys, making the kids feel like they have been transported into another world, one where they can play as they wish and no one can see them. A recent edition to this wonderland is an giant interactive “TV” developed by designer Chris O’Shea and Nexus Interactive Arts. It is absolutely brilliant because it allows the kids to be part of the show, even directing what they see. Fast Company wrote a nice article on the project. The interactive TV is powered by Xbox Kinect technology and is truly immersive. The expression on the kids faces shows how much joy is created, and how much they forget the place that they are in. Absolutely beautiful. See the video below.


Woodland Wiggle from Nexus on Vimeo.

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