D.I.Y Child Life

Heat up your hot glue! A website devoted to creating your own teaching dolls and materials

DIY: Activity for Fostering Resilience

Using household items to support children in developing the tools necessary to work and understand the tension that leads to discomfort and eventually compassion helps children to navigate big emotions and make meaning of challenging experiences that shape their lives.

Based on the @CHOPRA image.

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DIY: Talking to Children about Coronavirus or Covid 19

Children may have lots of questions about the Coronavirus or Covid19.  This video offers some easy to do activities that help children learn about and understand  why its important to wash our hands, how make their own virus, and a VIRUS Bingo game that encourages mastery, control and open and honest conversations.

Scroll down or use this link to Rewatch the DIY Hand Washing Song for a fun way to engage children in washing their hands.

I have also included some links to other sources that help trusted adults answer questions, ways for your kids to be a “helper” and some fun family self care practices.

Coronavirus Virus

Explaining Coronavirus to kids and the science of soap

NPR Coronavirus and Parenting: What you need to know

Self care for Families


DIY Talking to Children about Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

Explaining Alzheimer’s and Dementia to children or the adults who have the diagnosis should focus on how the brain sends messages and stores memories as well as the effects of the disease. Using neurons made from beads and a train track supports understanding about the disease but also develops empathy for a loved one’s struggles with memory loss. Support your children not only by explaining the memory loss but also with tools to build connection and help a loved one stay present in the moment.

This is the link I used to create my neurons.  I adapted mine from a few of the examples:

Neuro Science for Kids

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DIY Visiting a loved one in jail/prison

Having a loved one in jail/prison can be confusing.  Trying to navigate an unfamiliar environment is made that much more difficult when children are involved.  However, visiting a loved one in jail is one way for families to stay connected.  This video address preparing a child for a “No Touch” visitation environment using two old landlines phones and a piece of plexi glass.


D.I.Y Blood Draw

Create your own doll to demonstrate blood draw. Filling the doll with colored water gives the opportunity to address coping, comfort positions, and alternative focus.  This can also lead to developmentally appropriate conversations about blood and the body’s ability to replenish and heal.

This one is thanks to a question posted on the Child Life Council list serve..


DIY Dentist

Many people experience fear and anxiety surrounding a dental visit.  By creating homemade dental tools and teeth, children explore what happens while developing  coping strategies that can lead to a positive dental visit and promote life long dental health.

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DIY Handwashing Song


Music is a great way to engage children in learning new skills or practicing old ones.  This song is part of my curriculum Germbusters! that teaches children good hand hygiene .  Kids can sing it while they wash or just a fun ditty to remember why to wash.

The song was written by Ruthanne Paulson of www.performingartsinspirations.com.  

Sung to the tune of Do Re Mi.

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DIY Anesthesia Mask

Normalizing and desensitizing threatening or scary items helps children to gain mastery and control while also having some fun. Turning an anesthesia mask into a bubble blower or a Lil’ critter allows the child to engage with the materials creatively through play, potentially leading to an increase in comfort and ability to cope with a new and unfamiliar experience and environment.

Shout out to Toni Crowell for reminding me of this one!!

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DIY Syringe Glitter Wands

Using medical equipment in non threatening ways helps children to gain mastery, normalize a medical encounter, while  having some fun. Use the wands to talk about the use of alternative focus for coping,  strategies for relaxation and guided imagery.  Adding a fun unique sequence or bead to the syringe allows children to create their own “I spy.”

Keep watching for the extra bonus…. Fill a larger 20 cc syringe with colored frosting and use in decorating cookies or cupcakes.  Fun and delicious!!

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D.I.Y Radiation Room

Often the hardest part about getting radiation treatments for many children is the separation from parents.  Using a “magic string” to connect the child and  his parent can offer a coping strategy and a way to connect the child and parent both figuratively and literally.   To create your own treatment room you will need shoe boxes, scissors, string, glue gun and I use the operating room set up from Playmobile but any small people and parts will do.

This idea can easily be adapted for any test or procedure where a child is separated from his parent. For example: X-ray

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