D.I.Y Child Life

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

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 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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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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Portacath Teaching Doll

Portacaths and other central line devices are often used to administer chemotherapy, medications for chronic conditions, or antibiotics. By creating a doll with a portacath allows for exploration of materials, develop coping strategies, and clear up any potential misconceptions.

All you need to make this doll is a scissors, glue gun, and cap to a paint bottle preferably one with a hole in it already. If you have a portacath needle you can use that by removing the needle and hot gluing the protective plastic cover in its place. If not use your imagination to determine a base , I used a screw cover from a child’s easel. Using a small juice box straw as the “needle” glue to the inside of your “base” as shown in the video.


G-Tube Button Teaching Doll

Making a doll for a child to keep at bedside or to take home allows them to continue to learn, play, and develop coping strategies in a non threatening environment.  The child is provided the opportunity to become the “expert” of his illness by showing it to siblings, friends or classmates at school.

Materials you need for this D.I.Y project is a doll or stuffed animal, scissors, hot glue gun, and the valve to a beach ball or inner tube.


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