Helping everyone play

Our Child Life Specialist at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago reached out to see if the Esther's Friends community would be willing to provide some much needed new adaptive toys for the children in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. With the National Football League's focus on the importance of play and their 2021 season about to begin, it seemed like the perfect time to launch our Adaptive Toys Football Frenzy - a way to help everyone play!

The regular season is now over, but you can still get involved and learn more about the importance of adaptive toys below.

When children move and play, they have the opportunity to learn and expand their development, specifically cognitive, social, motor, and language skills. Children with complex and chronic medical conditions often have movement, cognitive, and coordination challenges that limit their ability to easily engage in play with off-the-shelf toys. Through the use of adaptive technology such as adaptive toys and switches, a Child Life Specialist can help children experience independence with environmental interactions and provide a sense of empowerment. Esther loved using specialty toys in her therapy sessions and the look on her face of sheer joy when she was able to complete a task is something we will always treasure.

Many of these adaptive toys need to be purchased directly from the manufacturer. Specifically, toys include boogie boards, switches for both adapted call lights and switched toys (like dinosaurs, bubbles, music, and fans), as well as low tech augmentative and alternative communications devices. With your support, we would love to be able to provide as many of the requested toys as possible. These toys range in price from $30 to $350 dollars per item, with most in the $70 range, so they can be an extreme expense for families of children with complex medical conditions facing long-term hospitalizations.

To help everyone play, donate here:

Thanks for joining!

Thank you so much to everyone who participated! We are so appreciative of all of your support.

If you didn't have the chance to participate this year, don't worry, we will play again!