Interactive play space set to transform hospital experience

Interactive play space set to transform hospital experience

An artist's impression of the new playground at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick.

The redevelopment of Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick (SCH) will feature a new playground with a unique mother-and-baby whale structure, offering children a magical escape and place of exploration. 

A mother and her daughter sit on a hospital bed.
Eight-year-old Imogen lives with a severe form of epilepsy and regularly visits SCH for treatment.

The nature-inspired play area is part of the $658 million redevelopment project, which offers enhanced clinical, research and education facilities in one building.  

The new feature will give patients like Imogen a place to enjoy the outdoors with her twin sister and siblings when they travel from Canberra to visit.  

The eight-year-old lives with a severe form of epilepsy and regularly visits SCH for treatment.  

"It would be fantastic to take the children out to a new playground, and they could spend some time outside with Imogen," said Imogen's mum, Tara. 

"Imogen can walk with the help of holding hands. We usually take her out in the stroller as she loves being outside, to climb when she can, and she loves swings." 

Designed in partnership with landscape architects ASPECT Studios and the local community, the play area will include a climbing feature, various slides, hanging structures, jiggling hammocks, sensory features, and quiet areas. 

"The splash is central to the play space, which is something iconic kids within the hospital can look down on," said ASPECT Studios Senior Associate Alex Woodside. 

"It's a series of experiences that people of all ages and abilities will have the opportunity to enjoy as they move through the space." 

The playground design, which features seating, natural shade, and native planting, will enable the space to be enjoyed by children in hospital beds and wheelchairs. 

Disclaimer: Artist impressions only, not all elements are representative of final design.

Aboriginal Health Worker, Elder and artist Aunty Lola Ryan worked with children to design artwork for an adjacent link bridge that tells the whale's story and its significance to Dharawal culture. 

"We wanted to create a place that transported children away from the clinical environment to something joyful and transformative, and surrounded by plants, because we know the benefits for health and well-being being within nature,” said Ms Woodside.

"The play space is a critical place in the hospital because it lets kids just be kids, no matter what else they’re going through,” she added.

The Sydney Children's Hospital Stage 1 and Minderoo Children's Comprehensive Cancer Centre building (SCH1/MCCCC) has reached full height and is expected to be completed in 2025. The playground is scheduled to open in line with the new building.