At Shriners Hospitals for Children, the health and safety of our patients, families, volunteers and staff is our top priority. With the evolving situation regarding COVID-19, we are closely monitoring updates from local health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and are actively following their recommendations.

If your child has an upcoming appointment, please contact your local Shriners Hospitals for Children location.

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Chicago visitor information – Updates

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Patient programs

Patient programs

At Shriners Hospitals for Children — Chicago, care extends far beyond the hospital walls. The recreational therapy and child life departments at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Chicago believes that recreation and leisure should be an important part of everyone’s life without exception. The recreational therapy staff at Shriners Hospitals for Children provides year round F.L.O.W. (Friendship, Leisure, Opportunity & Wellness) programming that utilizes a variety of activity-based programs that offer participants an opportunity to build confidence, socialize effectively, and learn new sport and recreation skills. All programming offered through FLOW is led and/or planned by a certified therapeutic recreation specialist.

During your visit to the Chicago Shriners Hospital you may see therapy dogs, musicians, magicians, area sports teams, clowns, picnics or holiday-themed parties. Activities and classes are provided at no cost to patients and families.You may email Darlene Kelly, director of recreational therapy/child life, to be added to the activity and classes mailing list.

Who can participate?

FLOW offers a variety of sport, social and arts programming to patients of Shriners Hospitals for Children — Chicago. Individual programs may be designed for specific ages and ability levels, which are identified in program descriptions. Some programs do require participants to be independent with their self-care. Most events require an RSVP.

Sport and recreation

These programs may help patients with self-esteem, development of rule-following and sequencing, peer camaraderie, strength and flexibility, and family support. Patients must have a Medical Release Form signed by their primary care physician to participate in sport and recreation programs:

  • Sport workshops (a variety of adapted sports and Special Olympic sports).           
  • Summer horseback riding.
  • Teenage/adult transition program.

Creative arts

Programs provide an opportunity for participants to express their emotions, develop social skills, self-awareness, coping skills, and advance gross and fine motor skills. Programs include:

  • Adaptive dance.
  • Play/movement therapy.          
  • Art.
  • Science.
  • Music therapy – Weekly visits for patients.
  • Horticultural therapy.
    • Gardening and plants workshops in partnership with the Chicago Botanic Garden, Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m. RSVP to Amanda at 773-385-5515.

Socialization events

These events provide an opportunity for patients of all abilities to spend time with family and meet new friends through holiday parties, picnics and performances.

  • Mane in Heaven provides twice monthly visits of miniature therapy horses to patients.
  • Superhero Day - June 23, 2021. Holiday Heroes and our staff show their super powers while providing fun and games to patients. If you have an appointment that day, wear a costume!

For more information on getting involved in FLOW programs, contact Darlene by phone at 773-385-5426 or via email.