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Outdoor Hospital

Outdoor hospital


  • Dr. Shawn by Petronella Breinburg, optional
  • Large outdoor area
  • Large wood blocks
  • Old washable blankets and quilts
  • Doctor props such as stethoscopes, thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, medicine bottles with the caps removed, ice bags, and so on
  • Tricycles ("taxi trike" type, which have an extra seat in the back) or wagons
  • Baby dolls
  • Clipboards, marker, yarn, and paper, optional


What to do

1. If desired, read Dr. Shawn to the children. Ask the children if they would like to play hospital outside.

2. Use large wooden blocks to outline a hospital area in the playground.

3. Set up a "treatment" area using old quilts, blankets, and other doctor materials.

4. Encourage the children to act out getting hurt or becoming sick on the playground. One child can use a taxi trike or wagon to transport the sick child to the hospital area, and the "doctors" can treat the child.

5. The children can also bring hurt or sick baby dolls to the hospital for treatment.

6. If desired, make "patient charts." Attach a chunky crayon or washable marker to a few clipboards with a length of string or yarn. Demonstrate how doctors, nurses, or hospital personnel use the clipboard to hold papers that track each patient's progress, medications, and treatments.


More to do

1. Make patient ID bands. Give each child a 3" x 6" piece of oaktag or tagboard.

2. Encourage the children to use markers and small stickers to decorate the oaktag in any manner they wish.

3. Print each child's name on his oaktag, put the band on his wrist, and secure with tape. Explain that every patient in a hospital must wear a patient identification band to assure they get the right medications and treatments.


-Virginia Jean Herrod, Columbia, SC

Book: GIANT Encyclopedia of Preschool Activities for 3-Year-Olds
Center: Dramatic Play/Pretend & Play/House Corner
Topic: Occupations
Content: The Arts: Dramatic Arts
Area: Language
Age: 3 through 4 Years Old
Interaction: Large Group

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