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Kids get that shrinking feeling at Royal London Hospital to get well

PUBLISHED: 18:00 13 February 2013 | UPDATED: 18:00 13 February 2013

Seating arrangements? What seating arrangements?

Seating arrangements? What seating arrangements?

Gareth Gardner

Children in hospital in east London are getting that "Doctor I've shrunk the kids" feeling.

One young patient on dripfeed with her mum relaxing in the 'giant' playroomOne young patient on dripfeed with her mum relaxing in the 'giant' playroom

Two new play spaces have been opened to help youngsters get better at the Royal London.

One is a larger-than-life ‘Alice in Wonderland’ play area that really brings the recovery process down to size.

The area is filled with giant toys which feel like a million miles from the ward atmosphere that doctors say helps the kids ‘mend’ faster.

“We wanted to create an escape for the young patients,” said its designer Morag Mysercough. “It’s a fun place, with a chance for the whole family to relax together.”

There are supersized animals like T’woo the Wise Owl and Eddie the Gentle Giant Tiger lounging in front of a giant TV and a giant chair that’s actually too big for anyone to sit on.

The other play space is the children’s rooftop Sky Garden with a forest, tepee, tree-house with recorded wildlife sounds and panoramic view of east London and beyond. The fresh air and a chance to “‘be somewhere else” has powerful ‘healing’ properties.

Paediatric Consultant Siobhan Carr explained: “The sky garden is an escape from the confines of hospital beds and helps the process of getting better, especially for children with prolonged hospital stays.”

The £1m project came out of a Royal Institute of British Architects competition to design play spaces for the new Royal London children’s hospital which opened last year.

The seeds of the concept were sewn years ago by the architects and NHS staff working on the original plans. Play specialists, teachers, occupational and physiotherapists use the playroom and sky garden to help treat the young patients.

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