FROM 'distraction boxes' to fend off boredom to driving to surgery in a mini Tesla, the power of play to help young patients cope with the stress of being in hospital has been celebrated.

Oxford Children's Hospital took part in National Play in Hospital Week, which took place between October 7 and 12.

It was set up in 2010 to raise awareness of the positive impact of play in a hospital setting.

Play specialist Sam Mortlock from the hospital said the team were 'delighted' to be part of the annual celebration.

ALSO READ: Mum's year of half marathons for hospital that cared for premature daughter

She explained: “The use of play helps distract and keep our young patients entertained whilst they are in hospital, often helping bring a smile to some of our patients.”

One of the most recent projects to aid play have been special boards to help children communicate.

Targeted at young craniofacial patients who have conditions that affect bones in the head and face, the large boards feature Makaton signs and symbols to aid spoken language.

Oxford Mail:

Play specialist Emma Soper said: “Play is crucial for all areas of development for a child. For a lot of our patients, there are factors that can interfere with this progress and we felt that increasing communication channels in our outpatient areas would improve their play."

She added: "By playing with others, children can learn the art of communication because they can start to recognise facial expressions and body language.”

ALSO READ: Children can drive to surgery in mini Tesla

The children's hospital also received a special donation in June, so now patients can travel to surgery in style behind the wheel of a mini Tesla, which even has space for a teddy passenger.

Joe Baker, from Oxford Hospitals Charity, said: “Every day we are inspired by the creativity, enthusiasm and dedication of the Play Team at the Oxford Children’s Hospital.

"From arranging arts and crafts for children who are unable to leave their bed, to organising birthday parties for patients who will not be celebrating at home – each and every one is amazing.

He added: “With your support, the charity can continue to make our very special hospital more comfortable, bright and welcoming, provide specialist equipment and fill our hospitals with fun things to do."