The support of Rainbow Trust Family Support Workers are a lifeline for families facing the immense challenges of a child with a serious illness.

While medical care is crucial, emotional support is just as important.

Why is play support important?

Playing uses toys, games, and creativity to help children express themselves and work through difficult emotions. Playing provides a safe and comfortable space for children to explore their feelings and can be used to help with behavioural or emotional difficulties. The focus is on play as a natural outlet for children’s self-expression.

Play sessions are non-directive and allow children to express themselves and work through emotions at their own pace. This works particularly well for children as it does not rely on the spoken word and means children do not need to articulate their thoughts and emotions if they are unable to.

What are the benefits?

The impacts and benefits of play can include an increase in a child’s confidence, learning how to express emotions, developing peer relationships, learning new ways to communicate, and understanding their own feelings.

How we use play at Rainbow Trust?

Children supported by Rainbow Trust are facing a unique set of challenges. They may be dealing with fear, anxiety, and sadness related to their own or their sibling’s illness. They may also be struggling to cope with changes in their family routine or feeling isolated from friends. Play can help them address these issues in a way that feels natural and safe.

While children and young people's mental health and school counselling services can be fantastic resources, they may not always be readily available for all the children supported by Rainbow Trust. This is especially true when a child's struggles manifest differently at home than at school, causing their needs to go undetected.

Family Support Workers use play so children can explore their feelings about their illness or their sibling's illness, in a safe space to express fears, worries, and frustrations that might otherwise remain hidden.

Play is a powerful tool that can help children supported by Rainbow Trust navigate the challenges of serious illness. By providing a safe space for emotional expression and fostering healthy coping skills, play sessions can make a significant difference in the lives of these children and their families.

Some examples of play session exercises

- Therapeutic story telling

- Music and movement

- Puppets and masks

- Sand tray

- Art/drawing

- Role play

- Clay modelling

Read more expert advice...

How Rainbow Trust supports families

Read more about our support for families

What Rainbow Trust does

Donate today image

Donate today

Donation payment types
Donation payment values.

£5 could provide bereavement support to help a family cope with the death of a child.

Does your family or a someone you know need support with a seriously ill child?

Anyone can refer a family to us (for example, a family member, friend, health, education or social care professional) provided consent from the family has been given for the referral to be made.