The healthcare experience can be scary and stressful for kids for a variety of factors including pain, fear, and disruption of normal routine. The sterile spaces may seem boring, scary, or uninteresting to kids. This leads to increased anxiety and angst among children. Viewing nature is proven to help alleviate or reduce these fears and uneasiness. The question becomes, how can we use the healthcare space to engage a child’s curiosity and improve the overall healthcare experience?
To begin my research and better understand the medical side, I talked to a pediatric physician assistant at CHOP, Jefferson PA students, and a friend’s experience whose brother had been in and out of the hospital while growing up. The insights from these experts helps me realize that there was an opportunity to engage kids in waiting rooms through both digital and analog experiences.
Seedling enhances a child’s inpatient or outpatient experience at a hospital or doctor’s office by combining the healing benefits of nature with the developmental benefits of play. The components include an app and an activity book that pair together to teach kids more about Earth's plants and animals. Through augmented reality, the Seedling app transforms the space around them into various biomes like the tropical rainforest, savanna, or tundra. Each room is assigned its own biome so as a child waits in a waiting room or moves throughout a hospital, they can progress through these different biomes and collect illustrated elements of nature. Each plant or animal is worth a certain point value and contribute to a child’s score. Kids can compare their scores by viewing the daily leaderboard. The Seedling Activity Book houses games, coloring pages, and short story activities that teach kids about the various biomes that they may move through. It also turns into a digital pop up book when used with the app, as another way to teach kids about the plants and animals in the great outdoors.