Celebrating Therapeutic Work: Spotlight and Giveaway on Play Clothes

I always love to support others doing amazing work, so today you are in for a treat. I’m excited to introduce a recreation therapist, Kim Shepard who is helping fellow clinicians spread the love of their work through Play Clothes.


Guest Blogger, Kim Shepard from Play Clothes 

I am a recreation therapist and inclusive play practitioner who happens to also enjoy design and art. I have my Master’s in Recreation Therapy through the School of Public Health at Indiana University and a large part of my experience comes through working in the therapeutic camp setting as well as providing holistic care for clients, working alongside and in collaboration with other therapeutic health professionals and educators. I am very passionate about the importance of inclusion, in that it is essential to the health, well-being, and progress of our society as a whole.

I currently work in the pediatric community setting at an inclusive play gym, where I am the operations manager. I also have a background working therapeutically with a wide range of children and adults, including camp, community, and clinical settings and with clients with physical and developmental disabilities, mental health and behavioral health needs. I am also a type one diabetic, which has played a crucial impact in my life, helping me feel invested in and empowered in the Spoonie community. I was also diagnosed as a child and have very important memories of a child life specialist teaching me to give shots on a teddy bear named Rufus. My husband is a counselor who also has experience working with children with autism, and we are both passionate about the vital importance of mental health and disability acceptance and inclusion. Overall, I feel like my life is just filled and directed by the power of inclusion, play, and empathy, which have shaped me both personally and professionally.

Play Clothes Collage

The Launch of Play Clothes 

Play Clothes is an independent design project of mine. It was started out of frustration at the fact that no one ever understood what I actually do for a living and the importance behind it. My first shirt design was on the definition of recreation therapy and thanks to the very positive response I received, things just blossomed from there. It leads to design shirts about other therapeutic fields, including child life, occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, pediatric nursing, art therapy, and much more.

Play, play-based learning, and inclusion are three of my biggest passions, and the therapeutic role of play—especially inclusive play—is my own personal soapbox that I could talk about for hours on end. Play Clothes gives me a way to speak out in visual design about those topics, and I have been so honored by the way that so many other healthcare, teaching, and therapeutic professionals have responded with excitement and enthusiasm.

All shirts are designed by me and then printed and distributed by bonfire.com, who I love supporting due to their utmost professionalism and friendliness, as well as the quality of their products and the sensory-friendly softness of their fabric. Currently, I have too many designs out there to list, but you can find more on my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I am always open to ideas about other designs and offer designs for groups, clinics, schools, and more at no cost other than the price of the shirts. Shirts have to have at least five buys in order to be printed, but this hasn’t been a large problem so far, but it does mean that word-of-mouth and social media are incredibly beneficial for Play Clothes’ continued success!

Play Clothes Giveaway.jpg

Win a t-shirt design of your choice. Choose one or more ways to enter:

1. Sign up for email notifications at Child Life Mommy and leave a comment below

2. Facebook: Follow Child Life Mommy, tag a friend and leave a comment on the post

3. Facebook: Follow Play Clothes and leave a comment about the giveaway

4. Twitter: Follow, Like and RT the post to @ChildLifeMommy and @clothes_play

5. Instagram: Follow @ChildLifeMommy & @PlayClothesIn, Like the post and tag a friend.

Good Luck! Winner will be chosen on 8/5/18. Shipped to residents in the U.S. and Canada.



Legacy Building With My Family

Today is a bizarre day. I’m sitting on a plane heading across the country to see my family.

I’m flying solo without kids to entertain or a husband to talk with.

The flight was booked less than 48 hours ago and I packed one suitcase just for my belongings.

Yesterday, I scrambled to get my house in order, food shop and make sure that I spoke about my separation from the kids for a few days.

So, why an unexpected trip?

My grandpa’s health is rapidly declining and I want to be there for him and my family.

Instead of letting my emotions take over me, I have placed them in a safe place as I focus on thinking of ways to create lasting memories through legacy building activities. Yes, my child life hat is on tight as I talk openly to my kids and parents about what may happen.

I know that through my “work” with them, I am providing myself with a cathartic opportunity to connect to my grandpa and family on a deeper level. I am able to step into the shoes of families that I work with and see it from their point of view.

It puts it all into perspective.

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 11.25.46 AM
Legacy Building Activities with My Kids

Related Posts

Helping Kids Understand Death

Coping with Loss on Mother’s Day

Butterflies, Hope, and My Rainbow Baby 



DIY Creative Monograms

DIY Monograms 3

The end of the school year is finally here for my little man. Pre-K graduation is next week and I have to say, the flood gates will be released. Gavin had an amazing year and I really wanted to show his teachers and therapists how much we appreciate all their hard work and patience.

I thought about what to buy his teachers, a gift card, flowers, personalized notecards. These are all nice, but not memorable. So, I went to the source that has virtually every idea out there, Pinterest.

I found the crayon idea and thought, bingo! This would be the perfect gift.

The materials needed:

  • Box of Crayons
  • Cutting Board
  • Card Stock
  • X-Acto Knife
  • Tacky Glue
  • Shadow Box

Print out a large font in a light shadow (so the letter won’t appear behind the crayons). Cut the paper to fit the shadow box. On a separate piece of paper, line up the crayons first and then cut them. Transfer the cut crayons and glue them to the card stock. Let it dry and then put it in the shadow box. So simple and easy to do!

crayon collage


DIY Crayons

DIY Crayons 2

I decided to put a spin on this idea for his occupational therapists, so I decided to use materials that they often use in their sessions.

Here is what I came up with:


beads DIY

DIY Beads

Clothespins and Puffballs


DIY Monogram

This would be a great project for medical art as well. Child life specialists can provide loose parts and medical materials for kids to explore and create.

What are you going to make?