Storytelling toys delight children on Leeds hospital ward after charity donation

The children and young people being treated on the paediatric neurosciences ward at Leeds General Infirmary have been enjoying playing with new Tonie Box toys recently donated by Yorkshire’s Brain Tumour Charity.

By Daniel Sheridan
Thursday, 9th December 2021, 4:45 pm

Tonie Boxes are storytelling toys which give children a screen-free, tactile listening experience.

The toys were bought using funding from Will’s Way, an official YBTC fund dedicated to supporting Leeds-based families going through brain tumour diagnosis.

When a figurine is placed on top of the squishy box, a unique story or song plays from the in-built speaker.

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Play worker Claire on the ward with the Tonie Box

There are over 100 figurines available, providing much-needed entertainment and escapism for children undergoing treatment on the ward.

The boxes feature buttons which children can press to fast-forward, rewind and adjust the volume.

The boxes have been a huge hit with children on the ward who are receiving treatment for anything from brain tumours to epilepsy, spinal injuries or neuromuscular disorders.

Play worker Kirsty Redshaw said “We love the Tonie boxes and feel very lucky to get them.

Tonie box figure examples

"They have made such a difference to the children on the ward, especially those with a visual impairment.

"They allow the children to make their own choices and those without vision and much manual dexterity to control what they are listening to. Parents have loved them too and we have had lots of requests for information on them.”

Jen Aspinall, Community Fundraiser at Yorkshire’s Brain Tumour Charity said: “The children on Ward L52 at Leeds Children’s Hospital love the Tonies audio adventures.

"Whilst some of us are returning to a version of normality, planning our festive days out, the families of children in hospital are still isolated.

"The hospital staff and playworkers are a lifeline, and toys like these give children something fun to play with during long stays in hospital.

"YBTC and Will’s Way are so grateful to be part of the Tonie boxes campaign, delivering them to Ward 52, the children’s neurology ward at Leeds Children’s Hospital to bring smiles to children and their families.”

Yorkshire’s Brain Tumour Charity also uses Will’s Way funding to equip the ward with craft kits, painting sets, and to send personalised presents at Christmas, in order to make time spent on the ward a little easier for children with serious neurological conditions.

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