Marshmallow Darts Story

Posted 6/6/2012 by Sarah Wagner from University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital, MN

The best intervention I had with the launchers included an entire family. The child was hospitalized for a lengthy time (2 plus weeks) and dealing with isolation to his room due to infection control standards. The family would cram in the small room, curtains drawn, faces of boredom and frustration. Therefore, the first step was making a target (dart board) with the patient. Each circle included a category such as favorite food, favorite doctor, thing I dislike the most about the hospital, what I hate about my illness etc… then each category got a point value.

The target was hung on the wall and the whole family got into the competition of seeing who could hit the target and collect points. At the same time the launcher was used for blasting marshmallows, the target became a conversation piece of helping the patient and family process their medical experience and how they were coping with things. The use of the launchers also allowed therapeutic breathing and became a skill that the patient and family learned to use in times of stress, boredom, frustrations, etc… It was amazing to see the family go from a down mood to a room filled with laughter, humor, the ability to talk as a family about the hospital/illness all because of using a small tool, the marshmallow launcher.