The New Pokémon Go: 10 Ways To Use Wizards Unite in Child Life

In July 2016, Pokémon Go was released and created a paradigm shift in the way that we think about gaming and its usage. Pokémon Go got people to get up, move around, go outside, and explore. It was played at weddings, at the dentist, on planes, in bathrooms…and in hospitals.

Some Child Life teams saw that Pokémon Go had a tremendous ability to bring joy and motivation to their patients and decided to use the game to help encourage mobility, social interaction, and curiosity. Now, in 2018, the next huge wave is coming: Nintendo is launching Wizards Unite, a Harry Potter-themed game with similar gameplay to Pokémon Go.

 Photo from @HPWizardsUnite on Twitter

Photo from @HPWizardsUnite on Twitter

This year, Child Life teams will have another chance with Wizards Unite to capture the excitement about the game and use it to distract patients and improve their experience in the hospital. The valuable training child life specialists have in coping, education and therapeutic play makes them ideal for helping patients use this game in a responsible and helpful way. To help you make the most of Wizards Unite, we collected some ideas from hospitals who used Pokémon Go with patients and came up with some of our own. Here are our top 10 ways that Child Life teams can use Wizards Unite with patients:


1. Encourage ambulation.

Encourage patients who need to ambulate to get up and make a friend while collecting magical creatures and casting spells. You can set step goals, or have a route that you suggest patients walk each day that introduces them to interesting locations in the hospital.

2. Create social events

Organize Wizards Unite outings or events to create opportunities for social connections between patients and families who are playing the game.

3. Spread the word about hotspots.

Document ‘stops’ around the hospital where patients can stop by to collect special items or catch creatures, and share out the list via social media or hospital announcements. In Pokémon Go, Pokéstops are special locations where players can collect eggs and Pokéballs or place Lures (purchasable power-ups that can be used at a Pokéstop to cause more creatures to appear there), and Wizards Unite is likely to have a similar feature.

david-grandmougin-123135 (1).jpg

4. Foster patient and family connections on social media.

Create a hashtag to let patients and families see and follow each others’ progress on social media, creating an online community and a sense of connection within the hospital.

5. Encourage your patients to use their imaginations.

Ask your patients about their favorite Wizards Unite characters to engage them in imaginative play.

6. Use a Lure to bring patients and families together for an event.

Place a Lure at a game stop in the hospital for a special event, and invite patients and families to come capture magical creatures there.

7. Create Harry Potter-themed events.

Host Harry Potter book reading sessions or a Harry Potter movie night in an activity room to capture the interest of patients who are playing the Wizards Unite game.

8. Encourage patients and families to explore the hospital points-of-interest.

Leverage Wizards Unite interest and activity to build awareness of hospital landmarks, amenities and services. For example, provide a hospital tour guide that patients and families can follow while playing the game which highlights artwork and places of interest.

9. Enlist the help of your donors.

Ask for donation of Harry Potter-themed toys in preparation for the increased interest surrounding Wizards Unite.

10. Provide mentoring opportunities.

Pair up older patients with younger patients to teach them how to use Wizards Unite, creating opportunities for mentoring.


Before implementing any of these ideas, please ensure that they stay within your hospital's policies. We want everyone to stay safe while having fun with Wizards Unite!

What ideas do you have to add? How did your hospital use Pokémon Go to help patients have fun and get exercise? Let us know in the comments.

David NesbittComment