It’s that time of year again—kids are trading in their summer flip flops and bathing suits for new back-to-school clothes, backpacks and school supplies.

And it’s just as true at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, where young patients are working their studies in around medical treatments.

On Thursday, teacher and educational liaison Sarah Smith organized a back-to-school event for children at the hospital, ensuring they wouldn’t miss a beat in their academic pursuits.

Even if they’re starting the school year in hospital rooms, the kids don’t have to miss out on the thrill and bustle of the first day of school.

“Here, they get to pack a bag of school supplies they might need,” Smith said, explaining the setup. “And then we have stations in the different curricular areas, to just get them curious and excited about school.”

When they’re in the hospital, the kids miss out on open houses at their schools. They miss out on events “where they get to walk around and see their classrooms, meet their teachers, meet their classmates,” Smith said.

The back-to-school event brings all the excitement right to them.

“Even though it’s not their own (school), it’s something for them to look forward to,” Smith said.

The event had a station for hands-on math, science and music, as well as offering school supplies and books that kids could stuff in their backpacks. The hospital also provided a healthy lunch and snack, and the children learned about playground safety and bus safety. They also had a school photo station.

“This time of year, they’re missing a lot of school open houses,” Smith said. “They’re getting the letters in the mail from their teachers on what supplies they need.

“We’re just trying to get them excited for the year,” she said. “We do this back-to-school event as a kickoff to our group school time that starts next week.”