this integrative literature review aimed to identify nursing actions for stimulating child development in national and international journals, between 2000 and 2009. medline and lilacs were examined, with analysis of fifteen articles. results point out ludic elements as essential for child development and state that it should be explored by nursing professionals through art, music, toys and theatre. soften the stress of hospitalization through environmental adjustments reduces its impact on child development. guiding and intervening in the inter-relationships are nursing actions for the social and behavioral development of children. the themes addressed in literature are essential to the nursing practice in comprehensive child care.