Our first dental project 2. with free printable

E. turned 3 in May so we needed to show her teeth to a dentist. Just a general check-up. How lucky we have a dentistry next door! Visiting the dentist gave me the idea to take a closer look at teeth as a whole project.

1. Flashcards – matching real objects and cards

One afternoon on the way home from the nursery E. asked: – Mommy, did you make a task for me?

I did. This is what was waiting for her:

I prepared some flashcards with everyday objects related to dental health.

Electric toothbrush

She needed to match the objects with the pictures. While she was doing the matching and she didn’t know a tool I named it for her. (Much to my surprise, she remembered dental floss. Once she was watching me flossing)

Then she experienced how to use some of them. (Of course, she knows how to open a toothpaste tube or how to brush with a toothbrush)

Flossing

A new word learnt: vibrating

*scream* Mommy! It’s funny… and ticklish

Smelling the mouthwash

We don’t drink it, just spit it out

I asked her to help me pack back all the tools on the bathroom shelf. She refused….

You can find a free printable of the dental health flashcards at the end of this blog post. The printable also includes some dental tools which can be found in a dentistry, such as a mouth mirror, a saliva ejector, explorer etc.

2. Brush, brush, brush

I searched for an image of a mouth (lips and teeth) online, next I printed and  laminated it (well, actually 4). With dry erase markers of different colours I created some plaque and germs on the teeth. Earlier I’d save E.’s old toothbrush and she used it to remove the plaque from the teeth. She enjoyed this activity so much for the first time that she’s already done it 4 times since then.

The reason why she is smiling in the next photo is 1. she loves brushing 2. she named the mouth after one of her kindergarten mates and she made up a story around it:

This is L. and she ate M&Ms and now her teeth are dirty. I’ll brush her teeth clean.

Later on, I had to name which little girl or boy’s teeth she needed to brush and what they’d eaten.

Source of this activity: It’s spooky. I’ve found it on pinterest, but now as I’ve just wanted to link the site and it’s gone 😦

3. Egg carton teeth

I took the idea from Sense of Wonder Mom’s Let’s play dentist blog post.

She didn’t describe it in details how to prepare the egg carton teeth so I can share how I made it.

What you need:

  • a sheet of red construction paper or cardboard
  • an egg box (made of paper and not plastic)
  • scissors
  • glue and or cello-tape
  • coloured crepe paper pieces and/or yarn
  • a white yarn piece
  • toothbrush

How to make it:

  • cut A/4 sized red construction paper and curve two corners – this will be the gum and the tongue
  • cut out the dimples (where you otherwise place the eggs) of the egg box (I cut 10 dimples out of 2 different egg boxes as I was creating only the lower jaw but if you’ve got a lot more time than me you can make the upper jaw too then you’ll need 20 i.e 2 egg boxes)
  • stick the dimples onto the red sheet in a semi-circle (first I tried cello-tape, then fast-drying liquid glue. The latter worked better. I glued the sides of the egg box dimples and placed them on the paper. To make sure they are firmly stuck on the sheet I put two thicker books on the top. It took 10-12 minutes to dry perfectly.
  • wedge the crepe paper pieces and yarn pieces in between the “teeth”

First, E. brushed the sides and the top and I raised her attention to the leftover food pieces between the teeth.

Then she started flossing:

Look, I can take it out

We also talked about what happens when you do not brush properly. A cavity appears on the tooth and you need the dentist to fill it in.

So we played dentist:

  • I gave her a mask to put on to protect her against the germs
    – Mommy, why do you need a mask?
    – To keep the germs away from your mouth and from the doctor’s mouth
  • I took Daddy’s electric screwdriver that magically turned into a dental drill (unfortunately the battery of it was flat. It would have been fun to drill the tooth)
  • I gave her bits of tissue paper to fill in the cavity.

Little Dentist is ready to work

Drilling the cavity

filling the hole

She drilled and filled in two teeth then she got annoyed with the mask…

4. Brushing movement on a big molar

I made a big molar out of a plastic bottle. I cut off the bottom of it and painted it white. I provided E. with her old toothbrush and she started to brush it. (The idea comes from the same link above)

I told (and showed) her how to brush

  • the sides back and forth
  • the top with a circular movement (round and round)
  • the inside with a sweeping movement (sweep sweep)

Round and round, back and forth, sweep-sweep

She enjoyed these tasks a lot. So much she wanted to do them several times.

– Mommy, can I brush the teeth again?

– Draw some germs on the teeth.

– I want to floss.

We were dealing with these activities for a week. She was so fascinated by them I made some more. Come back later to check them out.

Does your little one like brushing their teeth?

Here you can download the flashcards (just click on the picture below):

Blood sensory bin

E.’s new focus is on the human body, more precisely on BLOOD. She loves talking about it, seeing it, reading about it and experiencing it. That’s why the sensory bin idea has come up.

She started to be interested in blood when she first saw some blood vessels in the Usborne book titled: What makes you ill?

This book is about a lot of other things and not only blood: symptoms, germ types, allergies, cuts, lumps and bruises as well as a healthy lifestyle.

She’s been asking so many questions about our blood: Why is blood red? When does it come out of our body? What do white blood cells do? What are germs?

I remembered seeing a great activity on blood and after having searched for it for days I didn’t manage to find so I had to do with what I remembered.

What you need:

  1.  a big bin (IKEA)
  2. water (about 1 litre)
  3. water beads (red and white – you can buy them at the florist’s or order them online)
  4. plastic straws (of 3 different colours. I used purple, black and yellow)
  5. red foam sheet
What to do:

  1. Put the red and white water beads in two bowls and add half a litre of water each. Let them soak for 5-6 hours or overnight

  2. Cut up the straws into different shapes

    Antibodies (yellow straw pieces) help to kill germs (viruses and bacteria). They are the memory of the immune system.

    Viruses and bacteria (purple and black straw pieces) are tiny germs attacking your body and making you ill.

  3. Cut out rectangle shaped platelets (at first I forgot to make these, nevertheless, E. has been playing with this sensory bin for more than a week now so I had time to add them)

  4. Prepare the beads, the straws and foam rectangles, some measuring spoons or ladles, a let your child explore it.
    spooning the red blood cells

    Red blood cells (red water beads) carry food and oxygen to the cells in our body.

    Adding the antibodies
    Spooning the white ones

    White blood cells (white water beads) fight off germs (viruses, bacteria).

    Plasma (water) makes it possible for the blood to move around our body.

    Of course, before she started I explained what is what. While she was pouring in the “ingredients” I was commenting what she was adding what their functions are in the blood.

  5. Optional: Add some more bowls for more spooning

It was never ending fun and still is. The beads lasts for weeks if you don’t forget to add some more water every now and them.

Few days ago I found the site where I first saw this idea:  I can teach my child – What is blood made of? They use ping-pong balls for white blood cells… What a great idea!

Sooooo nice to touch the beads

Look, Mommy! A virus!

Antibodies are stuck on the bacteria and burst them

Throughout the week I added some other tools to fish out the germs: tongs and tweezers:

Platelets (red foam rectangles) help to block a hole in your blood vessels when you have a cut. They do not let your blood out of your body.

E. has been playing so much with the blood sensory bin that we’ve had enough time to cover the blood-related vocabulary both in English and Hungarian. So here is a word list to help you if you decide to prepare this fun activity for your kid. If I’m in a good mood, I might make some flashcards in this field.