The past few months have required all of us to get more creative with activities, especially those of us with children in the home. As we begin to learn about mouth anatomy, health, and hygiene this week, the same level of ingenuity is needed to introduce all ages to this study. We’ve got games, crafts, a scavenger hunt, free downloadable books you can listen to/read along with, interactive online games, videos, jokes, trivia, experiments, and more. Bring your friends and come see what you would like to try!
Eggsperiment Activity: the Canadian Dental Association
Come check out this fun experiment (An adult may need to help if you choose to boil the eggs -- you don’t have to boil them, though). Learn how similar our teeth are to eggshells and why we need to keep them nice and clean!
Learn the names of teeth with a Hop, Skip, Jump, and Chalk
Get youngsters moving with these activities!
Use chalk to draw a large diagram of the human mouth on the ground. (Your kiddos can model it after these printouts of permanent teeth or these Magic School Bus printouts that show both baby and permanent teeth and all their names. The children will have studied the names of each tooth prior to this, so the names won’t be written on the diagram).
This game can be played three ways.
1. Have all the kids stand in the middle (on the tongue if you draw one) then a person shouts out a tooth name: incisor, canine, premolar, molar. Each child needs to run, hop, or skip to the type of tooth called. One adult can call out the type of tooth, or all the kids can take turns. You can use the proper tooth names (i.e. lateral incisors), or variations of a tooth name (ex. canines are also called cuspids) to make it harder.
2. If you have a lot of children playing this game, they can take turns. Each child will have a chance to hop to the tooth someone chooses for them and stand on it. (Alternately, you could write the name of each child or each type of tooth (incisor, canine/cuspid, premolar/bicuspid/ molar), on popsicle sticks. Pull out a stick, then say, for example, “Emily, you can take 3 hops to the nearest incisor.”) As with the previous version, you can use the proper tooth names (i.e. lateral incisors) to make it harder.
This can be done to earn points. Every time they get to the correct tooth, they get 2 points, until the winner arrives at 20 points (or whatever way that you determine is best). The winner gets to choose the movie at indoor recess time, the next day’s afternoon snack, or whatever a fun privilege might be.
3. Musical teeth. Play this like musical chairs. Have each child stand on a tooth then play some music. The kids run in a circle around the model until the music stops. Each kiddo calls out the name of the tooth they are on. Give a point to each person who gets it right!
Mouth & Tooth Model Craft: The Natural Homeschool
This fun craft uses mini-marshmallows as teeth and construction paper, glue, an d scissors to make mini-mouths to study. Once finished, these can be used to learn the teeth names and how to properly brush and floss between the teeth.
Older kids can make it more accurate by using scissors to cut the edge of the marshmallows into the correct shape for each tooth.
Make your own homemade toothpaste
Your kids can practice brushing their tooth models using this homemade toothpaste. It’s important to brush well enough that toothpaste touches every surface of every marshmallow tooth!
This simply involves mixing up these 3 ingredients:
4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp peppermint extract (or whatever flavor you prefer)
What We Can Do with Paper and Glue: Preschool Craft
This one requires only yellow construction paper, a cheap toothbrush (one per child), and white craft paint. To create the craft, create your yellow teeth, then show your child how to brighten them up with the white craft paint or glue on their toothbrushes. Explain how not taking good care of our teeth makes them yucky and yellow but freshening them up by brushing with toothpaste gets them shiny white again!
Supermarket Scavenger Hunt
Cut out food pictures from supermarket fliers or magazines. Discuss how acidic and sugary foods are harmful to the teeth. Have each child create two collages, one of foods that are good for your teeth and another of foods that can harm your teeth. Then pass out the good kind to each child to find at the grocery store. The first one to get all their scavenger hunt foods wins!
Here’s an example of a laminated set of healthy foods/unhealthy foods: Click Here
If you have older kids, here is an entire lesson that uses a scavenger hunt to help them learn about nutrition in their favorite healthy and junk foods. You can access the lesson here, and the printout here.
Model Tooth Cookie Cutter: Bakerlogy
These are very detailed and eye-popping cookie cutters; you can see all aspects of the root of the tooth and everything! Here are some with a different view of the tooth.
Activities for Learning about Teeth and Gums: Hesperian.org
Hesperian provides this booklet with many fun lessons and activities to learn all about teeth, gums, cavities, and more. You can browse through it to find activities your child would enjoy. The activity on page 53 (or type in 19 on the top of the pdf to find it easily) helps children find colonies of germs on their teeth and teaches how to best clean them. You’ll need very clean hands, staining food dye, betel nut or berry juices, cups of water, dental floss, toothbrushes, and a mirror.
Online books, videos, songs, and games:
If you want some calm time, here are some great online learning activities.
National Geographic Kids: A beautifully detailed and illustrated explanation of the mouth as the beginning of the digestive system.
This is a lovely article about the digestive system with gorgeous, detailed illustrations of each part, starting with where it all begins -- the mouth! Older kids can enjoy this by themselves, or it is a great read-aloud for younger kids, perfect material for starting a lesson by reading together.
Guess the dental word (similar to ‘Hangman’): Delta Dental
Have fun guessing letters until you figure out the dental word in this online interactive word game - similar to ‘Hangman’ or Wheel of Fortune.
Press ‘Listen’ and follow along as the page reads itself to you! Learn about the mouth and teeth and what each part of it does.
Here’s a fun word search from the Magic School Bus to get their spelling skills going!
Chompers: Loose in Tooth City: A free downloadable children’s book from Colgate
This book is colorfully illustrated and written for ages 9 - 11. The theme is the importance of keeping at least two dental visits per year.
Brush Your Teeth Rap: A free song and lyrics from Colgate
Kids will enjoy learning to rap about keeping their teeth clean and fresh. Put some choreography moves to it, and you’ve got a performance to share with friends!
Jokes and Trivia: the Canadian Dental Association
Get your chums laughing with some of these hilarious dental jokes from the Canadian Dental Association- or dazzle them with your trivia knowledge!
Q: What did the vampire say after the dentist finished checking his teeth? A: Fang you very much!
Q: What do explorers call it when they go searching for fossil teeth? A: A molar expedition!
Q: Why didn't the astronaut bring her toothbrush? A: She thought that the moon had no cavities!
Q: Why did the male deer visit the orthodontist? A: He wanted to get his buck teeth fixed!
Q: When the dentist went to the fair, what did he like even better than the roller coaster? A: The fluor "ride"!
An elephant's tooth can weigh three kilograms? That's heavier than a big jug of milk!
Even though whales are very big, some of them don't have any teeth. Instead, they have rows of stiff hair like combs that take food out of the ocean.
Snails are very small but they can have thousands of tiny teeth all lined up in rows.
Minnows have teeth in their throat.
Rabbit teeth never stop growing. They are worn down by gnawing on bark and other hard foods.
Lemon sharks grow a new set of teeth every two weeks. They grow more than 24,000 new teeth every year!
Every year in China, people celebrate a special holiday called "Love Your Teeth Day".
A Great Video by a Native American Tooth Fairy: America’s Tooth Fairy
Meet a Native American Tooth Fairy who wants to share some important information about keeping our teeth clean and healthy!
At Jungle Roots Children’s Dentistry & Orthodontics, we strive to provide the highest comprehensive pediatric and orthodontic dental care in a unique, fun-filled environment staffed by a team of caring, energetic professionals. We believe the establishment of a “dental home” at an early age is the key to a lifetime of positive visits to the dentist.
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