Every February the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsor’s National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness and education on oral health. Since this month is dental health month, this week we have been exploring taking care of our teeth and dental hygiene for kids.
To do this activity you will need gak, an egg carton (we used a Styrofoam one), and a tooth brush. This was a really fun activity to get a some tooth brushing practice and the gak added a bit of a challenge to the task.
Before heading off to play we talked about how the egg cartons represented our teeth (Livia decided that they were either big kid teeth or belonged to a giant since they were much bigger than her teeth), and we talked about “sugar bugs” aka plaque and the tooth brush. As we talked about the items used for play I set up the activity. This will give the gak time to “melt” around the egg carton. I also brought out some tooth paste and some plaque detecting mouth wash. Although we did not incorporate these items into our play, we did use them for discussions. Before sitting down to play we washed our mouth with the mouth wash to get a visual of the plaque in our mouth. Both kids were also given a tooth brush to then brush the blue off. While this is a nightly routine for us, most nights the kids still have a blue smile on their way to bed so I was planning on them still having a blue smile after brushing. After brushing we inspected our teeth for blue residue and did find it. At this point we talked about how we really need to pay attention while brushing our teeth and how plaque likes to hide in hard to reach areas. We also talked about how the play toothbrush was not to be used in their mouth and only to be used on the egg carton.
By the time we were done talking and brushing our teeth the gak had completely covered the egg carton. One of the great things about using gak is it’s consistency. As kids brush the teeth not only will they get some of the “plaque” off, but they will also push some around and some will move back into the areas that they have already brushed.
Both kids had a complete blast with this activity. At one point Livia even started adding in items from our art bin to her teeth (like pom-poms) to practice brushing them off. She even got a string to try to get in between the teeth because she found it to be a difficult place to clean (which lead to us talking about floss).
You can see here how after cleaning out in between the teeth the gak was pushed back in and refilled that gap. She did find this a bit frustrating, but at the same time by the time the activity was over she was talking about how thorough you have to be when brushing your teeth. She even associated it with hand washing in that maybe singing the abc’s would be a good amount of time…but that it would be hard to sing and brush.
This book has quickly become one of my children’s favorites. So, it was no surprise to me that after working on brushing our teeth they wanted to read it again. One of the great things about this book, with this activity, is that the book explores all the possibilities of what the Tooth Fairy uses teeth for. So while reading it my kids would take the gak and attempt to recreate what the tooth fairy was creating, or even come up with their own creations!
The images in this book are absolutely beautiful and the Tooth Fairy is what every child imagines her…or him…to be- playful, creative, mischievous…or maybe that is adventurous, and just a bit of a trouble maker. This story is brilliantly fun for answering the question every child asks, “What does the Tooth Fairy do with our teeth?”
*I received this book for the purpose of this review. All opinions provided are 100% my own*