Teaching kids about dental health is critical. Growing up with an understanding of the importance of dental health and a good relationship with dental hygiene can have lifelong benefits for their health and well-being. However, just because learning about how to keep their teeth healthy is important doesn't mean it can't be fun! To help ensure your kids learn about dentistry while still having fun, try out these simple and fun dental health themed kids' craft activities.
Let's make a monster! Starting with a monster face template, kids can take white construction paper and cut out various shapes of teeth. Talk with kids about the different types of teeth that appear in nature, like the sharp curved fangs of a snake or the flat chewing molars of a cow. They can cut out teeth in whatever shape they like the most and make a whole mouthful of chompers for their monster's mouth!
Part of learning to understand and respect the importance of dental health is building a positive relationship with all the good things that our teeth do for our body and learning to take care of them the same way we'd take care of any other body part. Having fun thinking about the ways teeth work for ourselves and others is a great lighthearted way to build that understanding.
For this activity start with a yellow piece of construction paper and give kids a variety of ways to "whiten" them - through white paint, white-out, tape, or glue. They'll have a chance to explore the different art techniques they've been presented with, building both their cognitive and sensory thinking, while learning about the importance of taking care of their teeth. In the end, they'll have a beautiful multimedia art piece of beautiful white chompers!
If you have a Lego building fanatic at home, they're going to love this one! Using some cotton balls, pom poms, pieces of tape, clay, or play dough, put some sizable pieces of debris in between the raised circles on Lego bricks. Then depending on the age and ability of your child, give them some floss. For older kids with more refined fine motor skills, you can use real dental floss, but younger toddlers might have an easier time with yarn or ribbon as their floss to make it a little easier to hold for their tiny hands. Then kids can practice sliding their floss in between the Lego pieces and moving it back and forth to try and remove the pieces of debris from in between the bricks.
The motor skill of flossing is often really difficult for children to master, and only having their own mouth to practice on only makes it more challenging. The added trouble of not being able to see well into their own mouth and the discomfort of having to put their hands into their mouth makes it hard to get quality practice on the motion of flossing. This way they can hone their flossing skills on easy mode while having fun with a bunch of fun craft materials and their favorite building bricks!
Brushing Sensory Activity
Who said brushing couldn't be fun? There is nothing kids love more than a fun bubbly sensory activity, so get ready to get messy. Fill a sensory bin or large tub with soapy water and start adding some materials for your kids to brush - maybe it's rocks, Lego bricks, or even large toy model teeth or mouths. Add in some kid-sized toothbrushes and some soap or even real toothpaste.
Kids get a chance to practice scrubbing teeth while splashing around in soapy water, having an absolute blast while also improving their critical brushing skills, and getting to see firsthand how their toothbrush and toothpaste do incredible work to keep their teeth clean from yucky gunk!
Good for Teeth Collage
Start with a variety of magazines and newspapers. Food-related magazines, like cooking or housekeeping magazines, are a great source of photos of a wide variety of food. Sit down with your kids and start discussing which foods are good for your teeth and which are bad. Talk about how crunchy vegetables are great for your teeth, while sticky, sweet treats are bad for them. Then start going through the magazines together and identifying the pictures of the food as being good for teeth or bad for teeth. Cut them out as you go and paste them onto a poster board, where one half is for the good foods and one for the bad.
This kind of project is great for getting kids thinking critically about the foods they eat and the impact they have on their bodies. While parents can regulate a child's diet while they're still young, it's important to teach kids how to independently identify which foods are healthy for them and why it's important to make good choices so they can develop a strong relationship with healthy food as adults and be responsible for their own dental health. This activity also has the added bonus of being a great way to build strong fine motor skills as they practice precision use of their scissors!
Teaching your kids about their own dental hygiene is critical for their well-being, but it's also a great opportunity to spend quality time together, do some interesting new craft projects, and have fun as a family!