Proper dental hygiene is a highly important habit to instill in children from a young age, but it can be difficult to convince children of the many health benefits that come along with good dental care. This is where object lessons can come in. Object lessons are a great teaching tool to use with children because of how they involve using tangible objects to demonstrate more abstract concepts. Here are a few object lessons you can try with your kids to help teach them about the many benefits of practicing proper dental hygiene.
Staining Hard Boiled Eggs
This is a great lesson for teaching kids about foods that stain your teeth. Boil a few white eggs, which will represent teeth, and place them in cups filled with different staining liquids such as soda and coffee. You can even set one egg in a cup with milk to demonstrate milk’s benefits for dental health. Let the eggs sit overnight and observe the results the next morning with your kids. The “teeth” will be stained from the unhealthy liquids and remain unstained from the milk. You can even follow up by having your kids try to brush away the stains on the stained eggs with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
Soda Bottle Teeth
The bottom of a large two-liter soda bottle, when cut off from the rest of the bottle, painted white on the inside, and set upside down, looks just like a large tooth and can be used in a variety of ways to teach kids about proper dental hygiene. Try crumpling up pieces of tissue paper and wedging them into your “teeth,” or rubbing light stains onto the teeth and having your child clear them with a toothbrush.
Play Dough Plaque
This lesson involves using an extra large children’s building block, which has pegs that represent teeth, and filling the spaces between the pegs on the block with play dough, representing tartar. Arm your kids with thick yarn or shoelaces and have them try to floss the “tartar” from between the “teeth.” This particular lesson gives you the opportunity to teach your kids how to properly hold floss and navigate it between teeth.
This one is really simple: draw an outline of a large tooth on yellow construction paper and have your kids paint the tooth white using a toothbrush and white paint. The white paint here represents stain-lifting toothpaste.