Would YOU Kiss that Mouth?! – teeth cleaning activity for toddlers

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I’m pretty sure that many parents struggle to get their toddlers to brush their teeth properly…or just brush! Sometimes they brush with no hassle! Great! Other times…and most times, we have to encourage, assist, bribe, and hogtie them down and brush their teeth ourselves! Just kidding about the hogtie thing! Guilty for thinking about it though…

A few days ago, I saw a post from one of my favorite Instragram friends: Growing Little Minds. They are a curriculum-based daycare center in E-Elmhurst, NY that follows Pre-Kindergarten NYS Learning Standards. I love their educational tips, learning ideas, and wonderful photos on their Instagram.

The post that stood out for me the other day was a picture of their students “brushing” teeth on Dental Care Week! They used white paint to paint over teeth drawn on construction paper. So I came up with the following idea!

What you will need:

  • Paper plate – grease and cut resistant (I bought mine from Target)
  • Construction paper
  • Permanent marker
  • Washable color markers
  • Glue
  • Cotton ball
  • Leaf
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss

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Cut your paper plate in half and cut individual teeth on each side of the plate. There are already grooves on my plate so I used them as a guide.

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Then I lined the two halves so it looked like a smile. I trimmed the top half a little so it looks more like a smile.

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Then I glued both halves together.

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What a gorgeous smile

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Time to get creative! I started to color the teeth with the kids’ washable color pens to make the teeth look dirty. Since the plate is waterproof, it will be hard to keep the color on the plate. Just keep going over it as it dries. I added bits of broccoli leaves and cotton ball fibers in between the gaps. Will you look at that!

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Would you kiss these guys?

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Then I got everything we needed for the kids to start brushing.

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I added some toothpaste into a small bowl of water so the kids could dip their brushes in. I found some cute “Brush Your Teeth” songs on Youtube and let them start brushing!

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Because the plate is waterproof and the ink from the pens are washable, the kids were able to brush them off with the wet toothbrushes. I helped guide their hands to brush in circular motions as it was taught to me as a little girl. They brushed off the stains and I helped “wipe their chins” with a baby wipe. The pearly whites were starting to shine! The kids had a sniff of their friends’ teeth and they smelt minty fresh!

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After the teeth were mostly clean, I pointed out to the kids that even with all that vigorous brushing, it’s still a little dirty between the teeth! So we got the floss out and flossed.

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This activity turned out so well! They learned a bit about colors, brushing and flossing techniques, the importance of brushing thoroughly, and they had fun!

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