Dental Health Month Sensory Play | Still Playing School

Dental Health Month Sensory Play

February is Dental Health Month! As I was dreaming up a sensory play invitation for the occasion, I couldn't quite settle on a decision for the main filler.  We ended up using an ingredient (that even I am a bit shocked I allowed) for our dental health sensory play tray!

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Our child was closely supervised and knows not to taste the toothpaste but use your own judgement with your children. This sensory play is not recommended for children who still put things in their mouths.

The components of our sensory tray were an assortment of items we had around the house including tools from our Play-Doh Doctor Drill 'N Fill dentist kit, lengths of beading string as "floss," plastic lost tooth containers (leftovers which were a hot commodity in my kindergarten classroom).  We rounded out our supplies with a trip to the Dollar Tree and added a four pack of toothbrushes, a pick and a dental mirror, and the star of the show: TOOTHPASTE!

What makes this an entire sensory experience is that my daughter could see, hear, smell, taste, and touch the toothpaste!  We started with smelling as I explained that while you can taste toothpaste it isn't good for you to swallow.  We did this sensory play experience while my toddler was napping so he wasn't tempted to taste.

Ever since I read Ramona and Her Mother as a child, the scene where she empties an entire tube of toothpaste into the sink has remained in my mind!  I lived vicariously through E as I let her fill our tray with toothpaste.  

Now before you think I'm completely crazy, I'll remind of you of the importance of sensory play and also ask you to look at that face of pure delight and concentration!  It also took a lot of hand strength and fine motor work to get every bit of toothpaste out of the tube. It was definitely worth the mess!

It only took two tubes to fill our tray to the level that we wanted.  I always love observing what my preschooler does and says during sensory play.  She tentatively asked if she could put her hands in the toothpaste.

You can use the this experience to explain the importance of keeping teeth healthy by brushing and flossing. Since her first dental visit at an early age, E has been great at brushing and flossing independently (and letting us help to make sure she does a complete job).  

E was quietly working on spooning toothpaste in the tooth containers when baby brother D woke up.  Clean up was quick as we wiped her hands with a towel then washed them (and everything else) in the kitchen sink.  The house smelled minty fresh all afternoon!

If you'd rather not try sensory play with real toothpaste, we also created toothpaste slime!

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  1. Love this idea! How fun...definitely trying this one out.

  2. This is awesome.i can't wai till my son is older and we can do it.

  3. Thanks for sharing. This information is very informative.
    Family Dentist Morristown NJ