Try one or both of the ideas below with your group. (Make sure the children don’t put the toothbrushes or paint into their mouths.)

  • Freestyle Painting: Set out containers of red, yellow, and blue tempera paint along with old toothbrushes and paper. Invite your group to experiment with using the materials for painting fun.
  • Tempera “Toothpaste”: Give your children large tooth shapes cut from white posterboard. Make “mint toothpaste” by mixing white tempera paint with green tempera. Let your children use old toothbrushes to brush their tooth shapes with the green paint “toothpaste.”

Select stringable, uncooked pasta shapes, such as short penne pieces and small wagon wheels. Dye each cup of the shapes in a plastic zipper bag by shaking them in about 2 tablespoons rubbing alcohol and 1 teaspoon food coloring. Dry the shapes on paper towels. Give each child a 2-foot piece of heavy dental floss with a pasta shape tied onto one end. Then invite your children to string pieces of the colored pasta shapes onto the other end of their floss pieces to make necklaces.


On a tray, place items that promote good dental health, such as a toothbrush, a tube of toothpaste, a container of dental floss, a small bottle of water, and a hand mirror. Also include a fresh fruit and a fresh vegetable, such as an apple and a carrot. Sit with your children around the tray and talk about how each item helps to keep teeth healthy. Then ask the children to close their eyes while you remove one of the items. When they open their eyes, have them try to guess which item is missing. Continue the game, each time rearranging the items on the tray and removing a different one.

“T” IS FOR TOOTH (Alphabet Letters)
Arrange objects whose names begin with “T”, such as a table, a triangle, a truck, and a trike, around the room where your children can easily find them. Also include pictures of things whose names begin with “T”, such as a train, a tiger, a tree, and a turtle. On sticky notes, draw the outline of a tooth with an uppercase and a lowercase “T” printed inside it. Then give the sticky notes to the children. Have them search for “T” items around the room, attach the sticky notes to the items, and then name the items they have found.

SMILEY TOOTH, FROWNY TOOTH (Science/Classifying)
Cut tooth shapes out of white paper. On half of the shapes, glue a small picture of a food item that promotes good dental health, such as a fruit, a veggie, a glass of milk, and a slice of cheese. On the other half of the shapes, glue sugary food items that can cause cavities, such as a piece of cake, a cookie, a bottle of cola, and a candy bar. Divide a large piece of posterboard in half vertically to form two columns. Draw a smiling tooth at the top of one column and a frowning tooth at the top of the other one. Discuss the pictures on the tooth shapes and how they can affect dental health. Then mix up the shapes and let your children place them in the appropriate columns on the posterboard.

Plan to do one or more of the activities below with your children.

  • Select appropriate books about the dentist to display and read at circle time.
  • Ask children who have been to the dentist to tell about their experiences.
  • Discuss the importance of regular visits to the dentist or dental health worker.
  • Invite a dentist or dental hygienist to visit your group. Ask him or her to tell what the dentist does and to explain how the children can keep their teeth healthy. (Be sure to let the professional know your children’s ages ahead of time.)
  • If possible, arrange to take your group on a visit to a children’s dentist’s office. Before your visit, help your children make a list of questions to ask.
Tune: “The Farmer in the Dell”

I love to brush my teeth,
I love to brush my teeth.
Up, down, and all around,
I love to brush my teeth.

I love to floss my teeth,
I love to floss my teeth.
In, out, and all about,
I love to floss my teeth.
                           Liz Ryerson

Have your children pretend to brush and floss their teeth as you sing the song.

Invite your children to help wash and dry a few apples, carrots, and celery stalks. Core the apples, cut them into wedges, and then cut the carrots and celery stalks into sticks. Help the children sweeten plain yogurt by adding fruit juice to taste. Then let the children enjoy their fruit and veggie snacks with their yogurt dip. (Talk with your group about how it’s all right to eat sugary snacks once and a while, just not all the time.)