Discuss with students the kinds of foods that are healthful for teeth. Point out that sugary, sticky foods can cause tooth decay if left on teeth for too long.
Next, let each child eat a chocolate sandwich cookie. (Be aware of students who might have allergies to chocolate; you might pair them with a student who does not have the allergy or substitute popcorn or another type of cookie for the chocolate cookie.) Have children use hand mirrors to examine their teeth. Explain that this kind of food left on teeth can cause plaque.
Have children rinse their mouths with water and check their teeth again for signs of the cookie. Then give each student a piece of apple to eat. Again have children examine their teeth and explain what they see. Point out that fruit is a healthful snack for teeth that does not leave a residue.
Finally, create a large chart. Glue a cut-out paper tooth with a smile at the top of one side of the chart and a cut-out paper tooth with a frown at the top of the other side. Let children go through old magazines or catalogs to find pictures of tooth-happy and tooth-sad foods. Glue pictures on the corresponding side of the chart.
Find more activities for early childhood classrooms in these archives:
Sue LaBella, Education World's early childhood editor, is a former teacher who loves writing activities and poems for young children. She lives in Connecticut with her family and her bulldog named Daisy.
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Activities by Sue LaBella
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