Arts & Crafts, Early Language, Play, Preschool, Speech Language Pathology, Toddler

Using Everyday Objects for Language: Tooth Brushing Edition

Continuing with our series on using everyday objects for language. On Week 3 we will focus on all things brushing teeth. We will have 4-5 activities and crafts to complete throughout the week. My goal is to keep it simple and use only items you likely already have or can substitute easily (after all- we are trying to social distance!). Want to take a peek at what we’re doing?

The Schedule

Monday: Create a Popsicle Toothbrush

Tuesday: Toothbrush Painting

Wednesday: Build a Mouth

Thursday: Clean the Tooth

Friday: Personalized “I Brush My Teeth” Social Story

Saturday: Tooth Brushing Dance Party!

Make a Popsicle Toothbrush

What You’ll Need:

  • Popsicle Stick/Tongue Depressor
  • Paper
  • Scissors (although- you could just use your fingers and tear)
  • Glue
  • Any materials wanted to decorate- paint, markers, crayons, stickers, etc.

Directions

  1. Gather all of your supplies (Language practice- “I need ____” or “I’m looking for ____” and have your child help you find them). Precut the paper into a rectangle the size you want. You’ll be gluing it onto the back of the popsicle so don’t forget to account for that part.
  2. Have your child put glue on one side of the popsicle stick (a glue stick will definitely keep things cleaner!). “Put On” is a great core word practice during this.
  3. Put the piece of paper on top of the glue.
  4. To make the bristles you have a few options:
    • If your child is ok with scissors, let them practice cutting the strips (supervised). “Cut”, “More”, and “Finished” are great words to practice with this.
    • You can use the scissors with your child’s hand on yours and let them practice telling you how to use the scissors (“open”, “close”)
    • Forget the scissors and practice tearing the paper into strips! It won’t be neat but toddlers love ripping and it is still great fine motor practice.
  5. Get Decorating! I give 2 choices of materials at a time.

Toothbrush Painting

Toothbrush Painting: Flowers

What You’ll Need:

  • An Old Toothbrush
  • Paper
  • Paint
  • Optional: Tooth/Toothbrush silhouette to paint around.

Directions

  1. Get materials ready. This is a great opportunity to practice arts & crafts vocabulary by pointing to and labeling each item (“I see ______”/”I need ____”).
  2. Choose 1-2 paint colors at a time. To practice requesting: let them choose by pointing, saying the color (or “that”/”this”), or making a simple phrase or sentence (“want that”).
  3. Optional: Tape the silhouette to the paper. This way the child paints around the object. When you are done painting you can remove this part.
  4. Demonstrate what you are going to do. Then hand the child the toothbrush. Narrate as they paint. This is a great time to practice with toothbrush vocabulary (e.g. “you are holding the handle great!” or “wow, those bristles make cool paint strokes”).
  5. Have fun! We moved to finger painting towards the end- and that’s ok!

Build A Mouth

Materials Needed:

  • Printed Worksheet from Tooth Brushing Packet (alternative- use construction paper to build your own mouth)
  • Marshmallows (non-food alternatives: Pom Poms, or White Beads)

Directions:

  1. Gather materials. Print worksheet and put marshmallows (or alternative) into a container.
  2. Read the directions. Introduce the Tooth Brush Vocabulary: Teeth, Mouth, Gums. For older kids you may even teach the different types of teeth (e.g. incisors, molars, etc.)
  3. Build the mouth by putting one marshmallow in each spot. If your child is missing some teeth you can talk about that and show them which one. Use words like “put on” “next to/beside/between” “on top/bottom” and pronouns “I, me, my, you, your” while making the teeth.
  4. For Older Children: Use this time to practice counting the teeth. Then look in a mirror and see if they can count the ones in their mouth. You may also practice flossing using your newly created mouth!
  5. For the edible art- bon appetit! Enjoy your creation!

Clean the Tooth!

Materials Needed:

  • Tooth cut out (found HERE)
  • Dry Erase Marker
  • Cotton Ball
  • Toothbrush
  • Ziploc Bag

Directions

  1. Cut out the tooth from the worksheet (alternative: draw your own).
  2. Put the tooth cutout in the bag.
  3. Using the dry erase marker draw the germs onto the tooth (outside of bag).
  4. Attach the cotton ball to the toothbrush. We used tape (in order to use toothbrush for other activities later on) but glue is also an option.
  5. Before starting point to each item: Tooth, Germs/Plaque, Toothbrush, Handle, Bristles and tell your child what you are going to do (“Scrub, Brush, Clean”).
  6. Let your child hold the toothbrush and clean the tooth! Practice going “up” and “down” and “around” to clean the tooth!

“I Brush My Teeth” Social Story

Directions

  1. Download the Tooth Brush Packet here.
  2. Read the story with your child & take pictures of each step. This is a great opportunity to practice opposites like left/right, in/out, top/bottom, inside/outside, up/down. It also practices following 1-step directions.
  3. Add pictures of your child doing the steps to the story. While doing this point out what your child is doing and see if they can tell you (if they are beginning talkers this may be “teeth” or “brush” only- that’s ok!)
  4. Read the story!

How to Use

This short story is called a Social Script. It describes and visualizes the routine your child will be doing to help them learn the steps. Read this story every time before your child brushes their teeth. Initially you will be reading this to them. Soon after if you pause you will find your child can finish the sentence. B was reading parts of it (with vocabulary I didn’t even realize she knew- “rinse”) after only reading it with me 3 times. Let your child read it out loud- they may surprise you. Having their pictures on the page is hugely motivating!

Toothbrush Dance Party

Sing to the tune:

Speech Language Strategies to Use While Singing:

  • Repetition: Sing the song over and over. This is natural if you do every time you brush your teeth.
  • Pair Gestures with Words: While you sing this to your child, sing it paired with gestures for the key words you want her to remember.
  • Break it Down: While playing and learning the song, practice one verse at a time. You can do it over and over so the child hears and says the words repeatedly.
  • Expectant Pause: While singing with your toddler engaged, pause and see if they can complete the verse (“brush, brush, brush your _____”)
  • Practice Gestures: Break the verses down and exaggerate the gestures. Throw your hands UP and DOWN, Spin your whole body round and round. Then practice smaller movements using the toothbrush, their finger, or a toothbrush craft you’ve made!
  • Music On and Off: Sing the music with and without music! Music makes it more engaging, but can also be hard for the child to slow down and attempt to sing a long. Here is a link to a version of this song from LittleBabyBum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pd4WnsXwdqw&vl=en
Using Speech Strategies with No Music (See our progression of this in story highlights on Instagram)
Attempting a Dance Party with the Song

I hope you have enjoyed our week of all things tooth brushing and your child has expanded their vocabulary! If you want even more “worksheets” for your child to use during this week you can find my tooth brushing unit with additional activities, crafts, and worksheets HERE.

Remember- the key is slowing down, being repetitive, and staying intentional during your time together! Let me know if your child learned any new vocabulary throughout this week! And if you do any of the crafts please share with me @languageandplaydates on Instagram!

Ready to get started but need a few materials? Here are our favorites:

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