Doctors and dentists and hospitals can be scary places for adults let alone children so I think it’s important to familiarise them with these places and people from an early age, and as with all things educational around here, we like to do it using fun toddler activities!
Toddler activities – learning about our health
In the past few weeks our toddlers have had an eye test, been inoculated against meningitis B and had their first dental check up. With all these visits going on I thought it was a great time to help them learn more about their health.
While we were at my parents house the other day their neighbours came over and gave Miss E and Master J a whole box of Happyland toys that their own grandchildren had outgrown. Inside that box we found a couple of doctors, a nurse and an ambulance. Perfect timing!
We played with the toys and talked about when you might need to ride in an ambulance and how doctors and nurses look after you when you’re poorly or injured.
When the kids were napping I took some photos of the toys and made some flash cards, adding the name of each object so that they can begin to associate the two.
I used the Montessori 3 part cards approach even though right now my two are two little to use them properly.
I printed two copies of the cards and then we sat down together and matched the pictures. Then I laid one set of cards out on the table and asked the kiddos whether they could match the toy to the picture. Master J decided he’d rather go and read a book but Miss E sat for a while matching each toy to it’s picture, and clapping when I told her she had got it right.
(please excuse the crumbs – we’d just eaten breakfast!)
If you’d like to use the cards to help your tot learn about doctors, nurses and ambulances you can click here to download them for free!
Monkey takes the fear out of the unknown
The team at Monkey Wellbeing sent us a fantastic pack of books and stickers to help us learn more about the health service and what happens if we need to go for a blood test or an operation.
I spent most of my childhood and adult life being terrified of needles and that is not a fear I wish to pass onto my children, which is why I was so excited to find out more about Helen Sadler and her Monkey Goes to Hospital storybook series which has been written with kids in mind to help take the fear out of the unknown.
The books show Monkey during every step of his treatment and really help facilitate a conversation between parents and children about what they will experience if they have to have a blood test or even an operation. The great thing is that they use photography rather than illustrations, so the kids can see what the hospital and equipment really looks like.
Monkey also stars in a series of videos that you can watch on YouTube.
We love to read books in our house and I’ve picked out these great health related toddler books which are another great way of talking to your little ones about doctors and hospitals.
1. You Can’t Taste a Pickle with Your Ear is a great book to help youngsters learn about the five senses.
2. The Nurse: Mini People Shape Book is the perfect size for toddler hands and will help them learn about nurses.
3. Little ones will love the humour in Froggy Goes to the Doctor, poor Froggy is so nervous that he forgets to put on his underpants!
4. Bright illustrations and rhythmic text make Brush, Brush, Brush! the perfect book to help your toddler understand why he needs to brush his teeth.
5. Curious George Goes to the Hospital is a great book to use to help your little one learn more about hospitals, but also to help them understand why they shouldn’t put things in their mouths, especially puzzle pieces!
Here are some of my favourite health related activities from around the web, don’t forget you can find more fun toddler activities on my Pinterest board.
1. Dental health sensory play
I love this idea for a dental health sensory play activity. What a great way to get little ones interested in tooth brushes and learning about the importance of cleaning their teeth!
2. Doctor sensory bin
Here’s another idea for a sensory bin but this time it’s doctor themed. Visits to the doctors can be quite alarming with all those instruments they use to poke and prod, and this is a great way to make those items look a little less scary.
3. Community helpers activities
I love these community helpers ideas to help toddlers learn about ambulances and hospitals. And toddlers will have great fun playing doctor to their poorly teddies.[divider]
I hope these toddler activity and book ideas have inspired you to talk about health with your little ones. If you do any of these activities at home I’d love for you to share some photos on our Facebook wall so we can see how much fun you had learning about health and medicine.
Don’t miss our other fun toddler activities!
Disclosure: The team at Monkey Wellbeing sent us a complimentary pack of books and stickers to review. The views within this post are entirely my own.