Teach your child by engaging their hands and minds.
Have you ever noticed that many young kids learn best by doing? When you teach kids in a way that keeps their little hands just as busy — and entertained — as their minds, they’re more likely to stay engaged throughout the lesson and retain the information. This is called active learning, and it can be incredibly useful to implement it at home when you’re teaching your children about the importance of oral hygiene. A science project often provides the perfect mixture of teachable moments and hands-on activity for your children to take part in. As long as your children are engaged and having fun, even simple experiments can do the trick! Here are 5 fun science project ideas that will make learning about oral hygiene a blast for your kids!
1. Stains on Teeth
When you’re trying to explain to your kids how different drinks can impact their teeth over the long term, you can use eggshells to carry out an easy science project that lets them see these changes for themselves. Eggshells contain a lot of calcium, so they make a good substitute for teeth in experiments like this. You can choose as many drinks as you’d like, but we recommend using a variety, such as a dark-colored soda, milk, fruit juice, coffee, and water as a control. Break an eggshell up into equally sized pieces, pour the drinks into their own cups, and drop a piece of eggshell in each.
You might want to ask your kids to predict which drinks will stain the shell, which one will stain it the most, and what other effects—if any—each drink might have on it. Let the eggshells sit overnight and check them in the morning. If you’d like, you and your kids can discuss the changes and end the science project there. If you’d like it to go a little longer, you can put the eggshells back in the cup they were taken from and check them daily for up to a week to see how prolonged exposure impacts them. Either way, this can be an incredibly easy way to show your kids just how much different drinks can impact their oral health.
2. Reveal Oral Bacteria
It’s one thing to tell your kids about oral bacteria and quite another to show them. After all, seeing a problem makes it feel a lot more real than simply being told it exists! Thankfully, there’s an inexpensive and easy way you can do this right at home. Plaque disclosing tablets are flavored, chewable tablets that turn the plaque on your children’s teeth bright colors. This helps your kids see the plaque on their teeth for themselves, helping to drive home how important it is to brush and floss their teeth thoroughly.
You can also use these tablets to help them learn how to brush their teeth well, as they’ll be able to see the plaque they’ve missed on their teeth. Plus, the colors and flavors that the tablets come in add an extra layer of fun for your kids; they’re sure to get a kick out of their mouth turning purple! This only takes a few minutes, but it can be a valuable learning experience for your kids that may even transform the way they view oral hygiene.
3. Egg Brushing
This experiment is similar to the one that tests how different drinks stain eggshells, but it involves working with whole boiled eggs to show your kids just how important brushing their teeth is. Get four cups and fill each with a different liquid, including a dark-colored soda, vinegar, fruit juice or lemonade, and water, and submerge a boiled egg in each before letting it sit overnight. Have your kids guess how each liquid will impact the eggs and write down their guesses. In the morning, remove the eggs and let your kids try to scrub them clean with just water and a toothbrush, then with toothpaste. With a little scrubbing, your kids should be able to remove or lighten visible stains and may even get a little gray-tinted stuff off eggs that don’t look visibly stained. You can then talk about how big of a difference the toothpaste made in getting the eggs clean, making the connection to their teeth and how much of a difference it can make for them.
4. Elephant Toothpaste
Making elephant toothpaste is a simple, fun science project you can perform with an empty plastic bottle and basic household supplies that you likely already own, like hydrogen peroxide, dish soap, food coloring, warm water, and yeast. It only takes a few minutes to follow the instructions to mix the ingredients in the right order. In no time, you’ll end up with a colorful foam that rises and oozes out of the bottle, looking very much like toothpaste when it’s squirted out of the tube a little over-enthusiastically. Your kids will love seeing this reaction! The foam isn’t toothpaste, however, so it needs to be washed down the sink when you’re done looking at it. You and your kids will have fun with this activity, but it also provides a great opportunity for you to broach the topic of oral hygiene and why it’s so important.
5. Dental Office Field Trip
Kids are full of questions, so one of the ways you can engage your kids in a lesson about oral health and hygiene is simply to let them ask their questions! Prepare a list of questions you and your kids have always wanted to know about teeth and go on a quick field trip to the kids’ dentist to involve them in a quick science project. When you get there, you can let your kids ask their questions and record the answers. This will satisfy their curiosity and let them take an active role in the learning experience.
You’ll need to call our Must Love Kids pediatric dentistry office before you do this to make sure our staff has time and is prepared for the visit, but we’d love to see you do this with your kids! Not only does it give them a way to satisfy their curiosity, but it gives them a fun, positive experience at the dental office and helps them feel more comfortable around our staff. As a result, this science project helps them learn about teeth, but it can also provide a valuable, positive experience that could help your kids’ future dental appointments go more smoothly.
A tooth science project is a great family activity that teaches essential concepts by engaging your children’s hands as well as their minds. Your kids will have a blast, and they’ll be able to absorb and understand the lesson behind the experiment more easily. This won’t just help them right now; learning about oral health and hygiene in a positive way when they’re young will help your children build healthy habits that will benefit them for a lifetime.