Crocodile Smile

crocodile smileHelp your crocodile keep that winning smile with a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouth wash, and reward stickers! This project was designed by our own Miss Marissa, who, I’m delighted to report, has had some really, really good news of her own to grin about.

We read Clarabella’s Teeth by An Vrombaut (Clarion, 2003). Ruby the Rabbit, Liam the Leopard, Max the Monkey, and Zoë the Zebra can all brush their teeth quite quickly, but Clarabella the Crocodile, with her extra-wide smile, takes forever. In the course of a day, she misses playtime, lunchtime, AND tumble time. When she’s finally done brushing – doh! – it’s bedtime. Her friends put their heads together and give her a gift. An extra large toothbrush so brushing will be a snap. Now, they can all play together!

You’ll need:

  • 1 box (mine was 4 ½” X 4 ½” x 9” – a large tissue box works too)
  • A box cutter
  • Green, red, white, blue, and black construction paper
  • White card stock or poster board
  • 6-8 small pieces of green self-adhesive foam (optional)
  • A strip of tagboard or poster board for a box handle
  • 2 toilet paper tubes
  • 1 foam bead
  • A piece of string or dental floss
  • A jumbo craft stick (mine was 8″ long)
  • 1 white cotton ball
  • 1 small rectangle of stiffened felt
  • A couple reward stickers (optional)
  • Scissors, tape, glue, and stapler for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

We’ll begin with the crocodile! Use a box cutter to slice 3 sides of a large box. The uncut 4th side of the box is the hinge of your crocodile’s mouth.

cut croc boxCover the box with green construction paper. Cut strips of pointy teeth from white card stock and attach the strips to the upper and lower parts of the mouth. We also added some self-adhesive foam nostrils and reptilian bumps, but you could simply draw these on with markers. Finally, cut a pair of eyes from white card stock, tab the bottoms, and attach them to the top of your alligator’s head with tape or glue. We used black dot stickers for pupils, but you could draw them on with markers too.

finished croc boxNext, open the alligator’s mouth and attach a red construction paper tongue. I recommend gluing or taping the tongue to the upper part of the mouth hinge like so:

croc tongueKids have pretty small hands, so Marissa added a handle to the back of the box to make it easier for them to hang onto the box. The handle was a tagboard strip, tabbed on the ends and hot glued (or taped) to the back of the box.

croc handleYour crocodile is done, now for the dental hygiene accoutrements! To make the mouth wash, wrap a toilet paper tube with construction paper. Tape a circle of construction paper to the top as a lid. Draw a label for the mouthwash, then tape (or glue) it to the tube.

mouth washTo make the toothpaste, wrap a toilet paper tube with white paper and hot glue a circle of white card stock on one end. Hot glue a foam bead in the center of the paper circle. Flatten and staple one end of the tube. Draw a label for the toothpaste, then tape (or glue) it to the tube.

toothpaste tube

To make the toothbrush, pull apart a cotton ball, and hot glue about 1/3 of it to one end of a jumbo craft stick. Flatten the cotton ball a bit, then hot glue a rectangle of stiffened felt on top of the cotton ball. Your floss can be real dental floss or white string.

brush floss stickers

You’ll notice some cool BOOM! and BAM! stickers in the above photo. These are “Superhero Stickers” from Oriental Trading Company (the set also includes ZAP!, WHAM!, SMASH! and ZAPOW!). A roll of 100 costs $2.50.

We decided to use these exclamatory stickers as rewards. After the kids had finished their projects, they carefully brushed, flossed, and rinsed their crocodile’s teeth. Then they brought their crocs to the “dentist.” Very carefully, the dentist checked out the teeth. If they looked good (and they all did), I gave them reward stickers! BAM!

The Dentist is In

the dentist is inMost people don’t put the words “dentist” and “fun” in the same sentence, but here at Pop Goes the Page, you’ll find that fun is indeed possible with this neat-o set of dentist tools and peppy patient!

We read Doctor De Soto by William Steig. Doctor De Soto is a mouse dentist who works on creatures both big and small. He draws the line, however, at patients who snack on mice. But when a truly miserable fox shows up at the office begging to be let in, Doctor De Soto and his wife (who also happens to be his assistant) decide to treat him. During the procedure, it becomes quite apparent that the fox intends to eat them when he feels better. So Doctor De Soto and Mrs. De Soto come up with a clever plan to outfox the fox.

For the patient, you’ll need:

  • 1 box for the head (mine was 4” x 4” x 4”)
  • A box cutter
  • 2 rectangles of white card stock for upper and lower teeth (approximately 1.25″ x 4″)
  • 4 rectangles of red poster board for gums (approximately 1″ x 4″)
  • 12 rectangles of white card stock for molars (approximately 1″ x 1.25″)
  • 1 rectangle of red construction paper for tongue (approximately 1.5″ x 4.5″)
  • 1 triangle of white poster board (mine was roughly 5.5″ x 5.5″)
  • Black, red, yellow, brown or red construction paper for hair
  • 2 jumbo pom-poms (mine were 2″)
  • 1 Styrofoam packing peanut
  • 2 black dot stickers
  • 2 squares of white card stock for ears
  • Scissors and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

For the dental tools, you’ll need:

  • 1 box for the dental bag (mine was 2” x 4” x 4″)
  • 1 rectangle of silver poster board for handle (mine was 1.5″ x 6.75″)
  • 1 wooden clothespin
  • 2 small rectangles of silver poster board for the forceps (approximately .75″ x 3.75″)
  • 1 sparkle stem
  • 2 craft sticks (mine were 4.5″ long)
  • 1 Styrofoam packing peanut
  • A selection of colored masking tape
  • 2 small rectangles of mirror board  for silver fillings (approximately 1″ x 1.25″)
  • 2 small rectangles of gold paper for gold fillings (approximately 1″ x 1.25″)
  • 1 small circle of mirror board (mine was 1.25″ in diameter)
  • 1 piece of string for floss (mine was 17″)
  • Some reward stickers
  • Tape and scissors for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

We’ll begin with your patient! Use the box cutter to cut a slit in the front of the box. Carefully inset scissors into the slit and cut three sides of the box. Leave one side intact as the “hinge.”

box stepsPrepare the upper and lower teeth by cutting “tooth bumps” on the card stock rectangles like so:

tooth bumpsThen hot glue the upper and lower teeth inside the mouth.

upper and lower teethThis is also a good time to hot glue the red poster board “gums” inside the mouth. Since you’re basically creating a pocket for the teeth, only glue three sides of the gums. The top of the gums should remain glue free.

gumsTo create the tongue, round one edge of the construction paper rectangle and hot glue (or tape) inside the mouth.

tongueTo make “molars,” round the edge of each white card stock rectangle, and slide them into the upper and lower gum pockets.

molarsThe mouth is done, now for the rest of your patient! Let’s revisit “Mr. Smiley” before we get started…

patientUse construction paper fringes to create hair and tape it to the top of the box. Hot glue two jumbo pom-poms on the top of the box for eyes and a Styrofoam packing peanut on the front for a nose. Stick the black dot stickers to the pom-poms for pupils, use markers to add nostrils to the nose, and shape ears out of white card stock squares and tape them to the sides of the box.

The final touch is your patient’s white poster board “shirt.” We tried a number of different shapes and determined that a triangle with rounded edges looked best:

shirtWell, this image depicts an uneven, lopsided, yet somewhat rounded triangle. But you get the idea. Color the triangle with markers, then hot glue the head to the top. Done!

Now for your delightful dental tools. I actually had to look one of these up. I mean, who knew that the “little hook thingee they scrape your teeth with” is called a sickle probe? Thank you, Wikipedia.

dental toolsBag: Decorate the box with markers. Then tab the ends of the poster board handle and tape it to the underside of the lid.

handleForceps: Hot glue the 2 poster board rectangles to the sides of the wooden clothespin.

forcepsSickle probe: Cut a 3″ segment off the sparkle stem, then curve it into a hook and tape to the end of a craft stick. You can use colored masking tape or scotch tape.

sickle probeToothbrush: Snip a small piece off a Styrofoam packing peanut, then hot glue it to a craft stick. Bonus…when the Styrofoam moves across the card stock teeth, it really does sound like a toothbrush!

toothbrushMirror: Tape a 5.75″ piece of sparkle stem to the mirror board circle. Bend the sparkle stem slightly.

mirrorDental fillings: Round one edge of the silver mirror board and gold paper squares. A quick word about the gold paper squares. I unearthed this from the art cabinet:

gold paperIt’s gold hologram paper mounted on thin cardboard. If you don’t have this stuff, you can improvise with metallic crayon or markers on card stock. Just make sure to use paper that’s thick enough to withstand being played with repeatedly.

The final two pieces of the dental kit are floss (I used string, but real floss would be even cooler) and some much-appreciated reward stickers.

Ready for your check up? Not only can you examine, floss, and brush to your heart’s content, you can also remove cavities! Use black and brown markers to draw a cavity on a molar:

cavityThen insert the molar back into gums. After a quick examination with the mirror and sickle probe, use your forceps to remove the cavity and replace it with a sturdy new filling.

replacing a toothGood job! Reward your patient with a sticker, and send ’em the bill!