We are right smack in the middle of winter here in Virginia. We've spent some time at the doctor's office in the past month between the two girls. The doctor's office can be tough. Lots of tempting toys to play with that have previously been played with by sick children that day, probably lots of waiting, and the need for mom to have an uninterrupted chat with the doctors and nurses. So what can you do with your child when you are at the doctor's appointment?
Instead of packing toys that could get lost or are too big to fit in the bag, here's how we keep on learning even when we are out of the house.
I pack a special bag of rarely seen/played with items to help! Here's what is rotated in my tote:
1. A mini doctor's kit- Before the doctor gets in the room (and before the nurse, if we have time) we review what the doctor may do. I go through all the possibilities to hopefully prevent the element of surprise. I may pack a small teddy bear for her to practice. Our doctor is great and examines the teddy bear, too. We listen to the chest, practice taking breaths, look in ears and nose, open the mouth and say "aaaahhh," and even practice what to do in case of a shot. We've been doing this since 18 months old.
2. Mini books- These are for her to look at while the doctor and I talk. We have previously practiced Book Time at home (a time where she reads quietly by herself on the couch) so I just tell her that it's Book Time and we can talk after the doctor is finished. My books are Leveled Readers from my teaching days. I have those set aside for the doctor's office because of their size. Small size means easier to transport.
3. Crayons and Coloring book- Great time to color together. We play "Color Call Out", where we take turns calling out a part of the picture (like Cinderella's slippers) and a color (like green). We rotate calling out the items and the color.
4. Shake and Find jar- I took a few empty disposable water bottles and made them into a fun game for the car or doctor's office. Here's how to make it:
*Wash and dry a plastic bottle, such as a water bottle.
*Add some rice to the bottle, then a small object that you want to hide, another layer of rice and another small object. Continue the layers until you only have 1-2 inches of empty space left at the top of the bottle.
*Use super glue and glue the lid to the bottle. Let it dry.
*Make a list (I have a picture list for my toddler) of items to find. I saved the list to Word so I can print one off when we go off and she can actually mark it off.
*Let them find the objects and check them off as they find them.
5. Play toss the sock- Using one of my books in the bag or a magazine from the room, ball your child's sock up. Let them try to throw it and make it land on the magazine, or even just hit the magazine. (Parenting Magazine August 2008)
6. Pack of sticky notes/stickers- Call out body parts and have them stick the papers or stickers to the correct spot. You can also practice positional words ("Put the sticker on top of ___, under ___," etc).
7. Long piece of yarn and large pasta (with holes)- Have them practice stringing the pasta. They could make a necklace for the nurse, or for themselves. You can bring washable markers to have them decorate the pasta too!
8. Pen-Draw faces on fingers/thumbs and pretend play. "Little Bunny Foo-Foo" and "Where is Thumbkin?" are great choices.
9. Pocket Mirror- Breathe onto a pocket mirror and steam it up. Practice drawing shapes or letters. (Parenting Magazine)
10. Old Magazine and Washable Markers- Let them go through an old magazine and use the corresponding color marker to find things that color in the magazine and check them off. If you don't want to use markers, give them an item to find (pets, drinks, squares) and let them circle/mark them out.
11. Small cookie sheet and dry erase marker-- Draw shapes, letters and have them guess. You can also draw items in the room and see if they can find that item. Another option is to bring a small sandwich bag with magnetic letters which can be used on the cookie sheet.
12. Make ahead bingo- Brainstorm some items they may encounter at the doctor's office and find pictures of those things (I use Google Images). Make a bingo board and see if they can find each of the items. Some choices may be a stethoscope, a nurse, cotton balls, a scale, doctor's chair, or tongue depressor.
13. One thing that is fun and helps teach kids about giving and thinking of others is bringing a special gift to the doctors and nurses. This is helpful if you already know you are going (like well visits) and perhaps especially if you have a child who is a bit nervous about going. It can help ease nerves by giving them something to anticipate...giving a gift that's homemade to the staff! We usually bake brownies or chocolate chip cookies. I also have Charis make a card for the staff.
Hope this helps to make future trips to the doctor a bit more enjoyable for everyone!
This blog is here for you to find fun learning activities to do with your children. We share great ideas we find and love on the Internet, as well as ideas we come up with on our own! We also like to share resources we find helpful.
To find ideas for your child, click on the age range blog label or on the theme/topic you are looking for (on the left side of the page). In each post, we try to list optimal age ranges for the activity, but you must judge for yourself if it is appropriate for your child. When you try an activity out, please comment and let us (and everyone else) know how your child liked it!