The medical world is an important, very realistic part of our lives. Kids will benefit with role playing at home for future doctor or hospital visits or when family or friends or classmates or teachers or strangers are dealing with surgeries or medical issues or as you talk about nutrition, sneezing in elbows, and washing hands…
or when Daddy tears his ACL filling in an indoor soccer co-ed church league and becomes attached to a torture device…
or when new baby sisters come home on sleep apnea machines with a lot of wires and beeps.
or when one of your kids need breathing treatments during a crummy case of pneumonia or croup.
I felt a nudge to upgrade the plastic doctor kit to a dedicated, larger plastic tub for all things medical. The mask from above we sanitized and added in our medical collection.
By the way, giving her baby the breathing treatment before hers was VERY helpful. So was watching Dora during it and getting to unwrap a little toy from the $1 bin after it. Do they make breathing treatments for parents who are having panic attacks when their kids need breathing treatments?
I highly recommend a white lab coat and stethoscope that really works. I paid $10 for the stethoscope above and we can hear the thub-dub of each others hearts just fine for home learning. It comes in handy to have a stethoscope when you talk about grandfathers having open heart surgery, but way more fun to talk about hearts at Valentine’s Day.
Scrubs make a great gift from the grandparents and toy laptops you already have double as fancy hospital equipment. Check those post-Halloween sales too.
This X-Ray set is fun for role playing and learning about our skeleton…a fun topic around Halloween when the kids will no doubt see a few skeletons hanging around town.
I am a huge fan of the power of pictures. Take pictures of your kids with the doctor and nurse. Take pictures when someone in your family is on crutches or does something really embarrassing to need stitches. Keep them in your medical themed tub. As you look at the pictures, talk about what angels, I mean nurses and doctors do to make sure we’re healthy or help us when we’re sick.
You could make a more elaborate medical scrapbook, use a photo album, even include words or put just some pictures in zip lock baggies and staple. Add to it over time as life happens. Build knowledge when they naturally come across it in playtime. “Hey, look, remember when they measured your blood pressure? It was like giving your arm a hug! Will you take my blood pressure?”
Pratice SAYING AHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Fun to do after eating popsicles or suckers. I was surprised this part of the doctor visit stressed out each of my kids when they were little.
Other Stuff for your Medical Play Kits (depending the choke hazard status of your kids): Real band-aids, ace bandages, gauze, clipboards, pens, file folders, ice pack, plastic medicine dispensers, paper gowns or substitute an art smock or make one from an old shirt, a shower cap for a head cover, a little tube of lotion to be applied as medicine, a little flashlight…
Print out this play prescription a few times and staple across the top to make a prescription pad. Great for practicing writing name, address, and phone! Or just scribble on it like doctors do;)
I put 4 on a page to save some trees. Have your kids do the cutting out if they can. You could always laminate and use with a dry erase marker to really hug those trees. Click here for the printable: PlayPresPad
Books: Invest in some books about doctors, being sick, germs, nutrition, etc. There’s more books available than I can write a prescription for. Keep this topic in your mind on your library visits, and it’s not a bad idea to preview. Some books I’ve come across are about being scared of the doctor, which may be a good fit for your kids, but I didn’t want to put that idea in their minds before they did all by themselves. And, a note about elementary kids, they still like to play! Throw in some more advanced books and start learning more about our body systems.
Waiting Tip: When the kids were 1-4ish, my favorite thing to pack for waiting in the actual exam room (Phase 2 of waiting) were stickers and crayons to decorate the paper cover on the exam table. All our doctors have been fine with it and enjoyed our pictures and writing.
Love your Pediatrician’s Office: I have shopped around for pediatricians in 4 states, and I realize insurance can dictate your choices. Find out your choices, then ask the locals. Look for someone super-uber pumped when they talk. Take some tours. You should LOVE it. Know that pediatrician’s offices can have aquariums, themed rooms, TVs, designated sick/well areas, nurses who I want to hug, office staffs that are warm, genuine, eager to answer questions, and guide you kindly through insurance hullabaloo.
Bonus points when the pediatrician’s office has an informative website and a Facebook page! I love our rockstar pediatrician’s office’s updates, relevant articles, parenting tips, and funny posts, plus their great hours, low wait times, and an all day walk-in approach for sick visits. I don’t think I thank them nearly enough.
And, it’s worthing noting, all this doctor-nurse stuff easily translates to the VET world when you add in stuffed animals, pets, or sweet neighbors’ dogs when your dogsitting;)
Do you have any favorite books or playroom medical suggestions or doctor visit tips? Please comment below!