Stay healthy and happy!

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By Jenni Tavenerearly years teacher and writer

With both National Smile Month and Walk to School Week taking place in May, it’s never been a better time to encourage children to think about healthy living. Here are some great activities to introduce children to the benefits of walking to school and also keeping their teeth sparkling clean!

National Smile Month 2018 (15 May – 15 June)

Smiling boy © Acik/

Face © Russelltatedotcom/
A welcome smile

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Explain that it is National Smile Month. Talk about the importance of smiling. How do the children feel when their friends, relatives or neighbours give them a smile? What makes them smile? Talk about why a smile can help the giver and receiver to feel happy, comfortable or welcome. Invite children to draw or paint pictures of themselves smiling. Display the smiling faces in your entrance area to welcome visitors, children and parents. Pass a smile at circle time by simply smiling at the person sitting next to you – it’s sure to end in giggles!

Face © Russelltatedotcom/
Healthy teeth

Knowledge and Understanding of the World

Invite children to smile at one another. Can they make a little smile, a big smile and an enormous smile? Can they see each others teeth when they smile? Smile into a mirror. Can they see their own teeth as they smile? Encourage children to think about why it is important for us to brush our teeth and visit the dentist regularly. Set up a role-play area together to represent a dental surgery. Include a waiting room with health themed posters on the wall, a row of chairs and magazines on a low-level table. Include a receptionist’s area with a desk, telephone, notepad, pens, and an appointments diary. Provide some dressing-up clothes such as a white jacket for the dentist, an apron for the assistant and hats and coats for visitors. Model the role of receptionist and dentist and encourage children to bring a toy or teddy to the dentist for a check-up or to book an appointment. Invite a dental nurse into your setting to talk about tooth care with the children and how to clean and take care of teeth correctly.

Face © Russelltatedotcom/
Show a smile

Communication, Language and Literacy

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