Stay healthy and happy!

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By Jenni Tavenerearly years teacher and writer

Adapted from article published on 6 April 2010

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 (15 May – 15 June)

Smiling boy © Acik/www.istockphoto.com

Face © Russelltatedotcom/iwww.stockphoto.com A welcome smile

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/iwww.stockphoto.com Healthy teeth

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? Play the song Healthy teeth to the children and encourage them to think about why it is important for us to brush our teeth and visit the dentist regularly. Ask the children to make their own set of teeth using the Make a moving model of a mouth template. Can they list all the things that will keep the teeth healthy?

Ask the children to complete internet research to find out the causes of tooth decay, suggest websites such as http://www.nationalsmilemonth.org/oral-health-tips/ and http://www.nhs.uk/Change4Life

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