Clarabella’s Teeth, by An Vrombaut

Clarabella Crocodile and her friends all take good care of their teeth. The problem is that Clarabella has so many teeth!


  • Several small purse size mirrors
  • Camera
  • Masking Tape
  • Paper plates


  • Scooter (a thing you ride on while pushing with your foot to make it go)
  • Hygiene (all the ways we keep our bodies clean)
  • Cavities (holes, cracks, or openings that get in our teeth)
  • Dentists (the doctor who helps keep your teeth clean and healthy)

Before Reading the Story

Ask the children if they know what the word hygiene means. If they do not, explain that hygiene means all the ways that we keep our bodies clean. Let the children share with you some of the things that they do or do not to keep their bodies clean and healthy. ( I take a bath at night, My Mom tells me to put socks on when I wear my gym shoes, Daddy brushes my hair after my bath). After they have shared, tell them that you want to think especially about ways that we keep our teeth clean. Again, let the children discuss the topic. (I brush my teeth, I use my red toothbrush and go up and down).

Physical Health & Development/Health Status & Practices; shows growing independence in hygiene, nutrition, and personal care when eating, dressing, washing hands, brushing teeth, and toileting.

Reading the Story

When you get to the page where everyone is getting ready for bed and Clarabella sighs a long sigh, stop and ask the children if they might know what Ruby’s idea is.

Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & Problem Solving; develops increasing ability to find more than one solution to a question, task, or problem. AND Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; demonstrates progress inabilities to retell and dictate stories from books and experiences; to act out stories in dramatic play; and to predict what will happen next in a story.

After Reading the Story

Explain to the children that we brush our teeth to keep the plaque germs away that can make our teeth sick and get holes, these holes are called cavities. Brushing teeth is very important to keeping our teeth strong and white. Show the children how to properly brush their teeth. If you brush teeth at school, take time to watch as each child brushes today to make sure they are following the proper steps.

Physical Health & Development/Health Status & Practices; shows growing independence in hygiene, nutrition, and personal care when eating, dressing, washing hands, brushing teeth, and toileting.


Give a child a small mirror and ask them to try to count how many teeth they have in their mouth. While they are looking, help them become aware of the various shapes of teeth in their mouths. Talk about how the thick molar teeth are for chewing and the pointy incisors are for ripping and tearing food.

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; develops increasing ability to observe and discuss common properties, differences, and comparisons among objects and materials. AND Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to make use of one-to-one correspondence in counting objects and matching groups of objects.

Take a close-up picture of each child’s smile and make it into a guessing game book, Who’s Smiling Here?

Social & Emotional Development/Self-Concept; begins to develop and express awareness of self in terms of specific abilities, characteristics, and preferences.

Music and Movement

Do the Toothbrush Chant.

Brush your teeth everyday
Up and down it is the right way
Back and forth and sideways too
We know exactly what to do.

Language Development/Listening & Understanding; shows progress in understanding and following simple and multi-step directions.

Do the Smile Talk and Chew Rap

Smile talk and chew
Smile talk and chew
These are the things that I can do
With my mouth, with my mouth
Smile talk and chew.

Creative Arts/Music; participates with increasing interest and enjoyment in a variety of music activities, including listening, singing, finger plays, games, and performances.


Put a mirror into the center and ask the children to count the number of teeth that they see in their mouth. Ask them to represent their teeth with blocks. Encourage them to line the blocks up in a row use one block to represent each tooth and to perhaps also make a pattern of tall-short-tall-short.

Mathematics/Number & Operations; demonstrates increasing interest and awareness of numbers and counting as a means of solving problems and determining quantity.


Give each child a piece of newsprint cut out into a simple crocodile shape. Have the children crumple the paper into a ball and then un-crumple. Make slightly watery brown paint and let the children paint the crocodile shape. When it has dried, add small white triangle shaped teeth. The crumpling of the paper makes the paint take on sort of a crocodile skin texture.

Creative Arts/Art; gains ability in using different art media and materials in a variety of ways for creative expression sands representation.

Make several crocodile heads on cardboard or thicker paper and let the children use play dough to make teeth by rolling the dough into small balls and placing it in the crocodile’s mouth. As they work, ask them how many teeth they have or show me four teeth, three teeth.

Mathematics/Number & Operations; demonstrates increasing interest and awareness of numbers and counting as a means of solving problems and determining quantity.

Library and Writing

Play ABC River Crossing. On the floor mark off a large “river” area with 2 pieces of masking tape. On the paper plates write letters of the alphabet. Use only a few if your children are just learning about letters and more if they have had some practice identifying letters. Have the children stand on one side of the river and hold up a letter card and name the letter and the letter sound. The child must jump to the corresponding paper plate/rock. Once the child is across, another child tries to get across the river.

Literacy/Alphabet Knowledge; shows progress in associating the names of letters with their shapes and sounds. And; identifies at least 10 letters of the alphabet, especially those in their own name.

Sand and Water

Fill the table with damp sand today and dig holes. Remind the children that cavities are holes in our teeth caused by germs called plaque. Tell the children that they are going to be the dentist. Pretend the sand is a tooth and let’s dig a cavity.  Then use sand toys or Popsicle sticks to fill the cavity/hole back in.

Creative Arts/Dramatic Play; shows growing creativity and imagination in using materials and in assuming different roles in dramatic play situations.

Dramatic Play

As the children play in the kitchen area today, ask them to identify which foods are crunchy and which are soft to chew.

Mathematics/Geometry & Spatial Sense; shows growth in matching, sorting, putting in a series, and regrouping objects according to one or two attributes.

Math and Manipulatives

Make a graph that represents toothbrush colors. Let the children mark the color toothbrush that they have (at school or at home).

Literacy/Print Awareness & Concepts; develops growing understanding of different functions of forms of print such as signs, letters, newspapers, lists, messages, and menus. AND Mathematics/Numbers & Operations[ begins to use language to compare numbers of objects with terms such as more, less, greater than, fewer, and equal to.

Outdoor Play

In the story Clarabella’s friends rolled over, leaped, bounced up and down, and spin round and round. Can you do these things on the playground? What other cool movements can you do?

Physical Health & Development/Gross Motor Skills; shows increasing levels of proficiency, control, and balance in walking, climbing, running, jumping, hopping, skipping, marching, and galloping.


Explain to the children that teeth are very important to help them to be able to say words correctly. Ask the children to try to wrap their lips around their teeth and then tell you their name, first and last. (My children find this funny to try to say their names with no teeth.) Science/Scientific Methods & Skills; begins to participate in simple investigations to test observations, discuss and draw conclusions, and form generalizations.

Dear Parent, Today we read a story about brushing teeth. Spend a moment tonight and brush your teeth along with your child and guide them through proper tooth brushing. Also take a moment to check their toothbrush for wear and tear; it might be time for a new replacement. Happy brushing!

Accompanying book;  A Day in the Life of a Dentist by Heather Adamson