Your child has a loose tooth and is getting excited for the day when it will fall out and they'll be able to trade it in for some cash. Although the exact origins of the tooth fairy aren't clear, and no one even knows what the fairy would want with all those baby teeth, leaving a tooth under a pillow is a time-honored tradition. If you're looking to put a fun spin on the tradition, a few tooth fairy games and craft projects will help your child get super excited about the next visit.
1. Name Your Price
As the American Academy of Pediatricians points out, the average child loses their first tooth around age 6. Usually, the first tooth to go is one of the front teeth. Molars, in the back, usually hang around until age 10, 11 or 12.
Although the tooth fairy sometimes has a set price for each tooth, your child might want to try their hand at negotiating. To do that, you can print a chart of the primary teeth and label it with the cost of each tooth. Leave the chart by your child's bed so that the tooth fairy can see it when she comes to collect the teeth.
A front tooth might run $3 or so, while a molar, which is a bigger tooth, lost at an older age, might command $5. If you need some help putting together a tooth chart and pricing scheme for the tooth fairy, the American Dental Association has a handy primary and permanent tooth eruption chart.
2. Tooth Fairy Rating System
Good oral hygiene habits start early and some tooth fairy games encourage your kid to step up their dental care routine. Instead of simply taking the tooth and leaving some money, you can also have the tooth fairy leave a ratings card and receipt. On the card, state the child's name, the tooth lost and the condition of the tooth. If it had signs of cavities or decay, you can rate it as "poor" or "fair" condition. If it was intact and had little staining, you can rate it as "excellent" or "great." How much the tooth fairy pays for a tooth can be based on the rating system, too.
3. Welcome Glitter
How does the tooth fairy know to visit your house after your little one has lost a tooth? You need to unfurl a welcome mat for her, of course! In this case, the welcome mat can be a handful of glitter scattered across the porch or on the window sill in your child's bedroom. The fairy will see the glitter and know that she needs to pay you a visit.
To make the game even more fun, stamp tooth fairy footprints in the glitter, so that there's evidence she tiptoed across the sill or porch to get to the house.
4. DIY Tooth Fairy Pillow
Your child is going to need somewhere to stash the lost tooth for the tooth fairy to find with ease. Instead of putting the tooth in a zip-top plastic baggie, craft a small pillow or decorative envelope to hold the tooth securely. Take a piece of felt, cut it into an 8-inch by 4-inch rectangle, fold it in half and glue the two sides to make a simple tooth holder. The felt pocket will also securely hold the cash reward.
5. Tooth Fairy Instructions
A visit from the tooth fairy is a good time to hammer home the importance of brushing and flossing. Along with leaving some money, the tooth fairy can leave instructions on how to brush and floss, and a tube of toothpaste like Colgate Kids Cavity Protection toothpaste. It's extra gentle on tooth enamel and is sugar-free. The tooth fairy can also leave a reminder for the child's next dentist appointment to help your kid get excited about visiting the dentist.