You don't need to buy a toy doctor kit, filled with molded plastic toys that only let your child pretend to play doctor. You can put together your own kit filled with items that really work, so your kids can learn about their bodies too. It can actually be less expensive than some of those toy kits depending on how well you shop around (thrift stores are great places to get some of this stuff).
It is important to note that not all of these items are appropriate for all ages. If you have a toddler or preschooler, watch out for choke-able objects..
You can make your own from scratch or go a wonderful web site
http://www.i-see.org/eyecharts.html to make your own real chart. I've put some of the charts generated at i-see.org on my printables page, just incase their site doesn't work for you.
You can find these on the Internet. Just print them out on white paper, or for something more realistic, print them out on transparencies designed for printers (these are good to have for many different kids projects).
You can buy a real stethoscope for under $10. Instead of having kids pretend to hear their heart or using toy stethoscopes with electronic recordings of heart beats, they can really listen to their heart beat and learn about the properties of sound. Plus, you'll be surprised how much you can use it for things like listening to your own heart beat or searching for pest infestations in your walls.
Blood Pressure Cuff
These start at about $10 and can go up into the hundreds, but just look for something inexpensive unless you are willing to let them play with your own blood pressure monitor (which I encourage if it's not too expensive, and you do have one if somebody in the house has blood pressure or cardio problems ... right?). With this, kids can learn how to take their blood pressure and what the numbers mean. This is something very important for health. Digital monitors may be easier for kids and parents but do cost more.
You can pick these up almost anywhere, even at thrift stores for less than $5, if you're not willing to hand over your scale. Weight is a huge issue in American society since most of us are overweight, and it's important for health. Kids can start learning about how to measure their weight and what it means to their health.
Every parent should have one of these anyhow. Even if you have insurance, it will quickly pay for itself in the reduction of co-payments if you learn how to use it because you will be able to see if your kid has an ear infection or just a stuffy nose. It can also be used to look at throats and noses. You can often find them in places that sell health items for babies, and they can cost anywhere from $15 to the hundreds, but you don't really need anything too fancy just in case the kids decide to throw it across the room (but the cheap one I got is amazingly durable). With an otoscope, kids can learn about their ears, cleaning their ears, and how we hear things.
Ice Pop or Craft Sticks
These can be used as tongue depressors. You can save your sticks from frozen juice bars and fudge bars or get a big box of craft sticks for not too much money (and the kids will love you if you do that, but make sure you wash the sticks first because they're cleaned for oral use). (Each should be used on only one kid and thrown away.)
Absolutely necessary for look in mouths, at tonsils, up noses, etc., and it costs just a few bucks.
Wonderful for sticking on boo-boos. Get the cheap ones because your kids use them on their teddy bears, but you can also use them on real ouches.
These are for wrapping up ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, etc. and even making slings. Your kids will find a hundred uses for them, and you can use them on the kids if they really do get hurt while romping around.
For bigger boo-boos.
Digital Thermometer (for underarm use or oral use if you have sanitary covers that can be thrown away after one use)
These are just a few bucks at the grocery store and can be used to really take temperatures. Kids will learn about fevers and illness.
Syringe Medicine Dispenser
These are usually for giving medicine to babies (and can be used to give medicine to your older kids), but in the hands of a child it becomes the dreaded shot.
You'll definitely need these to clean the area if your going to give somebody a shot (and they can be used to take off eye makeup or make craft projects too).
For taking pretend cultures (and cleaning ears or detailing your car).
For giving pretend eye drops. Kids should be instructed to never let to touch there eyes and never to actually put anything in their eyes.
Small Squirt Bottle with Water
Kids can pretend the water is actually alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, medicine, etc. I don't recommend using your old bottles of the real stuff because it may confuse kids who might try to play with the real thing.
Lots of uses. Don't let them share cups because it spreads germs.
Film canisters or small spice jars
Maybe they have the miracle pills in them. Maybe the miracle ointment. You kids will find all sorts of fun stuff to do with these. I don't recommend using old medicine bottles because it may confuse kids who might try to play with the real thing.
This is one of those things that shouldn't be real. You
can get toy tweezers from a kid's grooming set, a kid's
science set (which works well as the doctor's lab for
Microscope and Slides
For doing that lab work.
There are a variety of microscopes for different age levels.
Get a cheap one that works, or spend a bit more and consider
a microscope that can be hooked up to the computer. They'll
have fun looking at all sorts of things like bugs, plants,
lint, hair, etc.
For those messy operations (and keeping clean while painting or cleaning your house). This is not safe for toddlers!
File Folders and Paper
For the patients' charts.
Adult White Sports Coat or Button Up Shirt
Most doctors don't seem to wear these anymore, but your kid might like to. You can also considering purchasing some small scrubs (which can also be used for a Halloween costume).
Because a doctor needs to be reached wherever she goes.
So the doctor can call the person who paged her back or call patients with test results, and the receptionist can take appointments from phone calls.
Kitchen and Dining Supplies
If your kids have a play kitchen set, they can use these items to bring the sick hospital patient food, or a sick kid at home some chicken soup.
For the waiting room.
About the human (or an animal) body, nutrition, safety, hygiene, etc.
Books About Health
You can use regular medical books from your local thrift store or library sale or books designed especially for kids. You can even pick up some pamphlets from your pediatrician.
Throw some of these in and your kids can be a veterinarian, treating stuffed animals of course; don't let them torture the real cat. Things like brushes, food dishes, leashes, pet carriers, pet care books, etc. are great. Kids can also use these supplies to have a pet store or be a pet groomer.
Now your kid can be a dentist. Things like a dental mirror, toothbrush, dental floss, etc. Make sure you have one item for each kid; label each item with the name of the kid it belongs to. (This isn't something that should be used with kids who aren't related to each other. Sharing family spit isn't so bad because they usually share lots of the same germs anyhow (unless your child is sick'), but you don't want your kids swapping spit with the neighbors or their school buddies.)
If your kid has these, he can have a "new baby ward" in his hospital. This is great for kids who are expecting a new little brother or sister.