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Pretend and Learn Doctor's Office

By Kristen
Page Updated on July 28, 2007

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..

  • Eye Chart

    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.

  • X-Ray Images

    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).

  • Stethoscope

    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.

  • Scale

    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.

  • Otoscope

    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.)

  • Light Pen

    Absolutely necessary for look in mouths, at tonsils, up noses, etc., and it costs just a few bucks.

  • Self-Adhesive Bandages

    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.

  • Ace Bandages

    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.

  • Gauze

    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.

  • Cotton Balls

    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).

  • Cotton Swabs

    For taking pretend cultures (and cleaning ears or detailing your car).

  • Eye Dropper

    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.

  • Paper Cups

    Lots of uses. Don't let them share cups because it spreads germs.


  • Tissues

    For sneezes.

  • 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.

  • Plastic Tweezers

    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 tests).

  • 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.

  • Disposable Gloves

    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).

  • Toy Pager

    Because a doctor needs to be reached wherever she goes.

  • Telephone

    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.

  • Magazines

    For the waiting room.

  • Posters

    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.

  • Pet Supplies

    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.

  • Dental Supplies

    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.)

  • Baby Supplies

    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.

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