A boy in Mexico leaves his tooth in a box on his bedside table. He hopes that the magic mouse, El Ratón, will take his tooth and leave some money.
A girl in South Africa leaves her tooth in a slipper in her room. A mouse comes at night, takes the tooth, and leaves a gift.
A boy in Vietnam throws his upper tooth under his bed and his lower tooth on the roof.
There are hundreds of interesting tooth traditions around the world. Let’s take a look at some of them through books and learning activities.
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Tooth Traditions Around the World
Throw Your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth Traditions From Around the World by Selby B. Beeler is a fun picture book for exploring many of the ways kids celebrate losing a tooth.
The first page asks, “What in the world do you do with your tooth?” Provide time for children to share what they do when their baby teeth fall out.
Explain that you’ll be reading about what kids around the world do with their teeth, and encourage them to look for similarities and differences among the traditions.
Show the map in the front of the book. Identify the continents, regions, and countries that will be featured.
Be sure to keep a wall map or globe handy as you travel through the story. Have students locate each country, and mark it with a pin or a sticker.
During & After Reading
Compare the places children put their teeth (glass, cotton, roof, etc.), the people, animals, or objects that take the teeth (fairy, rat, sun, etc.), and the things children receive in place of their teeth (money, gifts, nothing, etc.).
Look for connections between the part of the world children live in and the tradition they follow.
Ask students to identify some of the traditions that are most like their own.
Conduct a quick poll to see which tradition was their most/least favorite.
Students practice skills such as recalling facts, explaining ideas, using information in new situations, drawing connections, justifying a position, and producing original work.
Each task card comes with a printable activity sheet.
More Tooth Tradition Books
The Tooth Fairy has some competition.
Meet El Ratón Pérez, the charming and adventurous mouse who collects children’s teeth in Spain and Latin America. When both the Tooth Fairy and El Ratón Pérez arrive to claim Miguelito’s tooth, sparks fly under the Mexican-American boy’s pillow. Who will rightfully claim his tooth?
The Tooth Mouse (the tooth fairy in French-speaking countries) is retiring and needs to name a successor.
A difficult and dangerous three-part contest determines which of all the mouse applicants is the most brave, honest, and wise. Will Sophie, the smallest and daintiest of the aspirants, manage to beat the odds and win the challenging competition for her dream job?
So tell us, what do YOU do with your tooth?