A mother and daughter at a doctor's appointment. Using play medical kits at home can help your child become more comfortable with medical tools.

Looking for ways to make Dr’s appointments less scary for kids? For some children, the idea of going to the doctor can be overwhelming. One way to help ease your child’s anxiety about visiting the doctor is by using play medical kits at home. Check out some of the best play medical kits to help prepare your child for their next doctor’s appointment.

Fisher-Price Preschool Pretend Play Medical Kit

This classic kit has lots of positive reviews from parents. It includes 7 toy medical instruments, including stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, thermometer, otoscope, syringe, bandage & fabric ‘doctor’ bag. If you are looking for a low cost option that will be easy to store and low mess, this is a great one.

Melissa & Doug Get Well Doctor’s Kit Play Set

The Melissa and Doug Doctor’s kit is a large set with 25 different items for your child to explore. All of the different tools means there are more ways for your child to play and learn. This is a fun kit if you have multiple children who sometimes have a hard time sharing.

Janod Doctor’s Suitcase Classic Wooden Pretend Medical Play Set

This beautiful wooden medical kit is crafted with safe, non-toxic materials. The set includes 9 sturdy medical tools, and a zippered case to keep everything organized. If you are looking for a simple kit that is aesthetically pleasing, the Janod Doctor’s suitcase is an excellent pick.

Phobby Kids Doctor Kit

This kit made the list because of the realistic play experience it provides. The stethoscope actually works and gives your child the chance to hear their own heartbeat. Several of the tools have working lights to add to the fun. This kit is a great one to use when preparing your child for their next doctor’s appointment.

Melissa & Doug Get Well First Aid Kit Play Set

What makes this first aid set appealing to kids is that it includes fun items like a sling and pretend casts and braces. This kit is a fantastic add on if you already own a basic doctor’s kit but want to introduce some new equipment to the mix.

Deluxe Doctor Kit for Kids

This all inclusive set is for the child who is a true medical enthusiast! It’s got just about everything a kid need to set up a pretend doctor’s office in the playroom. If you’ve got enough space, this medical trolly will delight your kids and spur a lot of imaginative play.

Things To Look For In The Best Play Medical Sets For Kids

If none of the above sets seem like a good fit, here are some things to look for when finding the right kit for your child:

  1. Safety:
    • Non-toxic materials: Ensure that the set is made from safe, non-toxic materials that are free from harmful chemicals.
    • Rounded edges: Look for toys with rounded edges to minimize the risk of injury during play.
    • Age-appropriate: Make sure the set is suitable for your child’s age and development stage to prevent choking hazards.
  2. Durability:
    • Sturdy construction: Choose sets made from durable materials that can withstand rough play without breaking easily.
    • Quality craftsmanship: Check for well-made and securely attached components without and loose parts.
  3. Variety of Instruments:
    • A good set should include a variety of medical instruments like stethoscopes, thermometers, syringes, bandages, and reflex hammers. This allows for more diverse and imaginative play scenarios.
  4. Storage and Organization:
    • Consider sets that come with a carrying case or storage container to keep all the pieces organized and prevent them from getting lost.

Why Use Play Medical Kits?

Most of us have fun memories of playing doctor or nurse when we were young. Using a play medical kit is a great way to introduce your child to the tools and equipment they will encounter during a doctor’s visit. By playing with your child, you can show them how each tool is used and explain what they can expect during their visit. Kids love exploring all the different instruments in the kit. Providing them with hands on experience can help reduce their anxiety and make their next appointment more positive.

A teddy bear and a play medical kit. Play medical kits are a great way to help your child become more comfortable with medical tools.

What’s in a Play Medical Kit?

If you have children at home, you probably already have a pretend medical kit hanging out in a toy bin. If you don’t, you can easily find one online or at a toy store. Some of the items you might find in a basic kit include:

  • Stethoscope
  • Otoscope
  • Ophthalmoscope
  • Tongue depressor
  • Measuring tape
  • Blood pressure cuff (sphygmomanometer)
  • Thermometer

How to Use a Play Medical Kit to Prepare Your Child

Here are some tips on how to use a play medical kit to prepare your child for a doctor’s visit:

  1. Take your time to show the tools to your child: You could do this by letting your child reach into the kit, pull out a tool, and have them guess what it is used for.
  2. Demonstrate each tool: Use a doll or stuffed animal to demonstrate how each tool is used. Name the tool and describe its purpose. It’s helpful to describe what your child will hear, feel, see, and even taste. For example, when demonstrating a stethoscope, you could say, “This is a stethoscope. The doctor will use it to listen to your heart and lungs. It might feel cold on your skin.”
  3. Let your child play: Once you’ve demonstrated each tool, let your child free play with them. This will help them become familiar with the tools and feel more comfortable when the doctor does their assessment.
  4. Role Play: You can also role-play with your child by demonstrating the tools on a stuffed animal or on each other. This will help your child understand what will happen during their visit and make the experience less intimidating. Take turns being the nurse, the doctor, or the patient.
  5. Answer questions: Encourage your child to ask questions about the tools and the visit. Answer their questions honestly and in a way that they can understand.
  6. Be positive: Throughout the process, be positive and encouraging. Praise your child for their bravery and reassure them that the doctor is there to help them stay healthy, or help them feel better.

How to explain basic medical tools to kids

Here are some easy-to-understand ways you can explain the tools to your child. Remember to keep your explanations brief and answer any questions that come up.

Stethoscope:

The stethoscope is an important tool that medical professionals use to listen to a patient’s heart and lungs. When the doctor or nurse uses the stethoscope, they may ask you to lift up your shirt so they can place the piece on your skin. While this may feel cold, it helps the doctor to hear better. It helps if you try and hold still when the doctor listens to your heart. When the doctor listens to your lungs, she will ask you to take a couple of deep breaths.

Otoscope:

The otoscope is a medical instrument used by doctors to check a patient’s ears. It is equipped with a little light that allows the doctor to see what the inside of your ears looks like. The doctor will gently insert the pointy end of the otoscope into your ear. It might tickle a little bit, but shouldn’t cause any pain.

Ophthalmoscope:

An ophthalmoscope is a tool used by doctors to examine a patient’s eyes. When the doctor shines the light into your eyes, it will be very bright. You might find it annoying, but it won’t take long.

Tongue Depressor:

A tongue depressor is a tool used by doctors to look inside a patient’s mouth. It is a flat stick that the doctor places on your tongue to see the back of your throat. The tongue depressor may taste like wood. It helps the doctor to get a clear view of your throat. To make the examination easier, it is important to hold still so that the doctor can get an accurate view.

Measuring Tape:

A measuring tape is a tool used by doctors to measure a patient’s height and head circumference. The doctor will ask you to stand up tall and stay still while they take measurements. The doctor measures patients to make sure they are growing the way they are supposed to.

Sphygmomanometer (Blood Pressure Cuff):

The sphygmomanometer, also known as the blood pressure cuff, is a tool used to measure a patient’s blood pressure. The doctor will place the cuff around your arm, and it will feel tight for a few seconds as it fills up with air. If the doctor uses a machine, you may hear a mechanical sound. It is essential to try and relax as the air is let out. This tool helps the doctor determine how well your heart is functioning and other important information about your overall health.

Thermometer:

There are several different types of thermometers used in medical offices, but the most common ones are the forehead and ear thermometers. The doctor will slide the thermometer across your forehead or place it in your ear, and it might tickle. When the reading is complete, you may hear a beep-beep sound. This tool helps the doctor determine if you have a fever, which can be a sign of illness.

Final Thoughts:

Using a play doctor kit is an excellent way to help prepare your child for a doctor’s visit. By demonstrating each tool, letting your child play, and answering their questions, you can help reduce their anxiety and make the experience more enjoyable. When you have fun exploring the kit with your child, you will create positive associations that will make your next visit to the doctor a breeze.

Looking for more ways to help your child? Check out more of my articles: Waiting room survival with kids and sick kids survival kits.

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