Chasing Cheerios

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Doctor's Office in a Box

O asked for 3 things for Christmas...a fire fighter's outfit, a baby doll, and a doctor's kit. I decided early on that I didn't want to get her a toy doctor's kit that she would grow out of quickly. I wanted her to have real medical supplies and tools. That way she could learn how to really use the materials, and she wouldn't grow out of it as quickly (her almost 6 year old cousin and 9 year old friend both really enjoyed playing with this kit). I gathered supplies for her doctor's kit for months. I bought bandages, hot/cold packs, finger splints, bandaids, knee braces etc from the Dollar Tree and Walmart. I found lots of items in our house... an old wrist brace, rubber gloves, medicine droppers, etc. I printed x-ray pictures and an eye chart from the internet and laminated them. I also printed O and E's 3d ultrasound pictures and laminated them (I gave her an ice-cream scoop to use as an ultrasound wand).

I ordered real, but inexpensive medical tools from otoscope, a blood pressure cuff, and a reflex hammer. I was very surprised by how inexpensive these things were. When O is a little older we can teach her how to really obtain someone's blood pressure, and we've all enjoyed looking in each other's ears with the otoscope :) Once I finished gathering the materials for her doctor's office, I realized that she needed a lab coat. I planned to buy a boy's dress up shirt from walmart or Target to turn into a lab coat, but I couldn't find one for under 10 dollars. I finally found the perfect shirt at the thrift store for 98 cents, and I was so excited. I cut the cuffs off both sleeves and the tail off the shirt. My mom turned them under and sewed them. Then I embroidered "Dr.____" on the pocket (I planned to share a picture, but I couldn't get a good picture without showing our last name). It was SO easy to turn the shirt into a lab coat, and it looks great.
This gift was a HUGE hit with O. She plays with it everyday, and I think she'll be playing with it for years and years!


  1. Maybe you could put a piece of tape over your name on the Dr coat so you can post a pic for all of us to see?

  2. Wow... this is a great toy to have! It's educational and fun.

  3. I would have loved this as a kid! My dad is a paramedic/firefighter so I always had awesome first aid kits when it came to girl scouts and whatnot, and I loved playing with is stethoscopes!

    Maybe pin a piece of fabric over the last name?

  4. Great idea! Thanks for sharing! When your daughter learn how to read, you could make cards/labels with name of her dr. supplies, so she can match it with real object. Or something like that - like in Montessori activities.

    PS Maybe you can take a picture of O's "dr. coat" and then erase her name in the Photoshop?

  5. I agree with Anonymous - masking tape the name and snap away!! We've got to see the coat!

  6. This is a really wonderful idea. I remember when you mentioned the doctor's kit earlier, and I was hoping you'd show us. This is inspiring me to do other kinds of kits. I love the idea of using real instead of play items. A lot of my children's kitchen items are cheap, small stainless steel real kitchen accessories from the dollar store. After I drink my coffee, I'm thinking I'll think of some more kits :).

  7. Thanks for the great idea! I've been thinking about something like this for my son but the play ones are so fake. I'm going to work on collecting!

  8. Great idea! My 2-5 year old son is currently wearing Daddy's stethoscope around the house to "listen"! Guess we need to make a doctor's kit!

  9. I would love to know where you found the otoscope or what brand you got. A great, educational gift!

  10. How inspiring!!! Will definitely do thisproject in a couple of months, as there are tons of things on my To-Do- project list!

  11. I'll try to get a picture of the lab coat soon!

  12. Love this I am going to do something like this for my daughters birthday in march.

  13. Such a fantastic gift. I love this idea!

  14. Love this idea of my little boy's birthday. Thank you thank you! I will start collecting~

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  16. Hi Melissa -- this is a great example of how home-made toys and activities can be so much better than store bought. Thanks for sharing your idea -- I would love to see a pic of the lab coat as well.

    I'd like to post a link to this post on my blog with your permission. On Wednesdays I often post a "Mid-Week Mom Tip," but this would also fit in with another upcoming post on holiday gifts.

    Thank you!

  17. The lab coat will be a good addition. I love those cute cards for the eyesight testing, what are they called?

  18. Love, love this concept. Thank you for sharing!

  19. I made a doctor kit to use in Sunday School when we talk about Jesus healing people. The kids absolutely LOVE this, so I'm always on the lookout for more items to put in it, and my granddaughter loves to use it when she visits. Then she can use her doll beds for a hospital ward. Thanks for your ideas. I love the X-ray film idea. In addition to some of yours, I have:
    strips of old sheeting for wrap bandages;
    old walkman headphones for a stethoscope;
    stapled small sheets of paper for prescription pads, with small pencils;
    a small tube of travel toothpaste for medicinal cream;
    latex gloves;
    paper face masks;
    you could make a dolly eye patch;
    small travel bottles of hand gel (use carefully);
    baby dolls that are mostly 'skin'-for bandaids, and so the bandaids come off easily;
    doll blankets and small pillows;
    baby feeding spoons;
    baby medicine spoons and medicine cups;
    clean white T shirts for Dr. coats;
    an old digital thermometer;
    Q-tips in a baggie;
    cotton balls and cotton pads;
    safe hand-held magnifying glasses;
    a sponge cut into small ones;
    small washcloths and towels;
    small pocket flashlights;
    and 3 boxes of cheap bandaids -these are the number one item used! Don't use cheap ones on fuzzy stuffed animals, they might not come off.

  20. Awesome idea, my 6 year old is always into learning new things. Mommy may just have to get her a Medical Box. I'm going to school to become a medical assistant, I'd love to get her involved.

  21. This is so much better than a toy doctor's kit! I featured your post and photo in my Community Helpers Activity Trays and Sensory Tubs post at