Crocodile Dentist Game

by Kathryn

The Crocodile Dentist Game is fast and furious fun as you try to take out all the crocodile's teeth without being the player to lose a finger when his jaws spring shut!

Number of Players: 1 - 4

Ages: 3+

Target: An easy motivator for any drill work. Great for repetitive articulation or grammar homework. Can be used for kids who need basic practise taking turns.

I have had a version of the crocodile dentist game in my kit since I was in Speech Therapy school. It is such a simple and versatile game that it has a multitude of uses when you work with young kids.

The basic idea of the game is to take turns in pushing down the crocodile's teeth until suddenly SNAP – he decides he has had enough dentistry work for one day and his jaws spring shut with the players fingers inside!

The snap comes out of the blue and always takes kids by surprise ensuring plenty of giggles but is gentle enough not to hurt little fingers. I am always sure to play a turn myself where my own fingers get caught when I use this game for the first time just to be sure the kids know what is going to happen and don't get a nasty surprise!

My own crocodile dentist has been around for years and is fairly robust. Reading reports on more recent versions though it seems they are not as well made as they once were. At under $10 I would not expect this toy to stand up to abuse in a classroom but would expect it to do the job for home use if it is well cared for.

The crocodile is the most popular set and has been around for years but I have also seen a model with a shark and a tiger so look out for those if you want something a little different.

The original version of crocodile dentist was made by MB Games and instead of pushing down the teeth, you used tongs to lift out the teeth one by one. This classic game is no longer on general sale but if you have an old one in your games cupboard at home then it would work just as well as the modern version.

Using the Crocodile Dentist in Speech Therapy

Turn taking

The most basic use of this popular game is to support children who are working on developing their turn taking skills. Young children often need an adults help to take turns playing a game and for some older children with developmental delays, waiting their turn can be a hard skill to master.

Crocodile dentist is ideal for work on this skill because of it's simplicity, lack of complicated rules and because each turn is short meaning your impatient players won't need to wait for long.

With those who struggle with taking turns in all aspects of life and not just in exciting game play, you may want to slow it right down and have them take turns with you only. You can add a simple script to the play to reinforce their waiting “my turn” “your turn” or “Sandy's turn” “Bobby's turn”.

Articulation Drill Work

The Crocodile Dentist game is another great motivator for just about any drill work that involves repetition of a task.

The concept is simple, each time they correctly complete one of their drill items (such as saying a word beginning with their target sound, or giving you a sentence with the correct verb tense or pronoun), they get to take a turn with the croc.

You can make up cards with their drill items to make it more like a game or just pull them straight off the worksheet to keep things easy and fast.

None of us like working on repeating something that is hard to do but with this funn little game, speech homework shouldn't be such a chore!

Now you know all there is to know about the game – you are ready to play. Have fun!
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Top Talking Tips...

Sing Nursery Rhymes and Action Songs

Traditional songs and rhymes have hand actions that let your child join in and take a turn, even before they can sing the words.

This helps to work on listening, attention, imitation and turntaking, all important skills for Speech and Language development!