Sloan Museum's free dental fair engages children with interactive activities, Sesame Street's Elmo
FLINT, MI – The sound of pumping blood, aspirating lungs and processing stomach acids filled Sloan Museum in Flint on Saturday, Feb. 23, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The sounds were anything but subtle as they poured through speakers in the museum for everyone to hear as part of the exhibit “Sesame Street Presents: The Body” and Dental Health Month celebration conducted by Genesee District Dental Society. The event was free for families with kids ages four and up.
The museum featured interactive, 3-D exhibits detailing the workings of the heart, lungs and digestion. At one station, children could pull a handle and watch food being chewed by a large set of teeth, observe it being processed by stomach acids — which consisted of little green balls churned by a mixer — and even hear the sounds of flatulence and toilets flushing as food goes through the digestion process.
“I think they like the disgusting things the most,” Sarah Bechtel said, alluding to a giant nose producing mucus sounds behind her and the animated digestion process. “They like all the interactive things and being able to actually physically do them.”
Her 7-year-old son, David Bechtel, said painting with the toothbrush on the dry-erase boards was his favorite part.
Other children at the museum agreed with Sarah Bechtel’s notion.
“I think it was the digestive part that I liked the most…you can make it poop,” said Gabriel Keepes.
Keepes also thought seeing the function of the heart was “cool.”
“You had to pump it really quick, it tires you out,” he said.
Kids could also get their picture taken with Sesame Street’s Elmo, use a toothbrush to eliminate plaque in the form of marker from a dry-erase board and engage in various other dental related and interactive activities.
The event was capped with a skit performed by seniors at Mott Community College in the dental hygiene program, tooth fairies and “Timmy the Tooth” to teach kids about proper oral health.
“It’s something visual that they can see what happens to a tooth if you don’t take care of it,” said Kimberly Ball, who performed in the skit. “This is a lot better than talking about it without a visual; kids only know what they’re either taught or what they see.”
Dr. Jay Werschky, executive director of Genesee District Dental Society, said there were six dentists and a pediatrician on site at the museum performing free dental screenings to look for decay or developmental problems. Werschky said it was the first time the event was held in Michigan.
“We thought it would be a great thing for the community, and there’s a lot of dental need,” Werschky said. “We’ve got a really good dental team here to take care of the kids and adults in the community.” Werschky said he had seen 150 people by 2 p.m. and felt the total would reach 400 by the end of the day.
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