After School Learning: Doctors and Health Care


Theme: Doctors
Books Read: Tommy visits the doctor by Jean Hortense Seligmann, How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? by Jane Yolen
Outing: Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum
Food Activity: Making patients out of gelatin
Art Activity: Giving gelatin patients popsicle vaccinations
Math Activity: Doc McStuffins Math
iPad App: The Human Body by Tinybop
Netflix Support: Daniel Tiger Goes to the Doctor (Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Season 1 Episode 1), Digestion (Bill Nye the Science Guy, Season 1 Episode 3), A Visit to the Pediatrician (Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, Volume 1 Episode 14)

The key to our weekly learning theme is that we’re really only doing 1-2 things per day that are related and the rest of our work is just the normal reading and worksheets and random activities. So, I had a lot of freedom to fit a little bit of doctor stuff in without feeling like I needed to recreate the set of E.R. in our playroom (although I sort of did…more on that later).

I wanted to focus more on the idea of doctors as helpers than on the science of the human body, so to kick things off we took a visit with a friend to the Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum. They have a fantastic exhibit on the terrace that lets kids walk through the different stages of treatment for someone in an emergency.


First, they get the call that there’s been a snowboarding accident…


…and then they wheel the patient off of the helicopter, reassuring him that he’ll be ok.


Inside the hospital, there are tools, scrubs, and large displays showing the kids what responsibilities each of the hospital workers have.


First the patient goes to radiology…


…and it turns out the patient has a broken arm and a head injury…


…so they go right into surgery.


The girls were sort of hogging the operating room, but it was ok because Calvin kept himself busy bringing them new snowboarding accidents.

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It was the perfect way to start off our theme week because it gave us lots to talk about. It also got Eva excited about being hands on with our homeschool activities. So, for the next lesson I had Eva help me make little patients out of gelatin. I didn’t take photos of that part because making clear jello gingerbread men is a little boring, but I will recommend that you use an entire box, a little less hot water than it recommends, and you line a baking pan with aluminum foil to make it easier to get the patients out the gingerbread men cookie cutters.

Why make gelatin patients?

Popsicle vaccinations.


We started off this lesson by reading a book about a kid who gets a checkup that includes getting a shot. Eva is not a big fan of shots, but we talked about how it’s important to get the medicine and then it gives you an inside superpower that keeps you healthy. (What? You try explaining vaccinations to a four year old.)

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To demonstrate this concept and also do something silly and fun, we gave the gelatin patients injections of melted popsicles. Since I have family members in healthcare, I was able to get a sterile area and some needle-less syringes for Eva to use, but it wouldn’t be hard to do the same activity with things you can pick up in the pharmacy section of the grocery store.

I also let Eva wear her scrubs because, you know…cute.

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I don’t know how much scientific method she really absorbed, but aren’t the colors so pretty? And it smelled like fruit and sugar!


She did get a little overexcited and accidentally detached some limbs, so then the Doc McStuffins tools and the band-aids came out.


The gelatin healing center was the most creative thing I put together, but Eva also had a great time playing with The Human Body app. If you haven’t seen it, it’s the coolest thing. The adults may or may not have swiped it to have fun with dental care and the large intestine.


Finally, we did a little Doc McStuffins math and rounded things out with doctor-related Netflix episodes during lunch time. I used to feel bad about sticking the kids with the iPad while they eat, but you know…whatevs.


Anyway, that wrapped up doctor week! The next week did not pan out so well, for reasons that I’ll get into in some other more chaotic blog post but overall I’m loving the theme idea


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