Containers of yogurt and fruit

With the new school year ramping up, you may already find yourself stuck in a rut when it comes to your child’s lunch. Changing things up not only introduces your son or daughter to a wider range of textures and flavors. Packing different options can also provide more essential nutrients for both physical and oral health. Here your dentist in Overland Park  provides some top suggestions for promoting a healthy smile. 

At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, Dr. Matt is committed to your child’s complete wellness. Whether you need more tips for healthy school year routines, or your child requires more advanced dental treatment, we are ready to provide outstanding care for you and your family.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Celery Sticks and Carrots

Carrots and celery help to clean teeth while you’re eating them! Both help to stimulate the production of saliva, which washes away food and bacteria from the mouth. Plus, carrots contain Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and calcium.

Cheese Sticks

Studies strongly suggest that cheese helps to reduce the risk of tooth decay. This may be because, like celery and carrots, cheese stimulates saliva production. Plus, the casein and whey protein in cheese may help to prevent tooth demineralization

Whole Grain Bread and Crackers 

Next time you pull out the stand-by ham and cheese, be sure to make the sandwich on whole grain bread. Of course, whole grains give your child more sustained energy for the school day. But fiber intake is also important for oral health. According to one study published in the Journal of Nutrition, the risk of gum disease is higher for those who consume low amounts of whole grains.

Nuts

We know that peanuts may not be an option for school lunches, due to the risk of allergies. But other types of nuts can be just as beneficial for oral health. Brazil nuts, cashews, and almonds all help to combat oral bacteria. Walnuts also contain tooth-healthy fiber, iron, thiamine, magnesium, and many other nutrients.

Apples

Apples are beneficial for many of the same reasons that carrots and celery help dental health. It’s true that apples contain lots of natural sugars. But whole apples also have a high amount of fiber to increase saliva and reduce bacteria.

Furthermore, unlike other fruits, apples are low in acidity. Highly acidic fruits, like citrus, can have a corrosive effect on tooth enamel. 

Water

Water is one of the most important things you can pack in your child’s lunch – and encourage them to drink all day long! Fruit punches and drinks in pouches are usually high in sugar and low in nutrients. Even 100% fruit juice, while more nutritious, contains high amounts of sugar. If your child drinks juice at lunch, those sugars are just sitting on their teeth for the rest of the school day. 

Instead, water helps to keep his or her mouth clean until they can get home and brush their teeth. Plus, it doesn’t set your student up for a sugar crash in the midafternoon.

Schedule an Appointment with Your Dentist in Overland Park

Learn more about oral health and how you can protect your child’s precious smile. 

Contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids online or call 913-685-9990 to make an appointment.

Child's finger on a globe

Losing a tooth can be so exciting! What could be more thrilling than waiting for a little fairy to sneak into your bedroom while you are asleep? Children around the world celebrate this milestone – but the tooth fairy doesn’t visit every country. Instead, a diverse range of traditions exist surrounding the loss of a baby tooth. Here, your children’s dentist in Overland Park, KS, takes a look at some of these fun international rituals. 

If your child has begun losing his or her baby teeth, be sure to check in with Dr. Matt. It is important to verify that the permanent teeth are coming in correctly and that your little one is not at risk for dental decay. At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, we offer complete pediatric dental services for children of ages.

Contact our office today to book an appointment.

The Tooth Fairy

The tooth fairy is a busy lady. In addition to visiting children in the US, she also collects teeth in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Denmark.

And not only does she have to gather all those teeth – she also needs to keep up with economic trends! In a 2018 poll, the average tooth was worth $3.70, up from $1.30 in 1998. 

The Tooth Mouse?

It seems that tiny creatures have a penchant for lost teeth. In Spanish-speaking countries, including Spain, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Argentina, and Chile, a little mouse collects baby teeth. He goes by different names depending on the country, including El Raton de Los Dientes, Raton Perez, and Ratoncito Perez. 

In most of these countries, the tiny rodents sneak under kids’ pillows to gather teeth. But in Argentina, children leave their teeth in a glass of water. Ratoncito Perez drains the glass and leaves money in the bottom. 

Raton Perez is so popular that there is even a museum dedicated to him in Madrid.

Tossing Those Teeth Around

In many Asian and Middle Eastern countries, children throw their bottom teeth up onto the roof. Lost top teeth get tossed on the floor or under the bed. The hope is that the new incoming teeth will grow towards the old baby teeth.

Some countries are very particular about the way in which teeth are thrown. Children in Indonesia toss their teeth over their shoulders. They’d better have good aim! Tradition states that if they throw straight, the new tooth will come in correctly. But if their aim is off, the new tooth will be crooked.  

In other countries, as children toss their teeth onto the roof, they ask a particular animal to bring them a new one. For instance, children in Sri Lanka hope a squirrel will help them out. In India and Korea, they ask a bird for a new tooth. And in Botswana, they wish upon the moon!

Other Fun Traditions

While certain rituals are widespread, other countries have tooth-related traditions all their own. In Pakistan, children toss their teeth in the river. In Kyrgyzstan, they stuff the teeth in bread to be eaten by a mouse. And in Turkey, they bury teeth in a place that represents a parent’s hopes for the child’s future.

Contact Your Children’s Dentist in Overland Park

We know that your hopes for your child include a lifelong healthy smile. Make sure your little one receives outstanding dental care from a young age!

Contact Dr. Matt and his team online or call us at (913) 685-9990.

As a parent, you may wonder, “Is dental care really that important for children? Aren’t kids more resilient to cavities than adults?” The truth is that kids are just as susceptible to dental decay as their parents! Moreover, when they don’t receive proper dental care from an early age, they are likely to suffer from a lifetime of dental problems. That is why we proudly offer pediatric dentistry services specifically tailored for children.

At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, Dr. Matt and his team perform a full array of pediatric dental care. Though our focus is on preventive services, we are also ready to tackle any problems that may arise. 

To book one of these 4 dental services – or any other care you require – contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids today.

Dental Cleanings and Exams

Of course, brushing and flossing at home are the first  step in preventing tooth decay, but regular trips to the dentist are also vital. Unfortunately, only about half of all US children visit the dentist once a year. Children ages 2 to 5 are even less likely to visit the dentist than older kids. Only 35.1% of this younger group typically visit the dentist once per year. 

The American Dental Association recommends that children visit the dentist no later than their first birthday. We encourage parents to bring their children in no later than 6 months after their first teeth appear. To make early care even easier, we offer free exams and cleanings to children under 2!

Digital X-Rays

X-rays can help Dr. Matt detect hidden cavities. They can also reveal potential orthodontic problems. For instance, they can show whether your child has enough room for his or her incoming adult teeth. 

Like many parents, you may be nervous about exposing your child to x-rays. Following guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, we only take x-rays after age 4 (unless otherwise required). Furthermore, we use digital imaging, which further reduces the already negligible radiation exposure.

Fluoride Treatments

Fluoride is a key component of oral health. This mineral helps to strengthen dental enamel,  providing a barrier to keep bacteria from affecting the soft pulp inside teeth. It can also help to remineralize and repair damaged teeth. 

Although most community water is enhanced with fluoride, bottled water contains no more than 0.17 mg of fluoride per serving. Most foods have negligible amounts of the mineral. To supplement your child’s fluoride intake, Dr. Matt can provide a fluoride rinse or varnish. This topical treatment has no side effects, but it can dramatically reduce your child’s risk of cavities for years to come.

Emergency Care

Of course, we work hard to protect your child’s teeth through routine preventive care. Nonetheless, we know that emergencies can arise. Whether your child suffers decay, sustains an athletic injury, or breaks a tooth biting down on something they shouldn’t, Dr. Matt is on call 24/7 for urgent dental needs.

Schedule An Appointment for Your Child Today

We know your child’s smile lights up your life. Give it the care and protection it deserves with outstanding pediatric dental care. 

Book an appointment online or give us a call at (913) 685-9990. 

Little boy and mom reading

Going to the dentist for the first time can be scary for small children. Even those who have been to the office before may not remember, or they may be alarmed by the unusual sights and sounds. When you are preparing for a trip to the dentist in Overland Park, reading stories can be a great way to prepare. 

Picture books give little ones a visual guide to what they will experience. And when they see brave storybook heroes visiting the dentist, it can give little ones a boost of courage. Of course, Dr. Matt has a great chairside manner and will also help to set your child at ease.

In honor of today’s National Book Lover’s Day, here are 8 great children’s books to help prepare your kids for a dental visit. Ready to visit? Contact Smile’s Dentistry for Kids to make an appointment. 

1. Going to the Dentist: A Toddler PrepTM Book

Going to the Dentist explains exactly what a toddler can expect when visiting the dentist. It includes helpful photographs, which can better help prepare children. 

Keep in mind that, even though this book is geared for toddlers, children should visit the dentist no later than their first  birthday

2. Just Going to the Dentist by Mercer Mayer

Part of the beloved Little Critter series, Just Going to the Dentist features familiar characters and illustrations. When the Little Critter finds a cavity, it shows kids that they can handle “scary” dental problems.

3. (NOT) Scary Stuff at the Dentist’s Office by Tana S. Holmes

(NOT) Scary Stuff is meant to be read aloud with frequent shouts of “NOT scary!” This fun, interactive book truly helps put kids at ease. 

4. Brush, Brush, Brush! by Alicia Padron

A rhyming board book geared towards kids aged 1-3, Brush, Brush, Brush! introduces the youngest children to the importance of good oral hygiene.

5. The Tooth Book by Mark Bacera

Even many parents don’t know the order in which teeth fall out. The Tooth Book introduces this topic, the five types of teeth, and other scientific information in a fun and engaging way. 

6. Quinn Amelia Goes to the Dentist by Nicole Rodriguez-Wilson

When four-year old Amelia goes to the dentist for the first time, she even has x-rays taken. Encourage kids to face new experiences bravely with this courageous young heroine.

7. Tooth by Leslie Patricelli

A unique offering, Tooth is a board book about teething. While this can be a great offering for the youngest readers, it can also be helpful for older siblings as they struggle to understand why Baby is crying during this new transition. 

8. Tooth Fairy Wishes by Andre Calbert 

When a little girl loses her first tooth, she learns all about what the tooth fairy most desires – healthy dental habits! In a fun rhyming story, kids discover the effects of flossing, brushing, and a nutritious diet. Plus, the book includes illustrations of a dentist, the tooth fairy, a castle, and even a unicorn! 

Contact a Compassionate Dentist in Overland Park

After all that reading, your child is definitely prepared to visit the dentist! Make the experience even easier by visiting a dentist who cares specifically for kids

Make an appointment with Dr. Matt online or call the office at (913) 685-9990.

little girl playing in the sun and getting vitamin D to support dental health

Has your little one played outside today? Whether you have a little miss (or mister) sunshine, you might be surprised that catching a few extra rays of sunshine can improve your child’s health. Spending a little time with Mother Nature comes with many benefits, including access to much-needed vitamin D. Continue reading to learn how the “sunshine vitamin” benefits your child’s teeth and gums.

What exactly is vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. Something that makes this vitamin unique is that it’s a nutrient that your body can naturally make when the skin is exposed to sunlight, or it can be obtained via consumption.

What role does vitamin D play in bodily functions?

Vitamin D receptors are sprinkled throughout the body. This suggests that vitamin D has a more significant role in overall health than we know. Some stand-out highlights of vitamin D are that it:

  • Aids calcium absorption, which is an essential component for strengthening teeth and bones
  • Supports muscle movement
  • Aids the immune system

How does vitamin D support dental health?

Although you might not need another excuse to go outside today, it’s pretty amazing that the human body turns sunlight into a vitamin that is crucial for tooth, gum, and bone growth and development. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to these two prevalent yet serious chronic oral health issues:

  • Cavities: Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease. As previously mentioned, vitamin D is essential for strengthening teeth. So, if your child’s vitamin D levels are unregulated, this can cause their teeth to become more susceptible to tooth decay and dental fractures. In a recent study, researchers concluded that vitamin D levels are significantly associated with the occurrence of tooth decay.
  • Gum Disease: Low vitamin D levels are linked to an increased risk of gum disease.

What are some sources of vitamin D?

If your child’s pediatrician diagnoses your little one with a vitamin D deficiency, here are three ways that your child can obtain more vitamin D:

  1. Spend an adequate time outside: The amount of sunshine each person needs varies and largely depends on the time of day and year, your child’s skin tone, and how much skin is exposed. Also, it’s vital to be mindful that sunscreen can protect your child’s skin from harmful rays that burn and potentially cause skin cancer, but it does prohibit vitamin D production.

2. Consume a diet high in vitamin D: Many dairy products and cereals are fortified with vitamin D. But some natural sources of vitamin D include fatty fish (like salmon) and fish oil.

3. Supplement vitamin D: If your child is still vitamin D deficient (even with time outside and a diet high in vitamin D), we encourage you to ask your child’s pediatrician about a sufficient dosage for vitamin D supplements.

Here’s Another Way to Improve Your Child’s Dental Health

Between sunlight, vitamin-D-rich food, and supplements, your child should be able to obtain the vitamin D that they need for a strong and healthy smile. Aside from consuming enough vitamin D, another way to take of your child’s dental health is to schedule consistent children’s dentistry appointments.

Are you searching for a kids dentist in Overland Park, KS? If so, Dr. Matt and his team are ready to serve your family. Call (913) 685-9990 or message us online for more information.

young child laying down and suffering from jaw pain

Just when you think you’re finished with spring allergies, summer allergies come along. Typically, summer allergy season commences in June and ends in September, but you might notice children’s allergy symptoms peaking in June and July. Aside from watery eyes, sneezing, and nasal congestion, you might notice that your child wakes up with a sore jaw.

Can seasonal allergies cause jaw pain, or could it be something else? Read on to find out!

How Our Sinuses, Teeth, and Jaws Interact

The sinus cavity is a hollow system found in the skull and facial bones that connect to the nose. Healthy sinuses are air-filled voids protected by a thin layer of mucus.

When seasonal allergies attack, the sinuses inflame and swell. Because they take up an extensive amount of facial real estate, a swollen sinus cavity often causes pain and pressure in the face.

Namely, the maxillary sinuses are balanced above the upper back teeth (near the ears and temporomandibular joints). If your child has a sinus infection from cold or allergies, their back teeth might hurt. Potentially, this pain can spread to the ears and jaws.

Common Causes of Jaw Pain

Aside from sinus pressure and allergies, here are a few other common reasons why children suffer from jaw pain:

Mouth Breathing

Generally, congestion worsens in a lying-down position. When your child’s nose is congested, they are compelled to breathe through their mouth while they sleep. Holding the mouth open for long stretches can put a strain on the temporomandibular joints and facial muscles, which can lead to jaw pain and fatigue.

Overusing Facial Muscles

If your child’s allergies force them to incessantly cough and sneeze, their facial muscles and joints might overtax. This can lead to facial tension and a sore jaw.

Bruxism

Bruxism (excessive, chronic teeth grinding) is an infamous culprit behind tooth and jaw pain. If your child has allergies, they might be predisposed to nocturnal bruxism (chronic teeth grinding during sleep). In a study conducted at the University Miami School of Medicine, researchers concluded that nocturnal bruxism is significantly more prevalent in children with allergies than in their non-allergic peers. Theoretically, this might be because the Eustachian tubes in the ears swell in response to allergies. Consequently, excessive, chronic teeth grinding is a response to the change in pressure in the middle ear.

Cavity

Tooth decay starts at the outermost layer of the tooth (the enamel). A dentist can swiftly resolve a cavity with a dental filling or crown if handled early.

Although sinus pressure is generally felt in several upper back teeth, a deep-rooted cavity can cause jaw pain. Generally, cavity-related pain is progressive. It starts in the infected tooth but can spread to the jaw, neck, and ear (generally, on the same side as the affected tooth). At this point, an extraction might be necessary.

What is causing your child’s jaw pain? Dr. Matt can help you figure out the mystery.

Seasonal allergies and TMJ disorders share several symptoms, like facial pain, headaches, and ear aches. Generally, here’s how to differentiate the two common health issues:

  • Allergy discomfort characteristically kicks in seasonally. Once the allergen, congestion, and sinus inflammation go away, so does the jaw pain.
  • Typically, TMJ Issues are prolonged and accompanied by stiffness, popping, or clicking noises when opening the mouth.

If your child is still experiencing jaw pain after their allergies have resolved, it’s wise to reach out to your local pediatric dentist. Are you concerned about your child’s jaw pain? If so, contact Dr. Matt at Smiles Dentistry for Kids in Overland Park, KS. Call (913) 685-9990 or message us online today.

young boy sitting on a bridge smiling with his baby teeth showing

Granted, virtually nothing matches the cuteness of a newborn’s toothless smile. Just wait until their first few teeth debut. Typically, a baby’s first tooth emerges between 6 months and a year. By age 3, most children have a complete smile consisting of 20 baby teeth.

But what can you do if your baby’s teeth are coming in crooked or gapped? Should you visit an orthodontist right away? Before you start daydreaming about your little one in braces, continue reading to learn what Dr. Matt has to say about misaligned baby teeth:

What causes crooked or gapped teeth?

People are rarely born with perfect teeth. There is a wide range of reasons why your child might have misalignment, such as:

Genetics

Children inherit their physical traits from both of their parents. So, it’s not uncommon for kids to have a set of jaws and teeth that don’t match up. For instance, a child may be born with a wide jaw from one parent and tiny teeth from another (or the other way around).

Oral Habits

Even in the womb, babies suck on their thumbs and fingers as a healthy way to self-soothe. However, prolonged oral sucking habits and extended pacifier use exert unnecessary pressure on the palate and upper front teeth. Consequently, the upper arch might narrow, or the front teeth might protrude, leading to several bite issues, including open bite and crossbite.

Myofunctional Disorders

Does your child sleep with their mouth open? Myofunctional (muscle function) disorders, like mouth breathing and tongue thrust, can inhibit facial development. Although muscle-based, myofunctional disorders can damage dental development and lead to malocclusion (bad bite) or crooked teeth.

Losing Baby Teeth Too Early

While shedding baby teeth is a natural part of growing up, premature loss of baby teeth can lead to negative consequences. Whether your child has lost a tooth from injury or decay, the neighboring teeth tend to shift into the space where the missing tooth once was.

Not only can this cause crooked teeth, but it can also obstruct the path needed for an adult tooth to come in straight (or at all). Thus, presenting the issue of misaligned permanent teeth as well.

Abnormal Amount of Teeth

Albeit rare, sometimes extra or inadequate teeth cause crowding, spacing issues, and general misalignment.

Does it matter if your child’s baby teeth are crooked or gapped?

Generally, it doesn’t matter if your child’s teeth don’t come in perfectly. Plus, crooked or gapped baby teeth don’t automatically translate as a misaligned adult smile.

Throughout childhood, your kid will go through changes—and the most significant changes in their jaw and mouth happen between the ages of 3 and 6. These natural changes will alter the position of their baby teeth, and your little one’s crowding might disappear as your child’s jaw widens.

Surprisingly, gaps between baby teeth can be positive. Permanent teeth are more sizeable and need more space to erupt properly. So, gaps help give permanent teeth extra space, so they don’t remain trapped beneath the gums.

Nevertheless, if you’re worried about your child’s baby teeth, you should schedule a dental visit with Dr. Matt at Smiles Dentistry for Kids. Call (913) 685-9990 or message us online to schedule a children’s dentistry appointment in Overland Park, KS.

young boy smiling and celebrating Oral Health Month

Although school is out for summer, your child’s first teacher works year-round: you! This month, Dr. Matt and his dental team celebrate Oral Health Month, and you’re invited! We’ve devised this kid-friendly, true-false trivia game about oral health so that you and your family can play and learn together.

1. True or False: Smiling can trick your brain into being happier.

True! If you’re having a tough day, turn that frown upside down. The simple act of smiling provokes a powerful chemical reaction in the brain that can make you feel more content (even if you are pretending).

2. True or False: All teeth are created equally.

False! Humans have four distinct types of teeth, and each type performs a specific function that helps us eat:

  • Incisors are the teeth at the front of the mouth. We use these sharp teeth to chop our food into smaller pieces.
  • Canines are the teeth at the intersections of the dental arch. These pointed, sharp teeth help us hold and rip our food.
  • Premolars have flat biting surfaces, which help us break down the food we eat.
  • Molars are at the very back of the mouth and have the greatest surface area. Our molars help us mash and crush what we eat into digestible fragments.

3. True or False: Your teeth are as rare as your fingerprint.

True! You might be surprised to discover that fingerprints and teeth have something in common: they are entirely exclusive to us. Not a single human has the same set, including identical twins. 

4. True or False: We only see 2/3 of our teeth.

False! Like icebergs, most of your dental structure isn’t visible. When we smile, we only see a third of our teeth. The majority is hidden beneath the gums, so it’s essential to keep your gums healthy with daily flossing and brushing.

5. True or False: Dental enamel is the strongest substance in the body.

True! Curiously, the surface of your teeth is harder than your muscles, bones, and fingernails. Enamel is chiefly composed of calcium and phosphate. Additionally, it has specific proteins that strengthen it. Similar to an eggshell, enamel forms on the outer layer of your teeth that protects your smile from decay and damage.

6. True or False: Teeth can heal themselves.

False! Under normal circumstances, your teeth are your only body part that cannot repair themselves. Because teeth are composed of different types of cells, their ability to repair is limited. This serves as a faithful reminder to protect your oral health at all costs!

7. True or False: Regular dental visits are vital for oral health.

True! The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children visit their pediatric dentist every six months for a check-up to prevent dental decay and other oral health problems.

As parents and pediatric specialists, we understand that getting kids interested in oral health can be challenging. Yet we also know that kids must understand how to take care of their oral health. When children understand how their bodies work, they can gain confidence in taking great care of their smiles.

Continue the fun this Oral Health Month by scheduling a children’s dental health visit at Smiles Dentistry for Kids in Overland Park, KS. Message us online or call (913) 685-9990.

Little girl experiencing early baby tooth loss with a fallen baby tooth in his hand

Baby teeth are vital for your child’s oral development and act as placeholders for adult teeth. As baby teeth fall out, they create a space in the jaw for future permanent teeth. However, young children can sometimes experience early baby tooth loss. When are baby teeth supposed to fall out? What do I do if my child loses their tooth too early? Continue reading to find the answers to these frequently asked questions and more.

When do baby teeth typically fall out?

When is an appropriate time for your child to meet the tooth fairy? According to the American Dental Association (ADA), children typically lose their first teeth around 6 or 7 years old. Generally speaking, the first teeth that children lose are their first teeth that erupt: the central incisors. Children lose their primary teeth throughout childhood, and by 21, all 32 adult teeth should erupt. 

Why is my child experiencing early baby tooth loss?

If your child is experiencing tooth loss too early, the most common reasons are (1) dental decay and (2) traumatic facial injuries. Thankfully, the most common causes of early baby tooth loss are largely preventable. Parents are encouraged to supervise their child’s oral hygiene habits and take additional precautions to prevent early baby tooth loss, which includes:

  • A consistent brushing and flossing regiment
  • Scheduling dental check-ups at least every six months
  • Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water
  • Consuming well-balanced meals and healthy foods
  • Ensuring that their child wears mouthguards if he or she plays sports

What are some risks associated with losing baby teeth too soon?

When baby teeth fall out prematurely, they may not have the necessary space for adult teeth to form. Without adequate space, the teeth become crowded and may feel uncomfortable. Furthermore, crooked teeth require future orthodontic intervention. Misaligned teeth are harder to clean and are associated with an increased risk of developing tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease, and TMJ disorder.

Speak with Dr. Matt About Early Baby Tooth Loss and More

There’s a common myth that since baby teeth fall out, they don’t require the same level of attention. In reality, your child’s teeth are essential for his or her development. Healthy baby teeth help children eat, talk, and lay the foundation for healthy permanent teeth. Without intervention, your child may suffer from severe consequences if they lose their baby teeth too soon. It’s much easier to handle premature tooth loss early on than wait to deal with crowding and other oral health problems.

If your child is experiencing early baby tooth loss, speak with a pediatric dentist immediately. At Smiles for Life Dentistry, Dr. Matt prescribes spacers and space maintainers to help young patients prepare for the arrival of their incoming adult tooth. Schedule an early baby tooth loss evaluation in Overland Park, KS, by calling (913) 685-9990 or requesting an appointment online as soon as possible.

four children celebrating Christmas activities in Overland Park, KS

As the weather begins to cool down, our mindsets naturally shift to the holiday season. Winter break is just around the corner for many students. If you don’t want your kids cooped up in the house for too long, here are five activities that can make Winter Break more exciting and enjoyable for your kids.

1. Luminary Walk at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

This Holiday season, see the Arboretum in a different light. When the sun goes down, candles and colorful Christmas lights brighten the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens during their annual “Luminary Walk.” 

Stroll along lit pathways filled with Gnome and Fairy Villages, peaceful candlelit woods, and the kaleidoscopic Children’s garden. Listen to musical performances in four different locations or unwind in the serene, quiet woods. The Luminary Walk offers a range of experiences for a variety of tastes. Speaking of tastes, enjoy a complimentary hot cider in the Children’s Discovery Garden. Snap photos with Santa or watch the trains run. It sounds like an evening of family fun!

If you haven’t had an opportunity to visit the Arboretum this holiday season, it’s not too late. This is Luminary Walk’s last weekend, and there are still available for December 16th, 17th, and 18th. Purchase tickets for this weekend by following this link, which are:

  • $15 per person
  • Children 5 years and younger get in free

2. Holiday Lights on Farmstead Lane

Even though the farmstead is closed until April 1, 2022, the holidays have arrived at Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead. From the comfort of your car, watch a free synchronized light show with music from your favorite holiday movies and other classics. Here’s how: 

  • Pack hot cocoa, treats, and blankets.
  • Drive to 13800 Switzer from 5 PM to 1 PM.
  • Turn off your vehicle lights and tune the radio to 90.5 Rose FM.
  • Sit back, relax, and enjoy the sensational show.

3. Family Tree Nursery

Whether it’s time for your family to trim the tree or if you’re picking up gifts for others, Family Tree Nursery offers a wide range of botanicals in our area, including a wide range of evergreens, poinsettias, and even ugly Christmas Sweaters for your plants. At the end of every year, this third-generation, family-run nursery’s garden centers are transformed into enchanting winter wonderlands with forests of decorated trees, lights, decorations, and more. Visit this local nursery on 8424 Farley Street before the holiday magic is gone until next year.

4. American Youth Ballet Presents “The Nutcracker”

The classic holiday tradition returns this weekend. Watch Tchaikovsky’s iconic story come alive in a collaboration of graceful dancers from the American Youth Ballet and dynamic music performed by the Overland Overland Park Orchestra. Performing art enthusiasts, don’t miss out on the fun at Yardley Hall on December 18th and 19th. Individual tickets start at $18.

5. Schedule a Children’s Dental Check-up

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children visit their pediatric dentist every six months to prevent cavities and other dental health issues. At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, Dr. Matt and his team strive to make the experience more enjoyable with a child-centric atmosphere and engaging chairside manner. With most schools not in session for the holidays, it’s the perfect time of year to schedule your child’s next dental appointment. 

If your child hasn’t visited the dentist in over half a year or if he or she could use a quick freshening up before visiting family, request your child’s next dental appointment by calling (913) 685-9990 or filling out our online form at your earliest convenience.

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