The Tooth Fairy is a worldwide phenomenon with ties dating back to the earliest written records of Norse and Northern European traditions.
Other countries have followed suit, and today there are many incarnations of a tooth-taking figure. In many cultures, it is a rat or mouse. In Argentina, children place their tooth in a glass of water for Ratoncito Perez. He drinks the water, takes the tooth, and puts a prize in the empty cup. In France, there’s a little mouse called la petit souris, and in Italy his name is Topolino.
Today’s American version of the Tooth Fairy can be traced to about 1927 when a book popularized what we would consider the modern Tooth Fairy. The legend stayed in the shadows for a while until the popularity of Walt Disney’s fairy characters shined light on the character and quickly became a presence in most households.
While in America we tuck the tooth under our child’s pillow in exchange for money, other traditions range from throwing the tooth onto the roof to burying it in a mousehole. Some parents might look for an alternative to doling out cash for a lost tooth, or maybe you’re looking for a fun spin on the traditional fairy tale.
Here are five fun ways to make the Tooth Fairy a magical addition to your house:
- A receipt left with the money or gift - This is a fun addition to leaving a dollar under your child’s pillow. Plus, it can be framed or kept in your child’s baby book as a keepsake. Include the type of tooth (cupid, molar, pre-molar) and include your child’s name, the date, and how much money was left in exchange for the tooth. Don’t forget a handwritten encouraging note. Many free templates can be found online if you search for “printable tooth fairy receipts.”
- Make “Fairy Money” – Get glittery with it and make some sparkly cash. Spray the dollar bill with hairspray or spray adhesive (available at craft stores) and sprinkle some superfine glitter over the money. Shake off the excess and let dry. Viola! Fairy money that will make any child a believer.
- A tooth fairy dish or fairy door – If your child is a light sleeper or the thought of a fairy coming into their room while their asleep makes them anxious, try using a fairy dish or a fairy door. A small, antique candy dish found in an antique shop o thrift store will do nicely, or you can include your child and make one yourself from bakeable polymer clay or air-dry clay. If you prefer to make a fairy door, there are many tutorials online. Not feeling crafty? Websites like Etsy have many crafters with beautiful handmade options.
- A keepsake book – It can be fun to commemorate your child’s Tooth Fairy journey in a scrapbook or keepsake book. Whether it’s a simple notebook or a decked-out scrapbook, you and your child can decorate it yourselves using stickers, fancy paper, photos of your child and their lost tooth, and handwritten notes from your child to the Tooth Fairy. Talk with your child about the experience of losing a tooth and leave it out for the Tooth Fairy to enjoy, too. Maybe the Tooth Fairy will leave a note for your child!
- Use gold dollar coins or foreign money as keepsakes – You can get a gold dollar from most banks, although you may need to get a whole roll of 25. Many banks may also have some foreign currency on hand. A gold coin or foreign money can add some mystery and allure to the Tooth Fairy’s transaction.
Regardless of your Tooth Fairy traditions, the loss of a baby tooth is the perfect time to explain or re-explain why baby teeth come out and how proper home care and brushing with your child can help keep their permanent teeth healthy and cavity free!