Stuffed toy emergency medicine

After an unfortunate incident in a playground where a small child was injured (which involved all of the emergency services including the air ambulance), he says he wants to be an air ambulance paramedic when he grows up.  He's also very keen on emergency vehicles of all sorts, and has recently taken to telling me he is a doctor and can make me better (when I'm not hurt!).  His interest in doctors was probably spurred on by spending several hours at a walk in centre when we were on holiday, waiting for his brother to be seen, then going to get medicine at a late night pharmacy and seeing his brother get better over the next few days (just a case of bacterial tonsillitis).  He seemed particularly keen on role playing a doctor yesterday with his soft toys, so I thought I'd find a few things to expand his play and give us a bit of medicine/human biology to talk about.

I found a very out of date eye pad in our first aid kit, and cut it up such that we had several short pieces of bandage and a dressing.  I didn't fancy a long bandage as there's a risk his brother is the subject of his forays into the medical profession and it gets wrapped around his neck, so the pieces are only long enough to work on small soft toys.  I also located a squeezy icing bottle that I never use as a makeshift syringe, a stout medicine spoon and an old pencil case to put his 'doctor's kit' in.

He's also shown quite an interest in the episode of Maddie's Do You Know about x-rays, and I thought he might quite like to play with a pretend x-ray.  I cut a couple of bones out of white cardboard, stuck them on some dark slightly transparent paper (tissue paper would work), and laminated them.  One set was intact, and one had a break.  I had a lower leg in mind when I was making them quickly, but they could just as easily be the lower arm.

This all worked really nicely, he played with them for about an hour, which is a long time for him! He excitedly chattered to himself as he administered first aid to his stuffed toys, and we discussed how he was putting dressings on tightly to stop bleeding and needed to keep the wounds clean to help them heal.  He was also pretending to x-ray arms and legs in 'hospital', applying bandages in place of a plaster cast to those deemed broken.  Part way through, we added a couple of wooden sticks from his construction set to 'splint' suspected broken limbs whilst the stuffed toys were taken to hospital for their x-rays to make sure their bones stayed in place. He told me all about the x-rays, so clearly he'd been listening carefully to Maddie!  I mentioned that x-rays are even further beyond the rainbow than ultraviolet light so you can't see them with your eyes, but that the special film used changes colour when the x-ray light hits it.  

'Doggie' with his dressing, splint and x-rays

He gave 'medicine' to stop the soft toys hurting, and he told me that the bigger soft toys needed more than the small ones - it was interesting that he had some intuitive understanding that this is the case.  He wanted to give injections to make the stuffed toys better; we talked about how you sometimes have vaccinations to stop you getting ill in the first place, although I didn't attempt to explain how the immune system works!

After a lot of pretend x-rays, he wanted to know what the leg bones were called.  I have no idea what the leg bones of a stuffed toy panda, koala or dog look like (pretty sure that they don't make them with bones in...), but I told him that his were called the tibia and fibula and he thought the words were hilarious and kept repeating them!  We had a look at his book about the body, which he's quite keen on, and found the bones in question on the skeleton.  With a little prompting, he noticed that there was a pair of bones in the lower arm and leg, but a single bone in the upper arm and thigh. He also showed me the skull and the ribs, so our previous conversations about the skeleton have clearly stuck!

He eventually declared that his soft toys were all feeling well, and we moved on to other things.  His brother avoided all medical intervention, for which I'm sure he is grateful!