6 Ways to Make a Visit from the Tooth Fairy Magical (Even When She is Strapped For Cash)

We’ve all been there. Your little one is super excited because they lost their first tooth and tonight the Tooth Fairy comes! As excited as you would like to be, instead you have a lump in your throat. You know something that your precious child doesn’t: The Tooth Fairy isn’t exactly flush with cash right now.

Back in the day, say 40 years ago, this wasn’t such a big deal–a kid would flash a bright, gappy grin for about a quarter. But now, some kids awake to find as much as five to ten dollars under their pillow! According to Delta Dental, who has been tracking Tooth Fairy payouts across the nation for about 20 years, the national average is dropping but still ranges from $2.97 to $4.19 depending on where you live. (The Tooth Fairy would not comment on this disparity, but we suspect it may have something to do with cost of living.)

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Whatever the reason may be for the Tooth Fairy’s empty pockets, there’s no reason to wake up to a disappointed kiddo. We’ve got some great ways to be sure the Tooth Fairy has a little something to slip under their pillow.

  1. First off, since we work for the Tooth Fairy, we can tell you that oral hygiene is of utmost importance to her. Not to say the tooth has to be perfect, but rather, this is an excellent opportunity to teach your child about the importance of keeping their teeth healthy (but you’ve been doing that since their first tooth appeared, right?) Let them know that the Tooth Fairy expects them to brush two times each day and floss between teeth every day too. This would also be a great time to give your child a new toothbrush! (They should be replaced every three months or after your child gets sick anyway.)

  2. If your little angel just lost their first tooth, this is your chance to skip the money altogether! The Tooth Fairy can give a practical gift: a small container to hold future teeth so she can find them under their pillow easily. This DIY project just needs a little imagination and creativity. Look around for any small container: mint tins, small pill bottles, a tiny velvet jewelry box, even a used up tube of lip balm! You could also use (or make) a small fabric pouch. Get crafty with paint, fabric, little plastic gems or stickers, but make it look special. Include a small note from the Tooth Fairy inside the container explaining what it’s for. Scroll to the bottom of this post for ideas or explore Pinterest for inspiration.

    Then, with each lost tooth your child can leave a note to the Tooth Fairy in the container, and she can leave them a note, or a small gift, coins–whatever fits inside the container. If your child enjoys jokes, she could leave a tooth-related joke each time. Here are a few to get you started.

    If you're good with the sewing machine (or fabric glue,) another option is to make a special Tooth Fairy pillow with a small pocket to put the tooth in. Here’s a how-to video.

  3. Are you handy with paper? Write a special teeny tiny note from the Tooth Fairy. Use nice paper, unique folds, colored ink, stickers or–dare we say it–glitter to make the note extra special. If you’re not handy with paper check out this free downloadable template that can be used to swap notes with the Tooth Fairy.

  4. If you have some time to prepare (those teeth can be wiggly for quite a while) save up a secret stash of small, inexpensive toys, sticker sheets, school supplies, and Dollar Store trinkets. While not free, these inexpensive gifts can be more special than cash because they’re from the Tooth Fairy. It’s all about the presentation! With a little glitter and Barbie doll shoes, you can make these small gifts even more fun! Sprinkle the glitter near a window sill or by your child’s nightstand. Then use the doll shoes (or the tip of your finger) to make “footprints” in the trail of glitter!

  5. Download free activity sheets from America’s ToothFairy, print them and slip them with a note under your child’s pillow.

  6. As a last resort, the Tooth Fairy could bring sugar-free gum or a lollipop–some even come with Xylitol, an ingredient that helps protect teeth! Tie it with a pretty ribbon or switch out the wrapper with pretty foil paper to make it seem extra special. If you don’t have any sugar-free options, this is another opportunity to teach your child about proper oral health. When the Tooth Fairy includes a note to let them know they should always brush after sugary treats, they’re much more likely to listen!

This lollipop was decorated with a foil candy wrapper, gold string, beads from a toy jewelry kit, and an old greeting card cut to make the tag. Cost: 7 cents (for the lollipop in a bag of 44, which cost $3.19).

A visit from the Tooth Fairy doesn’t need to be an expensive one. It can be a creative way to teach kids about how to take care of their smiles, encourage good oral hygiene habits, and have fun with your child while they’re still young enough to believe in someone magical!

(These ideas were inspired by a little boy who asked why the Tooth Fairy hates him, because she never came to his house. Read more about that here.)

Want more great ways to teach your child about staying healthy? Sign up for ToothFairy Tips, our free quarterly newsletter for parents and caregivers.

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Your child can receive their own special container from the Tooth Fairy (or they can help make it, if you prefer) for little or no money. You'll only need a bit of creativity. For these examples everything was made from materials we had on hand. We didn't spend a penny.

First, find a small container. This will be used to leave the tooth for the Tooth Fairy, either under the pillow, on a nightstand or by the bedroom door (if your child doesn't like the idea of the Tooth Fairy coming into their room.) You could even attach a ribbon to hang it from the doorknob, which is a nice visual reminder for the Tooth Fairy to remember to visit. Just be sure not to use anything that will break easily, like glass. Plastic, paper and metal work best. Here is what we found:

From left to right: a small gift box, a mint tin, lip balm tube, prescription bottle, spice container, gum container, small lucite box (this one was from an ipod nano,) velvet-lined gift box, clear plastic box.

Next, find supplies to decorate your container. Remember all that stuff you saved because you just knew you'd use it someday? Here's your chance! We raided our gift wrap supplies, some old gift cards that we've saved, crafting supplies, sewing supplies, and even our stash of nail polishes to decorate our examples below. Remember, this is a gift that the Tooth Fairy made herself, so it's okay if it looks homemade! Here is what we created in just a few hours:

This mint tin was transformed with only white spray paint, a silver ribbon, holographic paper that was cut from a used gift bag, and a puffy sticker left over from a school project. Using your child's initial or monogram is a fun way to make the box personal.

The only thing needed to make this simple lucite box into something special was glitter nail polish (painted on the inside of the box,) a strip of blue ribbon, beads from a bracelet making kit, a star cut from a greeting card, cotton balls and some silver ribbon cut into small pieces to make confetti. If you don't have glitter or glittery nail polish on hand, you can make the same effect by lining the inside with pretty paper (used gift bags, wrapping paper and tin foil work well too.)

Who knew a prescription bottle could be made into something so cute?! (We did.) First, we used spray paint to disguise the bottle (any paint that can be used on plastic will work.) We especially like how the copper paint made the bottle look like a metal container, very masculine! To the white bottle we applied silver and copper glitter, a metallic ribbon and three butterfly appliqués that were attached to a greeting card. To the teal bottle cap we attached a strip of silver ribbon and a sparkly bead. We wrapped the copper bottle with kitchen twine and a strip of paper from a greeting card, then glued on buttons and shell-shaped beads (real shells would work too!)

This black gift box is fun because it includes a velvet insert that can be popped out. Underneath is a paper slot where a "secret" note to/from the Tooth Fairy could be inserted! We glued two blue satin ribbons to the top, then added a monogram with beads and stuck on insects cut from a greeting card. Old children's books would also be a great place to find cute illustrations to cut out and apply. Or raid your child's stash of stickers.

We saved the best idea for last! This tube of Chapstick was transformed into a cute vessel to hold notes to and from the Tooth Fairy with a little ingenuity! First, we popped off the bottom, removed the stick that winds the lip balm up the tube, and snapped the bottom back in place. (Make sure to wipe out any left-over lip balm was well.) Then we simply wrote "Notes from the Tooth Fairy" on a piece of paper and attached it to the tube. We added glitter and tiny gems we found on a duck keychain ring (that had been thrown in the trash!) Finally, we added a decorative button to the cap. Insert a tiny, rolled note from the Tooth Fairy to explain what the tube is for and you're good to go!

What fun ideas can you come up with? Each Tooth Fairy container is unique and special and will be cherished for a very long time! Make one for child and be sure to share it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag America's ToothFairy!

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