Following Tristan’s first optometry appointment we brought out our own optician’s office that we made some time back. It’s a lot of fun so we thought we’d share it with you today.
This pretend play idea came to be after my last optometrist’s appointment 2 years ago. I was having lots of headaches and things were seeming blurry and I was wearing my glasses more often without improvement and I was convinced I needed a stronger prescription. While Phil and Kallista parked the car, Tristan and I wandered around the optician’s waiting room.
I HATE trying on frames and I don’t think anything looks good on me, but it was more fun with Tristan along. He always turns a distasteful experience into something positive; it’s one of his special talents.I thought it would be nice for Tristan to try on a couple of pairs of glasses as well so that he could get the full experience, and then he would know what to expect after he had his appointment in the future, just in case he needed his own pair of specs.
Tristan looks like his much older cousin (my nephew) when he was the same age and was wearing glasses. Sharing this experience with Tristan, I did find a pair of frames that weren’t horrible on me, and the waiting time passed very quickly. It was such a joyous day for me when I found out that my eyesight had actually improved and I no longer needed to wear glasses any longer! I could hardly believe it!
When we returned home we thought it would be fun to set up our own optician’s office, using Tristan’s pipe cleaner Clark Kent glasses as a starting point. Phil helped Tristan make a few more pairs of glasses in different designs and styles while I thought up a way to display them. We came up with a fun recycled display case, and you can make your own, too!
How to make an optician’s office display case
I used an empty cereal box for the main structure of this case. If we were to do this again, I would recommend using a wider-sided cereal box, but we make ours work with a little wiggling.
I carefully opened out the box and then Tristan painted the plain inside of it a lovely sparkly green colour.
Next we needed a ‘nose’ to hold the glasses up. The pointy inside divider of an egg carton worked very well for this. I tore out one of these pointy bits and flattened out the bits at the base of it. I then fashioned another two noses. Tristan painted the nose pieces.
Once they were dry I cut an ‘X’ into the front of the cereal box, folding the flaps away from the painted side of the cardboard. I poked a nose through this hole and held it into place with some tape on the back side.
I took a pair of the pipe cleaner glasses and place them on the nose to determine where I should make a hole on either side of the nose. These holes would be where the arms of the glasses would slide, acting as the ears. Once all of this had been completed, I used some double-sided tape to put the box back together, with the painted side now on the outside.
This box also makes a great place to store the pipe cleaner glasses when they are not in use. Now that we had the glasses ready, it was time to prepare a place for the eye exams themselves. I searched the internet for a Snellen chart and printed a couple out. Another option is to make your own charts. We have also used these charts as practice in learning the alphabet, so they do double-duty. Always a great feature of any activity.
We also made a quick tool (I can’t find the proper name of it-if you’re in-the-know, please let me know) by using some double-sided tape to hold a piece of cardstock onto a popsicle stick. This was used to cover one eye of the ‘patient’ while the other eye was being tested.
We set up our props and Tristan and Kallista took turns wearing the lab coat and being the optometrist and testing eyesight. Using a little finger on a stick made this more fun for them to point out the letters. Tristan showed Kallista how it was done when he went to see the optometrist for his first visit.
If the client was in need of glasses, then they moved over to the optician’s side of the practice and helped each other find the perfect pair and did a little adjustment to the arms if needed.
We have many pairs of these pipe cleaner glasses now, and the collection keeps growing as the fashion trends change. Click here if you’d like to see how we made them.
This is one pretend play theme that will continue on into the future I have no doubt with the fun they’ve been having, and it tidies up quickly and neatly back into its own box, a bonus for storage!
To go along with this, we’ve also read Benjamin & the Super Spectacles by Rachel Bright. This is a cute book about Benjamin Bunny who can’t see very well and gets into all sorts of misunderstandings because of it, but he doesn’t want to wear glasses. Finally his friends convince him to wear the coolest specs around and his vision is transformed. Now only if there was an adult version of this book for us stubborn adults who don’t like to wear specs!
Do your children wear glasses? How did they adjust to wearing them?