As a mom (and teacher), I strive everyday to engage, nurture, and expand the mind of my little one.
Here you will find the books, music, and activities most useful to me in my endeavors.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Teachable Moments: Body Parts

Teaching your toddler about the parts of the body probably started before he could even walk - with words like nose, eyes, hair, ears, and tummy. With each passing month, you've added more parts to learn, and depending on age, perhaps your toddler has progressed from pointing to naming those parts. During Parts of the Body Week, take a few minutes to assess your child's body part knowledge, and then try some of these activities to reinforce and progress his learning.


  1. Reference your own body parts as well as your toddlers. It's important to make the connection that we all have the same body parts ... with a few exceptions, obviously ;)
  2. Point to body parts on the characters in a book, pictures in magazines, stuffed animals and baby dolls.
  3. Talk about body parts while dressing your toddler - the shirt goes over your head, put your arms through the sleeves, both legs go in your pants, shoes are for your hands. It's also great to make mistakes to see if your toddler can correct you. For example, try putting pants on his head. Of course, my daughter would just call it a hat and prance around happily :)
  4. Bath time is another really obvious and effective time to help your toddler learn his body parts. Of course, it's up to you whether or not you want to include "private" body parts and what you'll call those parts. I wrote about this predicament here and here.

1. Body Part Riddles: A fun way to promote listening skills, problem-solving, and vocabulary! Simply ask your toddler ...

Which body parts do we use ...
  • to crawl? Show me.
  • to hop? Show me.
  • to sing? Let me hear.
  • to eat? Show me.
  • to hug? Give me one!
  • to hold a crayon?
  • to listen?

Your toddler may even be able to take a turn and make up his/her own riddle!

2. Mirror Touches: Call out different parts of the body. You touch that part of your toddler while he touches that part of you. Let your child take a turn calling out the next body part.

VISUAL ACTIVITIES (aka on paper)

1. Life-size Body Drawing: Left-over wrapping paper works great for this one. Just roll it out and have your toddler lay down on the paper while you trace around her body to make an outline. Work together to color the outline and name body parts as you go, "Look, I colored your hand blue. Can you color your other hand green?" This also works great with stickers, "Put this sticker where your belly button would be." As a nod toward literacy, you could also label the various parts; your toddler with hear the word, say the word, see the word - all in one activity!

2. Mini-Me: You can do the life-size body drawing on a totally different scale. Just use a piece of paper to cut out the outline of a body, like a step-up from a stick figure :) Something like this:

Which activity(ies) do you think you'll try during Parts of the Body Week? Please come back and let me know of your successes and/or silly stories :)


Deb said...

My two-year-old and I have a running joke about what part we use to listen. If he's not doing something I ask him to do, I ask him if he's using his feet or his hair to listen again--and he starts cracking up immediately--and usually starts following directions. Usually...

Deb said...

He's also got a new thing with wanting to trace his hands and feet. Yesterday I found him sitting on the ProDoodle. He told me, "I draw my bum."

I think the life-size drawing will be a big hit. :)

Laura and Kelly Allen said...

So, was this intentional?:

shoes are for your hands. It's also great to make mistakes to see if your toddler can correct you.

Or, in your house, do people wear shoes on their hands? I don't know, the Pac NW winters can be special and maybe they're like special gloves. :)

By the way, I love the site. Hannah's not quite a toddler yet (thank goodness!), but when she is I have all sorts to look forward to.

Just wondering, what music did you have playing for Natalie when she was an infant? In my former life, I was a grad student in linguistics and cognitive science and I know how important music is for infants. Usually, my husband and I just end up playing and singing what we like, but I wouldn't mind some good kiddy stuff too. I saw your CD review for Two Flowers and I'll have to hit up the library for it. But I'm also looking for more lively stuff. Raffi is about as much as I know.

MommyBrain said...

Shoes are for you hands ... just making sure someone is actually reading what I wrote ... tee, hee :)

Chi-town momma said...

Love the full size body tracing the question is, will B lay still long enough for me to trace him??? ;)

BrainsNW said...

I can't wait to find out ... and hear the story of your body tracing endeavors :)

Deann said...

Fun fun fun! I love the little website, I'm going to have to try it out on S. She loves to go over body parts, so I think she'll love this one. Todd has been fantastic at helping her learn the body parts too (sometimes very silly, but effective!). It's nice when dads can be involved in learning!