S is so fascinated by the inner workings of the human body. And I don't blame her - the whole thing is sort of mysterious and intriguing. Also, there's poop. What kid doesn't love learning about poop, am I right? Ha.
I was a Biology major back in college, and happened to keep most of my anatomy textbooks; S is drawn to the colorful and intricate diagrams. Recently we discovered The Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body and now... she's totally hooked. I wanted to come up with some way to make these concepts a little more accessible to her preschool mind, so I came up with a Life-Sized Felt Anatomy model.
I know it looks daunting, but I promise it was really easy to make. I bought two yards of some off-white felt, had S lay on the ground, and traced her body with a marker. I used super sharp scissors (this is the key, I think, to cutting felt so it doesn't fray at the edges) to cut out her felt body double. Next, I took one of my anatomy books and we looked at some of the bigger organs/structures she was interested in. I think one of the most interesting aspects of the human body to preschoolers is digestion (yep, because of the poop), so we made sure to include all the parts of her digestive tract.
As we went along, I'd lay the felt body parts on her body so she could see the scale. This was her favorite part of the whole process!
We talked about how her heart was the size of her fist, and a funny shape (not like the hearts we draw in art). Not totally sure she believed me on that one, ha.
We took our fingers and traced the path of food through her felt organs and named them as we went. We also squished her elbow and upper arm so she could feel the bones inside her body, as well as seeing the felt replicas. I had her sharply inhale to see the outline of her ribs.
She really enjoyed the whole process and I think it really helped her visualize what her body looks like inside. Since we also have a Giant Felt Board downstairs, we can now use our felt body there, or even make dress up clothes, etc to go over life-sized S (though we haven't done this last part yet).
To reinforce her learning, S drew (from memory) some of what she'd learned. My favorite part is the eyeballs that are popping out (have you seen anatomy textbooks that do that? It cracks S up). I'm not entirely sure how her arms got so many bones (hahaha), but I love her representation, complete with teeth and curly hair. :)
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All activities here are activities I feel are safe for my own children. As your child's parents/guardians, you will need to decide what you feel is safe for your family. I always encourage contacting your child's pediatrician for guidance if you are not sure about the safety/age appropriateness of an activity. All activities on this blog are intended to be performed with adult supervision. Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when activities call for the use of materials that could potentially be harmful, such as scissors, or items that could present a choking risk (small items), or a drowning risk (water activities), and with introducing a new food/ingredient to a child (allergies). Observe caution and safety at all times. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any of these activities on this blog.