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How to teach body parts to toddlers?

How to teach body parts to toddlers?

Science is the study of the natural world and other phenomena which are essential to our understanding of human life. Science as a discipline consists of various sub-disciplines such as physical science, earth science and life science. Among these, life science studies living things and life processes. An important topic under the discipline of life science is the human body. The world’s most fantastic machine is the human body. Nothing else, not even a robot, even comes close. It includes a wide range of organs, each performing an equally important function in an interdependent manner, ultimately helping function and maintain the whole body. As all of us are such complex living organisms, possessing knowledge about the intricacies of the structure, composition and functions of the human body is valuable. Thus, learning about the human body is essential for both children and adults. 

Children begin to develop cognisance of their bodies once they reach the age of one year. They are able to recognise and identify a few body parts and their functions, albeit unknown to their actual terminology or scientific names. Moreover, in the Indian education system, children are formally introduced to learning about the human body in 2nd grade. An early understanding of some of the main body parts can assist children in better understanding their bodies and how to use them correctly. Thus, parents can support their children in learning various body parts when they reach six years of age. 

Often, parents are confused as to how to teach their kids about the various parts of the human body clearly and succinctly. As children are still in their formative developmental stages, acquiring information about a few topics such as this may be challenging to comprehend and retain. Therefore, an effort must be made to teach body parts to children in an easy, clear and fun manner. Fret not. This article is here to drive away your confusion and helps you learn a few practical and fun methods to teach your children various parts of the human body!

Importance of teaching body parts to children

Children are naturally inquisitive beings. They are always looking for and absorbing new information from their surroundings. It is essential to reinforce such curiosity and help them answer their contemplative questions. One such subject children are curious about is their bodies. They are often left wondering how they can speak, listen and see the world. They subconsciously want to understand the particular thing behind their speech or sight.

Thus, helping children learn about various body parts helps them answer crucial questions about their bodies. It is necessary to teach them about their body parts, as it helps them gain an understanding of how they function. Moreover, it allows them to coordinate better and use their body parts in an appropriate fashion. It also helps children become confident, expressive young adults. Young children who are taught to appreciate their bodies develop into kids and adults who want to maintain their bodies’ strength, health, and safety so they can keep doing all their activities. Finally, it also builds a foundation and helps children learn about more complex functions of their body easily when they grow older. 

Methods to teach body parts to children.

A few methods to teach body parts to children are as follows. 

  • Using songs and rhymes: Parents can make use of various songs and rhymes to help teach their children various body parts. Songs are a great way to introduce body parts to your children, as they are fun and interactive. Songs are easy to remember. Moreover, catchy tunes that rhyme call for constant repetition by the children. This helps them memorise the body parts and their functions easily. Parents can write songs on their own. A tip to keep in mind is, do not focus on making it completely educational; focus on making it a good mix of educational content and fun rhymes. A few commonly used songs are as follows:

“Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”, “Chubby Cheeks, Dimple Chin”, “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands!”, “One little finger”, “Baby Bumble Bee”, “The body parts song”, etc. 

  • Using stories: Children have a natural affinity for books and stories because they are exposed to fascinating concepts, settings, and characters that they have never previously encountered. Children can better understand life, the world, and themselves via tales. Thus, stories are also a great way to help your children learn about body parts. Parents can create stories by incorporating body parts either in the storyline or as characters. This is an engaging way to help learn about body parts. There are also several stories that are readily available for parents to use. A few common stories are as follows: 
My Busy Body: It revolves around a girl who suddenly wakes up to hearing her body parts argue about which one of them is the best. Each body part then tells her what they do in order for her to decide which one is the best.
Little Red Riding Hood: Most kids are familiar with the famous story of Little Red Riding Hood. Children can learn about family, emotions, nature, and body parts in addition to examining the story's potential messages.
The Gruffalo: Many children will be familiar with this well-known tale. This makes it ideal for helping them develop their English language. A useful tale for defining looks, grouping bodily parts, and discussing woodland animals.
From Head to Toe: Fantastic picture book From Head to Toe that kids may easily engage with. Can you do it? and "I can do it!" are placed throughout the book, and kids love to participate. It is a fantastic resource for learning about actions, bodily parts, and animals.
‘Eyes, Nose, Fingers, and Toes: A First Book All about You’ by Judy Hindley: This book is excellent for modelling vocabulary for bodily parts. There are several images of young children using various body parts to perform multiple motions. It's a wonderful book enticing young children to imitate the actions, especially toddlers and preschoolers.
‘Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes’ by Skye Silver: With a minor modification, this book is based on the song "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes." Focusing on what their bodies are capable of, it depicts a family engaging in various daily activities. It is a great book to use when educating students about body parts.
  • Using games and activities: Children learn to think and acquire skills that will help them achieve in the future through play. Games are incredible learning tools because they strike the perfect blend of fun and challenge.Parents can play various games with their children that help teach body parts. Setting aside time for family game nights can help children enjoy learning about different body parts. 

A few examples of games and fun activities include: 

Riddles: A riddle is a puzzle question that gives a clue to solve the problem. Some examples of riddles you can use are: “You have 2, a needle has one, and a potato has many- Eyes” or “You have 2, but so does a clock-Hands”

Body Balancing game: You’ll need toys or flashcards to play this enjoyable game. When the kids are prepared, tell them to put the item on a specific body part. For instance, “Place your toy on your head.” Your youngster will have a lot of fun and laughter while learning about his anatomy with this activity. It’s a win-win situation for everyone!

Labelling game: You can hang a poster or a chart of the human body and ask your child to label; the various parts of the body correctly. 

  • Using charts and posters: Visual aids such as charts and posters are great tools to reinforce information about various body parts to your children. Use cartoons or even large posters of the human body to explain the multiple aspects of the body to your child. You can make the game even more interactive as your child gets older. On a large piece of paper, sketch the human body’s outline. Let your child draw the right hands, eyes, and other details.
  • Association using props: Parents can associate stuffed toys or other props and point their body parts to their children. For instance, if your child has a favourite stuffed teddy bear, you can point at its legs, eyes and ears and associate them with your child’s body parts. You can also use various other props, such as stickers. Give your child some stickers and ask them to place them on a body part. For instance, you can ask them to put a sticker on their hand and show them where it is, thereby helping them learn about the body part. 

These were some effective methods to assist children in learning about various parts of their bodies. Parents can use these methods to strengthen their children’s understanding of their bodies and help them become confident, self-aware beings.  Parents must remember to be patient, kind, and supportive of their children’s needs. Parents must understand their child’s needs and adopt the best practices to teach them. Parents must also remember that the golden rule to teaching children is to make learning fun. Parents can, thus, club various fun and engaging activities to teach their children about different body parts effectively.