Through singing songs and silly faces, I introduced Jenn, Emma, and Rhett to the different parts of the face while breastfeeding each day. So from around 9 months old I started teaching them about the parts of the body and it was their official introduction to our tot school theme about body parts and bodily functions. This post was made possible by Crayola via the Mom It Forward influencer Network.
So as they grew, we started to sing songs and engage in silly dances to remember each body part and its function because by the age of 2 a child should be able to point to and name eyes, nose, mouth, hair. Six months later, they should understand feet, ears, head, legs, arms, fingers, thumbs, toes, neck, stomach. And at age 3.5 they can typically recognize chest, back, knees, chin, and fingernails.
It is deeply ingrained within me as a teacher to educate using Bloom’s Taxonomy to approach all learning. Therefore when we plan out and model lessons even for toddlers it would include these elements and in this order: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and creation. And it is my pleasure to be working alongside Crayola and their My First Crayola line to bring you a sponsored unit study to introduce toddlers to the human body in this manner.
How to Teach Toddlers Body Parts through Art
Not only is it important for our kids to understand their bodies for their own health and safety, but it’s a fun and empowering subject to explore through art between parent and child.
When we provide our children with a logical progression of learning and equip them with the right tools for the right stage such as egg shaped crayons for baby hands and triangular markers for toddlers and preschoolers, we’re equipping them for success.
Once kids have achieved better grip and a better understanding of what body parts they have, they can not only move from the egg shaped crayons for early writers to tripod grip writing utensils, but they can also work on the latter part of Bloom’s Taxonomy: application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. And it’s the fun part of teaching our kids, because it’s hands on and creative!
Exploring Self-Image through Portraiture
Guiding kids through application and analysis to help them understand learned material which includes practicing, illustrating, and distinguishing. Therefore after you’ve noticed kids understand what each body part is, you can pull out the My First Crayola art supplies and get to work!
We started by using the My First Crayola Reusable Activity Kit (with the face sheets from the stamping kit) to practice filling in the missing parts of a face. With the washable crayons, we were able to have her fill in and create multiple faces, over and over. Plus she could wipe away mistakes.
Emma also worked on creating her own self portraits using washable tripod grip markers and washable paint brush pens on a vertical surface. Setting up an easel allows small wrists and developing hands to grip the triangular art utensils with the correct pencil grip necessary for writing as they get older.
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Because the paintbrushes contain washable paint inside of them, it was an easy, low-mess activity that allowed her to explore art and early portraiture in a creative way.
Mixed medium life-size toddler portraits
After practicing and applying these skills we approached the final two levels of learning, Synthesis and Evaluation. Synthesis is just a fancy word meaning that kids can compile information to create and design something based off of what they know. And evaluation includes interpretation and comparison.
The easiest way to implement this with toddlers is to have them do a life-size art project to portray themselves. They’re can interpret their feelings of themselves, attach shapes, colors, and meaning to their own bodies to recreate a large piece of art.
So what we did was take several of the My First Crayola art supplies and even the Preschool readiness kit and assigned them to different parts of the body and even clothing (grab a free download of our image labels at the end of the post).
From there she had creative freedom to design a version of herself that she felt represented not just her body, but also her personality. This was an empowering and liberating moment of creativity for Emma.
With patterned safety scissors, she created texture for her hair and with jumbo paint brushes, her imaginary clothing came to life with color and texture. In the end, she created something she felt best represented who she is at age 3.
More posts to teach toddlers body parts
- Tot School Learning Themes
- Self-Awareness, Friends, & Family Unit
- The Wiggle Song and teaching toddlers body parts
Download the labels we used for body parts + art supplies!
We simply assigned each body part a different art supply and included clothes as well. Feel free to print out this free download for your toddler’s own life-size portraiture project. Click on the image for download instructions.
Don’t forget to pin this for later!
Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!