Toddlers often pick up on the basic body parts quickly. They might need a little help with the more specific body parts, like elbows and ankles. There are lots of fun games and activities to help your little learner figure out his head from his toes.
Make a large body shape to help your child practice the parts of the body. Make it personal by tracing your toddler’s body onto a large piece of paper. He can color and decorate the cutout to look like himself. Cut out labels for the different body parts you want him to learn. Tape the body parts onto the correct spots on the body. Point to the parts and remind him of the name. Or call out a body part and have him point to it on the body chart.
Another option is to have your child build a body. Cut out all of the different body parts you want to focus on. Your child glues the body parts onto a piece of paper to build the body. As he does the craft projects, talk about the different body parts he uses to build the person.
The song “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” is a classic kids’ song that focuses on body parts. Sing the song with your child and have him point to the different body parts as you sing. The “Hokey Pokey” is another song that incorporates body parts. Or make up your own songs about body parts. You can use the tune of another kids song and make up your own lyrics that include the body parts you want your toddler to learn.
Simon Says is a great game for teaching your toddler to follow directions and listen closely. But you can also use the game to focus on body parts. When you give directions, include body parts. You might say, “Simon says put your hand on your chin.” Or, “Simon says touch your elbow to your knee.”
Talk About It
You don’t need a special game or activity to help your child practice body parts. Whenever you get a chance, work in body part vocabulary with your child. Point out when he uses a body part. For example, say, “Look! Your thumb made a fun design on your finger painting.”
Books for kids often include body part information. Some examples are “Parts” by Tedd Arnold, “My Hands” by Aliki and “The Eye Book” by Dr. Seuss. Even if a book doesn’t focus specifically on body parts, you can work the topic into reading time. When you see a character in a book, ask your toddler to point to different parts of his body.